Political Reasons for Leaving the EU

Political Reasons for Leaving the EU

D.R. Myddelton

Political Notes No. 198

ISSN 0267-7059 (print)
ISSN 2042-2776 (online)
ISBN: 9781856376648

An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL.

© 2014: Libertarian Alliance; D.R. Myddelton

Professor D.R. Myddelton is Chairman of the Institute of Economic Affairs and a Vice-President of the Society for Individual Freedom and the Chairman of its National Council. He is also Emeritus Professor of Finance and Accounting at Cranfield University and the author of numerous publications.

This essay is a revised and somewhat expanded version of a talk given by Professor Myddelton to a meeting of the Campaign for an Independent Britain held on the 4th May 2013. It first appeared in the September 2013 issue of The Individual, the journal of the Society for Individual Freedom.

The views expressed in this publication are those of its author, and not necessarily those of the Libertarian Alliance, its Committee, Advisory Council or subscribers.


Britain’s membership of the European Union may soon be the subject of an ‘In/Out Referendum’. So those of us who want the United Kingdom to leave the EU are starting to assemble our arguments.

Economic arguments

People who want us to stay in the EU usually focus on economic matters. As they did when arguing for Britain to join the Common Market in the first place. But most studies1 show no net economic benefit from our EU membership.

We can trade perfectly well with the continent whether we’re in the EU or not. America, Brazil, China and other countries manage to trade with the EU from outside.

Some people pretend 3 million British jobs might be lost if we left the EU. But there’s no reason to expect any permanent job losses. It’s not as if we gained 3 million jobs when we joined the EU! Both sides to voluntary market deals normally expect to gain from them – and that’ll remain true whether we stay in the EU or not.

Moreover tariff levels are much lower now than they were back in 1973. So being outside the EU’s customs union would matter far less than it might once have done.

Exports are 30% of our national output; but less than half our total exports go to other EU countries. A smaller proportion than any other member-state. So UK exports to the rest of the EU represent less than 15% of our GDP. And demographic changes on the continent mean that this fraction – one-seventh – will get even smaller in future.

Meanwhile the economic ‘benefits’ of EU membership, such as they are, apply to less than 15% of our GDP. But the EU’s extensive regulations and red tape are a disproportionate burden on 100% of our economy.

No British political leaders currently argue that we should enter the single currency. If the economic reasons for staying in the EU itself are so strong, one wonders why not? The fact is, any such suggestion would be laughable.

Why did we join in the first place?

In 1970, the Common Market was viewed as an economic and trade arrangement and Ted Heath, the Prime Minister, was keen that the UK should enter. For 25 years after the war the French and German economies seemed to have been relatively successful; while everybody agreed that, by comparison, the British economy had been weak.

In 1973 we did join – together with Ireland and Denmark; and in 1975 we voted by two to one in a referendum to stay in.

After Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, the British economy started to recover, while the continental economies faltered. So the economic conditions that had made it seem sensible to join the Common Market in the 1960s and early ’70s began to reverse, in the 1980s and ’90s, after we had joined!

Ever since the 1975 Referendum I’ve been arguing for the UK to leave: first the Common Market, then the European Economic Community, then the European Community, and now the European Union.

Confucius said: “A person who’s made a mistake and doesn’t correct it is making another mistake.” Joining the Common Market more than forty years ago has turned out to be a serious mistake for the UK. Now we may get the chance to put that right, though an In/Out referendum by 2017 is by no means certain to happen.

Political arguments

In my view, the political arguments against Britain’s membership of the European Union are more important than the economic ones. That’s not surprising, since from the beginning it’s always been essentially a political project. But Europhiles always tend to gloss over that aspect.

1. We’re Different From Them

In January 1963, President de Gaulle of France rejected our application to join the Common Market. He said:

“England is bound by its trade, its markets, its food supplies to the most varied and often very distant countries. Her activity is essentially industrial and commercial not agricultural. She has very strong, very individual habits and traditions. In short, the nature, structure and circumstances peculiar to England are different from those of the other continental countries.”2

He was absolutely right and his words still resonate fifty years later.

