Letter : Britain and Europe: enemies of Brussels claim the true heritage of Churchill

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The Independent Online
Sir: Invoking the name of Winston Churchill to support their vision of Britain's place in Europe is a favourite ploy of the Eurofederalists. The six Tory grandees in their letter (19 September) do it three times. In fact Churchill made clear on many occasions, including the Zurich speech ("we are interested in but not absorbed") that his vision explicitly excluded Britain from a future United States of Europe. My guess is that Churchill would be truly horrified at the defeatist tendency in British public life which sees no future for Britain except as part of a Franco-German dominated European Union. The usual deprecating reference to "little Englanders" also comes ill from the six grandees. They might like to know that Joe Chamberlain coined the phrase to describe those, like the six, who concentrated on England's immediate neighbourhood (the Continent) rather than on the "greater England" in the world beyond the seas.

Those of us who long for Britain's withdrawal from the EU do so in the knowledge that while the continental market is important to Britain, it is not unique and our access to it is not dependent on membership of the EU, any more than it is for the USA, Japan or Switzerland. We also know that the economic growth opportunities of the next millennium lie overwhelmingly in the wider world far from the perpetual European squabbles. Both in this vision of Britain's global future and in our wish to avoid the clutches of the EU we are Churchill's true inheritors.

Professor S F BUSH

Poynton, Cheshire