LETTERS: Who needs a nation when we have a global economy? Local and global forces are stronger than national ones

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I BELIEVE Neal Ascherson's reflection on the Quebec referendum that "The age of big states is over, and the time of small nations and self-managing regions is upon us" is flawed ("Whatever happens to Quebec, the Tories will learn the wrong lesson", 29 October).

He pours scorn on those Conservatives who want the UK to leave the European Union. But what is the EU if not a very big state in the making? - it aspires to its own currency and defence forces; it already has its own parliament and passport. Yet the prospect that Mr Ascherson promotes is a world of "small nations and self-managing regions" which are happily joined to the global economy. But if this is the case, why bother with any form of political association beyond these basic political units when the global economy will, apparently, perform such co-ordination as is needed?

The irony is that Mr Ascherson's views are not so far from those of the Conservative cave-dwellers he so despises. They also want to join the global economy, Hong Kong-style, but they give precedence to the larger British nation, rather than a small Scottish one. Both sides are trapped in a nationalist discourse arguing essentially about the merits of "size". In the emerging age, for economic and technological reasons, the global, continental and local will be as or more important than the national (whether large or small).

Simon Partridge

London N2

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