Letter: Europe's decline
Tuesday 25 May 1999
Sir: Paddy Ashdown (Podium, 21 May) retailed the ridiculous myth of the EU as the guarantor of "no more European war". Civil war is unfortunately popular in federal unions. Chechnya, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo are all examples.
The former Yugoslavia was in fact a small-scale prototype of the EU; as federal as any EU enthusiast could wish for, undemocratic, economically unsuccessful, socialist and corrupt. Yet it did keep the Balkans peaceful for over 40 years - until the quality of the dictatorship declined.
Ashdown even repeated Heath's pretence that the stealthy, patient conspiracy of the "men of vision" had kept the peace in Europe after 1945. How Stalin must have trembled, contemplating the military might and resolve of the European Coal and Steel Community. Post-war peace in Europe was in fact the product of shared exhaustion, shared fear of the Soviet Union and the ultimate success of the US-led Nato response.
Britain has always been peripheral to the European "great debate", fortunately. Our priorities should be to leave the EU, rebuild our eroded democracy and preserve our liberties and prosperity for our children. We should revitalise our global outlook and not be part of Europe's decline.
M J KNIGHT
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Britain's first cinema flickers back to life following £6m refurbishment
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Fifty Chefs exhibition: Photographer Katie Wilson documents the injuries sustained on the culinary front line
James May hints Top Gear days are over following Jeremy Clarkson's BBC exit
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew