Letter: EU threat to our public services

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your pioneering leading article on "Britain in Europe" (3 June) ended, surprisingly, rather lamely. For, after one of the most persuasive arguments for European integration to be seen in the British press for some years, you nevertheless suggest that what you were doing was unfurling the flag of "confederation".

In reality you were doing no such thing. The article was rather a plea in all but name for a "federal Europe". I got the very distinct impression that the word "confederation" was thrown in at the end in order to appease sensibilities during this current wave of anti-European primitivism and nostalgia.

Instead of such appeasement those who support the European cause should unabashedly proclaim the merits of federalism. After all, and contrary to the ill-educated proclamations from many Westminster politicians, a federal state is essentially a decentralised polity locating entrenched powers at sub-centre level. In fact, a federal Europe would be more de- centralised than the UK for which, ironically, so many of our Eurosceptics fear for the future. The UK is a unitary super-state with a single currency. The kind of Europe which your leader envisages is not a super-state in that sense at all.


London W8