Letter: Democracy in a confederal Europe

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Democracy in a confederal Europe

Sir: Your article on Europe is intelligent, cool and eloquent, and so out of tune with the times. It was pleasant to turn to it after scanning my mailbag, which included the unsigned letter: "Are you the son of Chamberlain? WHY DON'T YOU JUST PISS OFF?" Yet a good 50 per cent of these letters evidently share your view that the feelings driving our Europhobes are "immature and dangerous, a loser's emotion", and feel humiliated accordingly. So there is still an audience for reason.

Like you, I believe that Europe has over-extended itself and should be reined back over time, that the Common Agricultural Policy must be reformed, that much social policy should be repatriated, and that unification through a single currency is a dangerously theoretical construct: in practice it would widen the cracks.

It was especially good to read some grown-up, original thinking after the sophomore lecturettes that are increasingly a feature of Times leaders. One reason for the immature emotion is fear that we are trapped, that Europe is dragging us along in a direction we do not want to go, but that there is no real option of baling out. Your use of the word "confederacy" will, of course, be jumped on and dumped on. Whatever it is, we need a looser arrangement with Europe, as do other Europeans, in the interests of Europe. We will not convince them through tantrums, but by positive thinking.

GEORGE WALDEN MP

(Buckingham, C)

House of Commons

London SW1

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