Letter: We voted for Europe, not Euro-merger

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The Independent Online
Sir: The suggestion that when this country applied for entry to the EEC we joined only an economic community with no serious political dimensions is described by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as "mythology" ("Europe's where the action is", 19 December)

There was no doubt in my mind that what I said "yes" to in the 1975 referendum was entry to a European Economic Community. I did not agree to a monetary or political union. Whether that arose from misunderstanding or misinformation I cannot say, although having followed the debate about entry closely I am doubtful if it was the former. If I was asked the same question now, my reply would be the same. Had I been asked then the question "Do you wish the UK to join a monetary or political union of European states?" my reply then, as now, would also have been an emphatic "no".

Not for one moment did I think that our then government had any intention of committing this country to anything resembling the now proposed abdication of political power, jurisdiction, monetary and fiscal policy to unelected and apparently untouchable rule-makers, operating from a safe distance and based in a foreign state. Our parents' generation endured two horrendous wars to preserve the nation state from that very eventuality.

Over the past 20 years I have had the privilege of getting to know, and count as friends, citizens of many of the nation states that signed up to the EEC, and have seen first hand the good points as well as the less good aspects of their countries. There are many things we could copy to our definite advantage, but we do not need to jettison our national heritage and identity, let alone our political and financial independence, to do so.

Indeed, if the present policy of conformity is pursued without challenge, shops across Europe will all be selling identical Euro-goods, and we shall all be eating similar Euro-permitted foods, wearing similar Euro-clothes, driving similar-looking Euro-cars, living and working in virtually identical Euro-style buildings, and using the same nondescript Euro-currency to purchase all these things What a prospect for the generations to come!