Letter: Britain and Europe: the sceptics reply

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article of 17 September tells us that leaving the EU "would be extremely damaging". Well, it might be: then it might not. One of the problems with the so-called EU is that nobody knows what it is or where it is going: what is now called the EU is little more than a rebadging of the EC/Common Market.

One of its better kept secrets is that it is meant to rest on three pillars, of which only the EC is anywhere near completion. The other two pillars, foreign and security policy, and justice and home affairs, are still mere bureaucratic sketches on the backs of envelopes. In view of the difficulty of trying to form a common view on such things as Bosnia and the Middle East, and the likely reaction of British voters to any further intrusion of Continental legal and policing practices, as well as the problems a single currency might bring, small wonder that we hear little of them.

Since what we have now is quite different from what was offered at the 1975 referendum (for instance, the official information pack told us that European law would only be "for a few commercial and industrial purposes"!) it is time that we had another referendum, not confined to the currency issue - and this time with accurate information on what we are being asked to vote for. Certainly if the EU were a company floated on the 1975 prospectus all the directors would be in jail by now.

JOHN PARFITT

Painswick, Gloucestershire

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