I remember the 1975 Referendum asking: ‘Should we stay in?’ The Economist newspaper, strongly pro-EU as always, produced a big book with a yellow cover setting out its economic arguments in detail. But I just felt, we’re too different from the continental Europeans. In effect, I shared the Gaullist view! So I voted ‘No’.

The continental countries’ histories and traditions aren’t the same as ours. ‘Different’ doesn’t mean ‘better’ or ‘worse’. But our ways suit us, and many of their ways don’t. It’s not just the historical experience, but the language, the money, the legal system and the general political culture too. That’s why we call them ‘foreigners’.

After the war, Churchill was keen to reconcile France and Germany and called for a ‘United Europe’. But he didn’t envisage us being part of that ‘Europe’. He told de Gaulle:

“Every time Britain has to choose between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea that we shall choose.”3

Anthony Eden, Foreign Secretary for many years, shared that view. He said:

“Suggestions have been made that the United Kingdom should join a federation on the continent of Europe. This is something which we know, in our bones, we cannot do. For Britain’s interests lie far beyond the Continent of Europe.”4

That’s still true today. The British are an island race of global traders. We’ve always had a world-wide outlook, rather than a parochial European one. Far from being Little Englanders, the world is our oyster!

At last year’s Olympic Games in London, athletes from some two hundred nations marched past in the Opening Ceremony. I reckon about half of those countries had at one time in their history been British colonies or had close links with the British Empire. That’s a remarkably high proportion. No other country has anything like such a wide network of overseas connections – on every continent.

Last year, an opinion poll asked people: “Which of these [five selected] nations would you say Britain has most in common with, culturally, politically and economically?” 2% said India, 10% Germany and 11% France. But 28% said Australia – more than India, Germany and France combined – and 49% said the United States of America.5

Geography matters much less now than it did even fifty years ago. Air travel is faster and cheaper, as are telecommunications. And the internet is revolutionising business. So being next door to the continent of Europe is no longer that important.

2. There are basic differences in philosophy

There are basic differences in philosophy too. Britons tend to hold that knowledge depends on experience (one might say ‘trial and error’). We’re sceptical and cautious, while tolerant of different approaches. But continental Europeans claim that ideas matter most. They tend to be less flexible and more dogmatic.

Harold Macmillan expanded on this point, when discussing Concorde, the Anglo-French prestige project. It was an engineering triumph but a commercial disaster. He said:

“The difference is temperamental and intellectual. The continental[s] like to reason from the top downwards, from general principle to practical application … the tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Anglo-Saxons like to argue from the bottom upwards, from practical experience … the tradition of Bacon and Newton.”6

These contrasts in national style and approach persisted throughout Concorde’s development. French elite technocrats had trained academically at the Ecole Polytechnique; whereas the British engineers had gone through a long apprenticeship on the shop floor. The French were more hierarchical; while the British tended to regard a firm instruction from above merely as a basis for discussion.

(This was reminiscent of the Duke of Wellington’s alleged comment on his first Cabinet meeting as Prime Minister in 1830: “An extraordinary affair. I gave them their orders and they wanted to stay and discuss them!”7)

3. ‘The nation-state is dead’

More than one European leader has proclaimed that ‘the nation-state is dead’. That gives a clue to the United Kingdom’s future inside the European Union: disintegration!

The Committee of the Regions aims to foster direct links between the centre and ‘regions’ of member-states. Thus it by-passes national governments. That’s why so many regions now have their own offices in Brussels.

Peter Shore suggested that:

“European federalists will pursue any objective provided that it achieves two basic aims: it weakens the powers of the elected governments of nation-states and it strengthens the powers of the European institutions…”8

Europhiles like to talk about increasing the UK’s ‘influence’ in world affairs by being part of a larger and more powerful bloc. But it’s clear the EU would gladly elbow us out of our Security Council seat at the United Nations. That’s a strange way to maximise British ‘influence’!

