The Spectator's Notes

De Gaulle knew it: Britain does not belong in the EU

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: the FT’s nervous condition; the Mail’s Eurosceptic rage; Englishness; hairbrushes

30 April 2016

9:00 AM

30 April 2016

9:00 AM

‘England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her interactions, her markets and her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions.’ This classic Eurosceptic statement was made, as Daniel Hannan reminds us in his excellent book Why Vote Leave, by a great European, Charles de Gaulle. He was explaining why France was rejecting our attempt to join the EEC in 1963. The General understood what the European project was, and why Britain was not a natural part of it. More than 50 years on, is there much to add?

An enjoyable aspect of the EU referendum campaign is the nervous condition of the Financial Times. Unable to maintain its usual pretence at judicious balance under the strain, it has become the Daily Mail of the Europhile global elites, warning of the Seven Plagues which will afflict us if we vote to leave. Rather as the Mail loves the headline beginning ‘Just why…?’, so the FT all-purpose referendum headline begins ‘Fears mount…’ Its star columnists like Philip Stephens and Janan Ganesh pour withering scorn on Eurosceptic ‘nostalgists’ and bigots. Although they — and most of the paper’s writers — are highly intelligent, it does not occur to them to take seriously arguments which, in other contexts, they would mind about, like the age-old question of who exercises power on behalf of whom. They do not realise, to adapt Matthew Arnold, that the sea of EU faith was ‘once, too, at the full’, but now isn’t. Their cries are part of its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar.

As for the Daily Mail itself, more anger than melancholy — bellowings of Eurosceptic rage from the great Paul Dacre. In 1975, when we last had a referendum, the Mail warned its readers of food shortages if we voted to leave, but even Paul wasn’t editor in those days and now the horrors it threatens are all about what happens if we stay. I must say I feel rather torn. On the one hand, I share Paul’s desire to get out of the clutches of Brussels. On the other, I am a tremendous admirer of Lady Rothermere, the wife of the Mail’s proprietor. With her beauty, brains and fine horsemanship, she presides benignly over the wonderful Chalke Valley history festival, and does everything in her power to improve our civilisation. I find that Claudia, who shares the European ideal, feels sorry for the readers who don’t agree with Paul. She worries about confusing fervent personal beliefs with the future of a great newspaper. What agony this must be for all those who seek advancement in Associated Newspapers as they wonder whether to come down on the side of Caliban or Miranda. Luckily, Associated, like the United Kingdom, is presided over by a much-loved constitutional monarch, and great faith is placed in the judgment of good King Jonathan.

Much has been said about President Obama’s article in last Friday’s Daily Telegraph, in which he occupied the regular columnist’s slot to tell Britain to vote to remain. I felt the only thing missing were the words which normally appear at the end of such a piece: ‘Fraser Nelson is away.’

What is Englishness? It has only to be defined to melt away. This was the theme of a barnstorming speech by Boris Johnson — still, just, the Mayor of London — at the lovely and lively church of St George the Martyr, Southwark, last week. He was speaking at the tenth anniversary AGM of the Rectory Society, of which I am chairman. Englishness seemed a good subject because of St George’s Day (this year, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death), because rectories, vicarages etc are very English, and because it was the 90th birthday of the Queen. Boris illustrated how politicians found it a tricky thing to encapsulate, citing Stanley Baldwin’s evocation of the plough team coming over the hill and John Major’s appropriation of Orwell about old maids cycling to Holy Communion through the early morning mist. Boris’s point was that England now had few plough teams, or old maids cycling to Holy Communion, but was still England. During questions, a woman of some years rose up and said, ‘I quite often cycle to Holy Communion in the early morning. And what I should like to say is that, because London under you is less polluted, there doesn’t seem to be much mist about these days.’ Her intervention itself defined Englishness.

