Anthony Hilton: A different take on the EU ‘in or out’ dilemma


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The Independent Online

On Tuesday evening it was my turn to be in the chair, this time at a debate organised by the Wealth Management Association.

It sought to get a different slant on the EU debate by putting together a panel of non-European speakers – Japanese, American and Indian – to get their perspective on what practical difference it would make if Britain left the EU. Of the three the Indian speaker was the least concerned – perhaps because he felt Anglo-Indian trade was already so small that it was unlikely to get any worse. He warned, however, that growing exports to India was difficult because much of the economy was in effect closed to outsiders – if not as official policy, then in practice by the impossibility of dealing with Indian bureaucracy.

The other two both thought an exit from the EU would be disastrous for the UK. They confessed themselves totally bewildered as to why any nation would want to turn its back on the world’s most prosperous market – the 350 million people of the EU – and even more mystified by the assertion that this would increase Britain’s influence in the world. And interestingly no one in the audience – which one would have thought statistically should have had its share of Ukip supporters – stood up to challenge them.