Much of the legislation affecting us now originates abroad, not just from the EU. (The precise proportion isn’t entirely clear.) Hayek foresaw such a development in his book The Road to Serfdom.9 If we stay in the EU, how many of our laws will be externally sourced in twenty years’ time? Will it be even more than the 80 per cent coming from Brussels that Jacques Delors boasted about many years ago?10

Roy Jenkins has been the only British President of the European Commission so far. In 1999 he said:

“There are only two coherent British attitudes to Europe. One is to participate fully, and endeavour to exercise as much influence and gain as much benefit as possible from the inside. [That is what he favoured.] The other is to recognise that Britain’s history, national psychology and political culture may be such that we can never be anything but a foot-dragging and constantly complaining member; and that it would be better … to move towards an orderly and, if possible, reasonably amicable separation.”11

4. ‘Ever closer union’

The preamble to the Treaty of Rome sets out the EU’s fundamental objective of ‘ever closer union’. But as David Cameron implied in his Bloomberg speech earlier this year, we in this country have never been comfortable with it.

For a long time most British people simply couldn’t believe the continental politicians were serious about ‘ever closer union’. Many Eurosceptics still make this mistake. But be in no doubt: whatever the views of their electorates, the European leaders are deadly serious. They really do mean it!

Some years ago, the EEC official general guide said:

“Economic integration isn’t meant to be an end in itself, but merely an intermediate stage on the road to political integration.”12

Over the years many political leaders on the continent have clearly explained that what they aspire to is nothing less than a United States of Europe. Especially, one can’t help noticing, rather a lot of Germans.13

Had it been called ‘The United States of Europe’ from the start, we’d have understood better what we were getting into. But those British politicians who wanted us to go in realised that such a goal, if openly proclaimed, would have been extremely unpopular. Ted Heath’s 1971 White Paper was deliberately not telling the truth when it said: “There’s no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty.”14 This was the lie on which our so-called ‘full-hearted consent’ was sought.

Hardly anyone in Britain wanted to join a United States of Europe in 1972; and hardly anyone in Britain wants to join a United States of Europe today. It would mean abandoning our national soul to become an insignificant part of a European collective.

For more than four hundred years, a key element in Britain’s foreign policy has been to prevent any single power dominating the continent of Europe: whether Spain, France, Germany or Russia. We’ve opposed Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, the Kaiser, Hitler and Stalin, sometimes all on our own.

But now, if most countries in Europe want to combine in a single would-be super-state, Qualified Majority Voting means that we British can’t stop them. We don’t want to join them; but do we even really want to encourage them? That seems to be our government’s policy.

The 17-strong euro bloc can often now outvote the UK; and this imbalance is likely to get worse over time. Of the 10 non-euro member-states, all but Denmark and the UK are legally bound to join sooner or later. So if we were to stay inside the EU, but outside the euro – assuming they both survive – that would eventually make it only 2 countries outside the euro versus 25 in.

Swedenvoted against joining the euro in a referendum in 2003. The reaction in Brussels and Frankfurt was typical. Instead of asking: “What’s wrong with the euro?”, their question was: “What’s wrong with the Swedes?”

As far as I know not a single leading British politician, however Europhile, has openly argued for us to be part of a Europe-wide political union. Not Heath, not Howe, not Hurd, not Heseltine, not Clarke. This appears to be the urge to merge that dare not speak its name!

The euro experiment has failed, like the snake and the ERM before it. I well remember the UK’s ejection from the ERM over 20 years ago. It wasn’t leaving the ERM that was the disaster – it was joining it. In fact, as soon as we left and reduced interest rates to suit ourselves, the UK economy recovered almost at once.

In the same way, it was setting up the single currency that was the real disaster. I can’t understand why the British government keeps telling EU leaders to ‘save’ the euro. Since the euro never made economic sense, ‘saving’ it is a futile policy.

They’ll never be able to agree on an orderly dismantling of the euro. So a disorderly break-up is now very much on the cards. The Eurocrats say they’ve got the political will to save the euro. But let’s remember it was their misguided ‘political will’ that created the mess in the first place!

Another aspect of ever closer union is the EU’s acquis communautaire – the ‘ratchet’. Which means that powers always flow towards Brussels and the centre, never back towards the member-states. As Bernard Connolly observed, to offend against it appears to be “a mixture of heresy, blasphemy and treason”.15

Continuing stealthy EU progress towards ‘ever closer union’ has been graphically described as “a coup d’etat by instalments”.16

Could Britain ever convince the rest of the EU to ‘reform’? Not a chance. The euro-fanatics, many of them perfectly sincere, are incorrigible.

