Letter: Dissidents are not so little

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Sir: It is not wholly clear whether your elegant epithets 'nauseating and pathetic' (leading article, 26 October) were meant to apply only to dissident Conservative MPs or to everyone in public life who opposes the Maastricht treaty. Either way it scarcely matters, since schoolboy insults generally rebound upon those who employ them.

To describe British opponents of Maastricht as 'little Englanders', however, is another matter. By this token, almost 51 per cent of the population of Denmark will have to be branded 'little Danes', while 49 per cent of our cross- channel neighbours must fall into the 'little French' categorisation. This diminutive 49 per cent includes leading industrialists, economists, writers, a Nobel prize-winner, respected political figures from the moderate mainstream (including a former prime minister) and senior officers from the armed forces. General de Gaulle, were he alive, would without question have opposed Maastricht: doubtless you would have altered his nickname to le petit Charlot.

And, according to every public opinion poll, a clear majority of the German population shrank markedly when confronted with the fine print of the treaty. Perhaps 'small is beautiful' after all.

Yours faithfully,


London, SW1