Letter: Wrong questions over Europe

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The Independent Online
Wrong questions over Europe

Sir: Andrew Marr is quite right that "We're having the wrong arguments" (4 December). One of these is the fantasy argument of Sir James Goldsmith's referendum question, which assumes that we can stay in the single market without any common regulatory institutions. Dismantling economic protection, like dismantling military protection, entails a very real confidence that one's partners are willing to compete on equal terms.

Sir James Goldsmith's illusion is shared by the Prime Minister. In his opposition to the Working Hours Directive he has claimed we should not adopt it because we derive a competitive advantage from not doing so. If he is right in this claim, he is entitled as ruler of a sovereign state not to adopt it. What he is not entitled to do is to claim any right to trade in the single market at the same time.

Earl RUSSELL

Liberal Democrat Social Security Spokesman

House of Lords

London SW1

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