5. The rule of law

The European Union doesn’t respect the Rule of Law. In 1998, there were a dozen applicants to join the new single currency. Denmark, Sweden and the UK chose not to join, while Greece’s application was put off for two years.

How many of the eleven countries actually met all five of the Maastricht criteria for entry to the euro? Only one – tiny Luxembourg – with a population of less than 1 per cent of the EU total! Strictly speaking, therefore, Luxembourg should have broken its currency union with Belgium, entered the euro all on its own, and thus increased by one the number of separate currencies in Europe!

What a paradox for the so-called ‘single currency’ that would have been … if they’d stuck to the rules. But instead they chose to ignore the terms of a solemn international treaty. When the rules are inconvenient, that’s what the EU does.

For example, within the first few years both France and Germany blatantly ignored the Stability and Growth Pact. So the foundations of the experimental single currency were flimsy indeed. It’s no surprise that it’s now on the verge of collapse.

So far, there have been bail-outs for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus, and various kinds of ‘assistance’ for Spain and Italy. These all clearly breach the terms of the Treaty of Maastricht.

Unelected technocratic governments have been imposed on Greece and Italy; and in the eurozone elected national governments are being thrown out almost every time democratic elections are held.

Earlier this year, the government of Cyprus proposed to seize a chunk of people’s bank deposits despite the absence of any law permitting such action. This immoral scheme had the approval of the European Commission and the European Central Bank, as well as the IMF. In the Cyprus parliament there wasn’t a single vote in favour. One might describe their revised effort as ‘modified confiscation’.

The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights purports to ‘give’ Britons rights we’ve enjoyed under Common Law for a thousand years! But a sinister clause allows the EU to ‘suspend’ these rights if it deems that to be in its collective interest.

And, talking of a thousand years, let’s remember that even William the Conqueror in 1066 promised to uphold the laws of England. The Eurocrats have never done that.

Maitland said the Star Chamber was a court of politicians enforcing a policy, not a court of judges administering law.17 Much the same is true of the European Court of Justice, which sees its main purpose as being to promote European integration. That’s very different from the British view that law should protect individuals against the state. Hence habeas corpus and trial by jury – both now under threat.

Sir Patrick Neill has observed: “A court with a mission is a menace. A supreme court with a mission is a tyranny.”18

6. The European Union is an alien tyranny

Indeed, I regard the European Union as an alien tyranny. ‘Alien’, because it’s mostly run by foreigners; and ‘tyranny’, because we can’t throw the rascals out.

We’re happy to trade with people on the continent, as we’ve done for many hundreds of years. And we’ll gladly play football with them. (Of course, they don’t play cricket!) But we don’t want to be ruled by them.

I should perhaps explain that I strongly agree with David Hume, who wanted all our neighbours to prosper. He expressed this view in the middle of the Seven Years War with France. But that doesn’t mean we want political union with them.

The European Union has been carefully designed to be not ‘inter-national’ (between nation-states), but ‘supra-national’ (above nation-states). So the EU is ‘anti-democratic’. The ‘democratic deficit’ isn’t just a regrettable by-product. All along it’s been a deliberately-planned part of this Project of an Empire.

None of the three key EU institutions is elected: The Commission, the Central Bank or the Court of Justice. And the peoples of Europe certainly don’t regard themselves as belonging to a single country. So even if there were an elected government of a ‘United States of Europe’, it would hardly be legitimate.

European Union leaders are always desperate to prevent the public expressing their opinion about anything that matters. And when a referendum can’t be avoided, if the result goes the ‘wrong’ way, the people concerned – the culprits! – are placed on the naughty step. They’re told to go back and vote again until they get it right! That’s the EU’s totalitarian mindset.

Many Europeans have experienced that approach within living memory, whether in pre-war Italy or Germany or Spain, or in France during the war, or in the Soviet satellites of Eastern Europe after the war. Some people may indeed prefer dictatorship to democracy. But it doesn’t suit the British. You can hardly imagine Hitler stepping down after the war if he’d lost an election – which is exactly what Churchill did.