In these Notes two weeks ago, I mentioned the pair of ivory-backed, monogrammed hairbrushes which had furnished the DNA which helped prove that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is not the son of Gavin Welby, but of the late Sir Anthony Montague Browne, Winston Churchill’s last private secretary. My point was that they are a period piece, redolent of a past era. ‘I do not know any men under the age of 80,’ I asserted, ‘who have such a pair of hairbrushes, unless inherited.’ As I should have expected, I have been inundated with correspondence from sprightly young men of 49, or 58, or whatever, who tell me how much they cherish their ivory-backed, monogrammed pair. When they go on to tell me the life stories of these hairbrushes, however, they all reveal that they were given to them as presents, often by godparents. So my essential point stands. Christening presents still tend to hark back to more formal patterns of giving — silver napkin rings, leather-bound Bibles, cases of port. I challenge anyone under the age of 80 to show that he has a pair of ivory-backed, monogrammed hairbrushes which he bought for himself with his own money. If he does come forward, he should be warned, he may well fall foul of modern laws about the ivory trade and of the Duke of Cambridge.

Heard on Radio 4: ‘Shakespeare was an incredible content provider.’

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  • Jojje 3000

    Why did the UK then join the EU ? You seem to be stuck halfway in.

    A firm commitment to stay out and never join had been fine with everybody. But volatile changes of political structures come at a great cost to Europe, and I have no doubt that there will be further UK referendums on the EU, no matter the outcome.

    • Freddythreepwood

      Because we listened to that nice Mr Heath when he promised us there would be no loss of sovereignty. Those were the days, before the Internet, when we tended to believe what our politicians told us. By the time we realised that Heath was a duplicitous ba*tard and was lying through his teeth, it was too late.

      • davidblameron

        Don’t think he told bare-faced lies, he allowed himself to get duped by wily devious continentals.

        • Mr B J Mann

          No, as the Minister responsible for the team negotiating joining he received a report confirming that it would mean surrender of sovereignty and subservience to a political superstate.

          In 1960 !

          Yes, the *first* time round!

          This was confirmed to him in in a report by the Lord Chancellor in 197*0* ! ! !

          In plenty of time before we were taken into the Common Market, never mind before the propaganda campaign to get us to vote in!!!

          • davidblameron

            1961, following the Commonwealth Conference in London on March 13th when PM MacMillan realised the glorious past was fading fast and Britain desperately needed a new role in the world as if we prols did.

      • Ben Edwards

        I think you mean Thatcher, not Heath. Thatcher signed the Single European Act, which was the first transfer of sovereignty.

  • Mr Grumpy

    Sorry, Charles, but you’ll have to do a bit better than “because de Gaulle didn’t want us to join”. The General’s disdain for “industrial and commercial activities” might tell us something about why France is forever in the shade of Germany, but apart from that the quote has precious little to do with le prix du poisson.

  • john

    Britain does belong in the EU. It’s the Tory Party that doesn’t belong – they don’t like to share their power with anyone!

    • Conway

      No, Britain doesn’t belong in the EU; it has a different history, culture and legal system. It’s like trying to mix oil and water.

      • john

        Of course, we’re not like like those stinky Continentals. We’re honest and brave and they’re sneaky and smelly – or so it said in my Beano!.

        • Mr B J Mann

          Grow up.

          If we have, not just different, but completely incompatible, legal and parliamentary systems, how can they possibly work together?!

          Just because someone points out that it’s crazy for Rugby League clubs to entertain the idea of joining the Premier League because they would be vastly better off economically, it doesn’t mean that the ruling body don’t like to share their power with anyone!

          Never mind that they think they’re not like like those stinky footballers.

          Or that they think Rugby players are honest and brave and Soccer players are sneaky and smelly.

          In fact, the more someone knew about the different codes, and the more they loved both, the more opposed to any federation they would be!

          Now get back to your Beano!

          • john

            You’ve lost me with the bizarre rugby analogy. Again, you grossly exaggerate the problems of working with other EU countries – it’s going on everyday.

          • Mr B J Mann

            If you struggled with that it’s no wonder you struggled with grown up stuff.

            As I said, stick to your Beano!

