Letter: Ex-Tory for Europe
Tuesday 06 October 1998
Sir: I am one of those who have never been in doubt about where my cross goes on a voting slip at a general election - even in 1997! I am a paid- up member of my local Conservative party, and was one of the minority that voted against Mr Hague's policy on EMU. My membership will not be renewed.
It is obvious to anybody that can afford to be open about this subject (that is, not a politician) that the party is straightforwardly anti-European, not simply anti-EMU.
Those of us that welcome stronger ties with out neighbours have felt for some months that we have become politically homeless. We cannot regard the Liberal Democrats as a party that is capable of addressing the economic problems we always face, and we cannot accept that New Labour has suddenly accepted all of our Conservative ideas - a quick glance at Blackpool last week made that very clear.
Europe (as anti-Europeans still insist on calling our own continent) is a real gut issue, like the death penalty. Statistics can fly backwards and forwards, but to no effect. We just know, in our hearts, that we are right. Most Tory party members are deeply, almost religiously, anti-Europe. Their opposition to EMU merely hides this temporarily. They talk about "faceless bureaucrats in Brussels" as if they were different from faceless bureaucrats in Whitehall. They talk of "unelected" decision-makers, while supporting the House of Lords.
I know that certain Tory ex-ministers can, in code, back the cause of greater European integration. They know that an antiquated idea of sovereignty over interest rates and macro-economic policy is cloud-cuckoo land. The Bank of England this week is said to be certain to reduce rates. Is anybody seriously telling me that they need to do this for the sake of the United Kingdom's economy?
I am sorry that Messrs Clarke, Heseltine, Taylor, etc have to speak in code, but I do not blame them.
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