If we in this country were to regain our political freedom by leaving the European Union, it would do more to restore national self-confidence than anything else one could imagine. And, not for the first time, we’d be setting an example for others!

References and Sources

ER= Martin Holmes (ed), Eurosceptical Reader, Macmillan, 1996.

ER2= Martin Holmes (ed), Eurosceptical Reader 2, Macmillan, 2002.

(1) Brian Hindley and Martin Howe, Better Off Out? (2nd ed.), London, Institute for Economic Affairs, 2002.

Ian Milne, Time To Say No, London, Civitas, 2011.

Hugh Gaitskell, Labour Party Conference 1962, ER, pp. 19-20.

Sir Donald MacDougall, quoted by Gaitskell in above speech, ER, pp. 14-15.

Norman Lamont, Selsdon Group speech 11th October 1994, ER, p. 104.

L.J. Sharpe, ‘British Scepticism and the European Union’, ER, p. 331.

(2) De Gaulle, January 1963, UK veto speech, ER, p. 118, different translation.

(3) Max Beloff, ‘Churchill and Europe’, ER, pp. 269-284.

L.J. Sharpe, ER, p. 310.

(4) Anthony Eden, speech to Columbia University, 11th January 1952, ER, p. 307, quoted in Roy Denman, Missed Chances: Britain and Europe In The Twentieth Century, Cassell, 1996, p. 195.

(5) Richard Bridger, Policy Network: Europe Questions, Populus Limited, 30th April 2012, retrieved 27th June 2013, http://www.policy-network.net/uploads/media/17/7907.pdf.

(6) Harold Macmillan, quoted in Peter Hennessy, Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties, Allen Lane, 2006, pp. 285-6.

(7) Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, quoted in various sources.

(8) Peter Shore, speech to Bruges Group, 24th July 1990, ER, p. 46.

(9) F.A. Hayek, Road to Serfdom, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1944, ch. 15: ‘The Prospects of International Order’, pp. 163-176.

(10) Cited by various sources, e.g. Annette Toeller, ‘Claims that 80 per cent of laws adopted in the EU Member States originate in Brussels actually tell us very little about the impact of EU policy-making’, http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/06/13/europeanization-of-public-policy/, 13th June 2012, retrieved 2nd June 2013.

(11) Roy Jenkins, 22nd March 1999, quoted in Christopher Booker: ‘Nice and Beyond’, ER2, p. 241.

(12) Quoted by Conor Cruise O’Brien in Peter Gowan & Perry Anderson (eds.), The Question of Europe, Verso, 1997, p.78.

(13) Here are a dozen Germans who have called for political union in Europe: Commission President Walter Hallstein; President Roman Herzog; Chancellors Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Gerhard Schroeder and Helmut Kohl; Bundesbank Presidents Karl Blessing, Helmut Schlesinger and Hans Tietmeyer; Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer; Finance Minister Hans Eichel; and Maastricht negotiator Horst Kohler.

(14) The United Kingdom and the European Communities, HMSO White Paper, Cmnd. 4715, July 1971, ER, p. 318.

(15) Bernard Connolly, The Rotten Heart of Europe, Faber & Faber, 1995, p. 10.

(16) Christopher Story, The European Union Collective: Enemy of its Member-States, Edward Harle, 2002, p. 169.

(17) F.W. Maitland, The Constitutional History of England, Cambridge University Press, 1908/1961, p. 263.

(18) Patrick Neill, Baron Neill of Bladen, quoted in various sources.

11 responses to “Political Reasons for Leaving the EU

  1. Agreed. On the economic and political arguments – and even on the “intellectual culture” ones.

    Although in my personal style of thinking I tend to be more “European” than “British” in that I prefer working things out from first principles (as long as those first principles are logically sound) than empiricism. Perhaps why I prefer 19th century French economists to 19th century British ones. What the British economists might call being pragmatic and flexible strikes me as being inconsistent and even contradictory.

