Letter: Tory nationalism

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is a bit rich to find that the faction who threatened to bring down the last government on the European issue, split the Conservative Party and lost the last election by a landslide, now insist on throwing out the first MP who objects to the party's new nationalist dogma ("Tory misery as MP quits", 22 November).

Last year, when they insisted that we bring the whole of the European Union to a halt unless it opened its markets to our suspect beef, I resigned my membership quietly because of my respect for all the party workers who had been such a support over 15 years and because there were still old colleagues who were carrying on the fight to keep the party to its pragmatic, inclusive traditions.

But the former Conservative and Unionist party is now the English Nationalist party, repudiated by both Scots and Welsh. The whole issue of the single currency has been debated, not on its merits, but on the myth of a national sovereignty over the pound which disappeared with the First World War.

In a country which has to accommodate English, Scots, Welsh and a million- and-a-half Irish, as well as Asian and Afro-Caribbean minorities, nationalism is a dangerous creed. It cost 50 million European dead in two world wars. It is also contagious. My former German colleagues reported that their constituents were beginning to say, "If the English can be nationalist, why cannot the Germans be nationalist?".

Sir FRED CATHERWOOD

Cambridge

The writer is former MEP (Con) for Cambridge and North Bedfordshire

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