          • Mr B J Mann

            As you probably even struggle with the Beano, there’s no point in posting something like this for you:

            From a legal report for the Eire government:

            “For some time there has been an increasing interest in common law countries in the desirability of a more flexible rule for the interpretation and construction of statutes and for a departure from what is at present largely a purely literal interpretation. Since our membership of the European Communities involves us in a very close way in legal and other matters with countries that have a much more flexible approach to statutory interpretation than is the case in this country and since Community instruments and regulations will be interpreted by the standards and methods of the European Communities, it is desirable to re-examine this whole question in the context of our own legal system……..

            “The influence of European Union law. Judges have considered themselves bound to use a purposive approach to interpreting EU legislation and this has also begun to influence how they interpret domestic law…..

            “As mentioned earlier, the strict literal approach is very much a creature with a common law pedigree. A major factor in the move towards a more purposive approach has been the increasingly important interface between domestic and European Union law……..

            “’It is a primary rule of European law that a court should adopt a teleological or schematic approach to the interpretation and construction of EU legislation.’

            “Barr J went on to explain what he saw as the relevance of this approach to a
            common law jurisdiction by quoting from a decision of Lord Denning;

            “’They adopt a method which they call in English strange words – at any rate
            they were strange to me – the ‘schematic and teleological’ method of interpretation. It is not really so alarming as it sounds. All it means is that the judges do not go by the literal meaning of the words or by the grammatical structure of the sentence. They go by the design or purpose which lies behind it. When they come upon a situation which is to their minds [my emphasis] within the spirit – but not the letter – of the legislation, they solve the problem by looking at the design and purpose of the legislature – at the effect which it was sought to achieve. They then interpret the legislation so as to produce the desired effect.

            This means that they fill in gaps, quite unashamedly, without hesitation. They ask simply: what is the sensible way of dealing with this situation so as to give effect to the presumed [my emphasis] purpose of the legislation?’


            Or, as you’ve already been told:

            No, Britain doesn’t belong in the EU; it has a different history, culture and legal system. It’s like trying to mix oil and water.

          • john

            “Eire government”? Is that the same as Irish Republic? Where on earth do you get your sources from?

          • Mr B J Mann

            My source was the Internet in general and the link provided in particular.

            As for Eire, if you want to type I…. R……. or even S……. I……:

            Feel free.

            (I could have typed Be my guest, but I couldn’t be ars..!).

    • davidblameron

      Not even the Tory leader and the Tory Chancellor? They seem fairly Eurofanatical from here.

    • Rich Austin

      What nonsense. The UK has never been a good fit with the EU and never will be. Your pathetic remarks on the Tories, who i have little liking for to be honest, is childish and petulant.

      • john

        The UK has never been a good fit with the EU and never will be.
        You must have flawless predictive ability! No doubt you support the “We’re good chaps and they’re rotters” school of sophisticated thinking?

        • Mr B J Mann

          The UK has, not just different, but completely incompatible, legal and parliamentary systems, how can they possibly work together with the rest of the EU?!


          • john

            Chill out BJ. All our systems are entirely compatible with those in the EU. They have worked together for decades/centuries and will work together whether or not we’re in the EU (spoiler alert – we will be!)

          • Mr B J Mann

            Ahhhh, you’re just ignorant!

            The other EU counties are ruled by Roman Law and the Napoleonic code.

            They have compatible legal and governmental systems which are totally
            incompatible with the UK’s.

            While the controversial European Court of Human Rights is of course not an EU institution, and the UK could leave the EU but still be bound by treaty to the ECHR in areas where it has jurisdiction:

            The UK couldn’t leave the ECHR and stay in the EU.

            And while it is true that the UK was instrumental in establishing the ECHR, it did so by completely rewriting the Common Law and Bill of Rights to suit the general Continental legal system/s.

            For example in the UK everything is legal unless it is made illegal.

            In Europe everything is illegal unless it is specifically made legal (hence endless rules and regulations).

            In the UK Statute law is exactly what it says on the tin, a judge can’t try to second guess Parliament, or even look at what was debated to interpret meaning, never mind extend a statute’s effect, they can only “decide” what a statute means on legal rules of interpretation if it is unclear.