    I was going to say that I prefer Scottish “Common Sense” (Thomas Reid and so on) philosophers (rather than the tradition of either Hume or of Locke – although John Locke has too sides and is often misinterpreted) also – but then I remembered I have no problem with the Oxford tradition (right to Cook Wilson, Harold Prichard and Sir William David Ross and, although he had to go off to Reading, Antony Flew).

    I also like Ralph Cudworth – and there is a classic English philosopher although his cast of mind did not fit the normal sterotype of what an “English philosopher” should be.

    French philosophy is terrible (a massive crude interpretation of Locke in the 18th century – and the modern stuff is…..) apart from in the last years of the 18th century and the early to mid 19th century.

    I am not going to go into German philosophy – I have just been caught out in the hard rain in Ulster and thinking about German philosophy heats me up, but in the wrong way.

  2. One problem about leaving the EUSSR that hasn’t been addressed is what we do with the (what will be for sure) screamingly hysterical objections of the native-British-EuroNazis. You know who I mean: the British-PoliticalEnemyClass. The ones who massively benefit from it while nobody else does. That is to say:

    (1) almost everyone employed by the “Town Halls”, state schools, universities and quangos, for just a few examples,
    (2) The http://www.fakecharities.org will all, to a man (or a “chair”) also object but I can’t be arsed to go into their grounds, for they will find some on which to do so,
    (3) The regiments of “opinion-formers” in the MediaNaziLeague, who (a) appear and commentate on and (b) whose paymasters own the same outlets and channels.

    “Teh Masses” – whose immediate and unqualified support we would require, for a proper leaving to go through, will be so terrorized by the barrage of GoebbelsNaziLies radiating powerfully and confidently from all the above, that they might blink.

    Although we would as proper British Classical liberal-minimal-statists never do anyhting illegal, it’s theoretically-and-practically-impossible to shoot enough EnemyClass Nazis quickly enough and in time for word of this not to get out, to avoid the bringing-about of a screamingly powerful and emotion-wrenching campaign in favour of _not leaving the EUSSR_ . So we’d have to “call that course of action _theory A_ “then…

    Furthermore, think of where The Police’s sympathies will lie: with their salaries and chief constables’ orders: which is to say, to arrest (“for secure questioning”) everyone even remotely associated with the “leave the EUSSR” campaign and government.

  3. Edward Frostick writes:

    He may well be a Professor of Finance and Accounting. But I wonder how much experience he has of international trade. Not much, I suspect.

    He says we can trade with the EU even if we’re not in it. Only up to a point. Once we’re trading with the rest of the world, we don’t know what our trading relationship with the EU would be. We have a large meat trade with the EU. Would that survive? I raise the point because it’s very likely that once we leave, the USA will put pressure on us to allow imports of its meat, which is banned for health reasons in the EU. The same might happen to other foodstuffs. We know that this govt wants to flood the country with GM which is largely prevented by the EU.

    And while we’re in the EU we have the protection of a large union. Once out, other countries such as, or especially, the USA can impost tariffs and conditions. And from my experience, probably would.

    He says there’s no reason to expect permanent job losses. Well that’s not very reassuring, is it? On what does he base it? Comparing the present with 1973 shows ignorance of the difference of the UK between 1973 and now. In 1973 we had our own industries, much of which is now foreign-owned and ready to up sticks the moment we left. He doesn’t seem to have taken into consideration the cheap labour in the Eastern states.

    And now I wonder if Economics is outside his field when he asks why, if EU membership is a good thing, isn’t a single currency also a good thing. There’s a very good reason for that. We don’t have a central Treasury. That has been much of the problem with the Euro. If there had been, things would have been different. How different, we do not know.

    I was intending to go into detail on all his points until I saw this:

    After the war, Churchill was keen to reconcile France and Germany and called for a `United Europe’. But he didn’t envisage us being part of that `Europe’. He told de Gaulle:

    I could hardly believe that anyone with any knowledge of history would quote that to support his argument. We know perfectly well why. In those days we still had half the world. Today we don’t.

    Oh, and it gets worse. He goes on to quote Churchill:

    “Every time Britain has to choose between Europe and the open sea, it is always the open sea that we shall choose.”

    WE know why Churchill said that. It was because he dreamed of a UK/USA union and a single citizenship for its entire peoples. That was never a possibility, and would be disastrous for us if it were ever to come about.

    And if that weren’t bad enough, I find this:

    The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights purports to `give’ Britons rights we’ve enjoyed under Common Law for a thousand years! But a sinister clause allows the EU to `suspend’ these rights if it deems that to be in its collective interest.

    We have no rights under Common Law. Even the Europhobe Barrister, Michael Shrimpton, agrees with me, that any UK govt can introduce or abolish any law it chooses.

    So I hope readers will excuse me not wasting any more time on this. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but time-consuming.

    But I’ll just add this, every article I’ve ever read attacking EU membership, has on analysis, provided a strong case for remaining in, and this article has been no exception. So for that, I am grateful to the professor.

  4. 1) “Of the 10 non-euro member-states, all but Denmark and the UK are legally bound to join sooner or later.”
    I wouldn’t be too sure about that. Our ‘opt-out’ from E.M.U is enshrined in the Maastricht Treaty. That has now been superseded by the the Treaty on European Union, and our opt-out has gone with it. The Constitution for Europe a.k.a. Lisbon Treaty states unambiguously that “The currency of the Union shall be the Euro”.
    Incidentally I believe I am correct in saying that our opt-out only refers to the adoption of the currency itself – we have already signed up to Stage I and possibly Stage II of E.M.U.
    I was amused back in 2003 when the Swedes voted in a referendum against joining the Euro – I was well aware at the time that, unlike the UK and Denmark, they enjoyed no such opt-out and were therefore bound by Treaty to join, regardless of what the Swedish people thought about it.

    2) “They’ll never be able to agree on an orderly dismantling of the euro. So a disorderly break-up is now very much on the cards.”
    I don’t think so. The Euro, or ‘Single Currency’ is fundamental to the creation of a ‘United States of Europe’. It will not be allowed to fail, no matter what the cost to the peoples of Europe. I’m still betting on David Cameron being the man to announce to the British people that we must adopt the Euro. We are Treaty-bound to do so, of that there is no question.

    3) A tangential point; if the Scots opt to ‘leave the Union’ the situation will be more colourful than many imagine. In the first place there will be no more United Kingdom. The UK is a union of the crowns of England and Scotland. Wales is a Principality of England, and Northern Ireland a Province of England. The UK will be no more, but Scotland will remain exactly as it is; a Region of the European Union.
    The Member State of the EU known as the UK will vanish. Wales and Northern Ireland will still be Regions in their own right, but England will be an anonymous collection of nine Euro-Regions. Indeed England was wiped from the map of the EU a couple of decades ago, although not many people seem to have noticed the fact, and the name holds as much significance now as do Wessex or Mercia, for example.

  5. A thoughtful piece and a well written summing up by the Professor.

    Wish it could have been available to be taken up by those with political muscle for effective use when it might have made a difference. Too little too late now.

    I did hope to see a mention by the professor of another professor – Sir Jack Enoch Powell. The only highly placed politician with influence I can think of that actually took the drop when paying the full price for holding his quite sensible anti-immigration, anti-EU views.

    His views on immigration will eventually, without a shadow of doubt, be proved correct in precisely the same way his views on European integration are increasingly being confirmed.

    He was kicked from pillar to post by his political opponents, and media detractors, who were in possession of less than half his vision. His willingness to speak out about that which he thought was wrong also caused him great personal loss and suffering. The attacks he was obliged to see off from the ever increasing army of left-wing thugs running rampant at the time, became so bad that even now we bear witness to yet another professor who dares not mention his name.

    Could Jack be given another shot at it however, I’m sure he’d shake his head saying, ‘It’s all lost I’m afraid. All much too late now – sometimes the clock can be turned back, things that have become broken put back together. However, England drowned too many years ago for that. So why not allow her dignity in death at least?’.

    A great man, low-born in a terrace house near a busy railway track, who achieved so much but was unwilling to cheat people in the way all politician’s probably must. He also must have thought that the average Englishman was many times smarter than he truly is.

    The Romanians have, however, found a great way of getting rid of their entire, troublesome, Roma population. So, all’s well for some then.

    Well I’m off to the opera tomorrow night and I’ve bolt-holes to run to when it finally becomes necessary to get out. So frankly speaking my dears and to be absolutely honest, I don’t give a flying fuck anymore what happens to what will soon become the saddest shit-hole on the planet. In fact, there’ll be a lot less shit lying around the Taj-Mahal than here.

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  8. The idea European Union governments would impose further restrictions on the trade of British companies if the U.K. left the E.U. does not really fit with the fact that E.U. based companies sell more in the U.K. than British companies sell in the E.U. The powerful trade and industrial associations in continental Europe do not tend to favour cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Also such E.U. action would violate World Trade Organisation rules.

    Sean knows all this – and choses (for some reason of his own) to imply the exact opposite.

    As for the ritual anti Americanism – what we (as individuals) choose to buy from Americans should have nothing to do with the E.U., unless we choose to resell what we buy from Americans to people in the E.U. That is one of the reasons to leave the E.U. – so we buy (as individuals) what we wish from the rest of the world without E.U. regulations.

    Sean knows this as well – and (again) implies something very different. His “naughtiness” (for want of a better word) is tiresome at times.

    • Paul,
      I fear you ignore the fact that the reaction may not be driven by pure economic considerations, but by spite.
      Further, it may actually be in the EU’s short term interests to ‘punish’ in order to discourage others , even when such punishment is to the economic disadvantage of all.

  9. I have failed spectacularly to get fired up by this debate, and remain undecided.

    On economic grounds, I have no doubt that exit would have both advantages and disadvantages for the UK. Advantages because our markets would open wider to the rest of the world and possibly be less hampered by regulation; disadvantages because the EU tariffs have decimated many of our historic trading relationships.

    In theory, we would be less hampered by centralised regulation, but is not that an optimistic view? Read the Guardian or 38 Degrees or the BBC and weep.

    I also fear the motivations and philosophies of many of those who advocate exit. Your enemy’s enemy is not necessarily your friend. The unholy coalition calling for exit comprises libertarians, but also those calling for exit as a means of making the State stronger or more effective.

    I’m not saying that exit is necessarily a bad idea, but that its consequences are uncertain and not necessarily an advance for free markets, free trade and peace.

  10. Nick if anyone is motivated by “spite” it is not the hard nosed European industrial associations (or the administrators and politicians they lobby) it is Sean Gabb.

    For it is “spite” (or naughtiness – or whatever) as Sean does not really agree with the Cameron-Haig line (delivered in response to the 95 Conservative Members of the House of Commons who asked for the right of Parliament to veto new laws be returned) that “we must obey everything or our masters will punish us” (or words to that effect).

    Whatever else he is Sean is not an idiot so he should just stop the pro E.U. propaganda – after all he does not actually believe what he is writing (he is just being irritating for the sake of being irritating)..

    As for Professor Myddelton – if he is some sort of secret Protectionist they present the evidence. Actually to judge by the published evidence (although one can not rely on that as, as I have already mentioned, Sean has a habit of writing things he does not actually believe) there is rather more evidence that Sean Gabb is anti free trade.

    Also is it Prof Myddleton who has been pushing Kevin Carson (and the rest of the “Occupy” crowd) for the last six years?

    If I were to believe that Sean was sincere I would be horrified – as the next logical thing for him (if he was sincere) to do would be to go out to smash and burn private property (or perhaps plant a bomb in the nearest supermarket) with his “Occupy” allies (if they were not too busy raping their own female Comrades). But he is NOT sincere – it is all balls.

    And so is his new pro E.U. stance. Sean does not mean a word of it (as with so many other things), it is just done to annoy.

    The question of importance is what to do now.

    95 Conservative Members of the House of Commons have made a moderate and reasonable request – and Mr Cameron and Mr Haig have basically told them to drop dead.

    Perhaps the next logical move is for the Conservative and Unionist party to get a hiding in the Euro elections in May. If Mr Cameron refuses to listen to reason, perhaps fear of losing his position is the only way to deal with him.