            On the Continent judges look at, or even guess at, what the lawmakers were trying to achieve with a law, and extend it as far as they see fit.

            In the UK you are innocent until proven guilty.

            Across the Channel you are guilty until proven innocent.

            Over here you can’t be held without good cause and due process.

            Over there they can pick you up off the streets and then look for reasons to keep you under lock and key.

            Hence, for instance, the European Arrest Warrant.

            Previously you couldn’t be held unless the police could show good reason for believing a crime had been committed and you had committed it (that was scrapped by Blair who brought in EU Human Rights!

            Now someone can make a false allegation against you in Romania, and the British police will arrest you, and the British Courts agree to your extradition without even ensuring a crime has been committed, never mind that, there is evidence you did it, and as for checking you had any chance of a fair trial…!

            You might as well argue that a rugby club should start playing to association football rules and join the football leagues because they would be better off financially!

            Note that Coudenhove-Kalergi, pioneer of European integration, founding president of the Paneuropean Union, first recipient of the Charlemagne Prize in 1950 – whose winners reflect heroes of European unification, who proposed Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as the music for the European Anthem saw a world divided into five states including a United States of Europe linked with French and Italian Africa, but with Britain and its Commonwealth circling the globe, and the USSR spanning Eurasia (and with English serving as the
            world language).

            Churchill’s vision was for a *MAINLAND* European Union, similar unions for Africa, etc, and a Britain and Commonwealth Union.

            Yes he hoped for a European Union.

            But it was to be along the lines of the commonwealth.

            And it *DIDN’T* include Britain!

            And the Union he contemplated with De-Gaulle was between France and Britain against the Axis, as opposed to a Vichy France under a German European “Union”!

          • john

            This is utter gibberish.
            “Across the Channel you are guilty until proven innocent”. So when I arrive in Dover, I am guilty of every crime you can think of and must await being proven innocent? There must be a lot Continentals in jail!

          • Mr B J Mann

            Clearly you are an expert on gibberish!

          • CRSM

            This is the important statement that you made.

            “In Europe everything is illegal unless it is specifically made legal (hence endless rules and regulations).”

            Far to many of us do not realise that this is the case, and I have never understood why. The UK has traditionally had the opposite, essentially libertarian view that if something is not specifically declared to be illegal, then it is allowed.
            To lose this liberty would be a great disaster, though it is apparent that the likes of many politicians, including the duplicitous Theresa May, would like to see the opposite “Napoleonic” conditions in use.

  • Conway

    The General understood what the European project was, and why Britain was not a natural part of it.” What a pity he failed to keep us out of it forever. All of continental Europe knows (and acknowledges) what the European project is; the intention to create a European superstate. It’s only the British politicians who deny that and try to con the British people into giving up their sovereignty and independence by pretending it’s a trading bloc with a social dimension.

    • Jojje 3000

      Why is the British people so easily conned ? The EU has had this agenda since the 50’s

      • Mr B J Mann

        But in the 50s.

        And 60s…..

        And 70s, 80s………..

        The British people only heard what the politicians told the press!

        • Jojje 3000

          And today ?

          • Mr B J Mann

            They have the BBC (which accounts for 40% of all news seen by the British public, and which receives grants from the EU, and doesn’t want Cameron to cut it’s taxpayer funding……..).

          • Jojje 3000

            So it’s pretty much the same today, or am I mistaken ?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yup, no different!

  • Jacobi

    Hannan’s classic statement is misleading. There is French Polynesia and Martinique and others?

    I have said we would be daft to vote to leave the EU but now two things have happened which
    makes me wonder.

    The Turks have completely out-foxed the EU negotiators. We now have the prospect of 70 million Turks with visa access who after x years can stay in the EU.

    The second concerns a hobby I have which is well, and safely regulated by the UK authorities at present. However, in two years time the UK arrangements will be required to be replace by EU ones which are much stricter, unnecessary and which will apply across all of EU for reasons of conformity. These new rules have been drawn up by office types, with no experience of this hobby.

    Now that really bugs me. Brexit is now definitely to be considered !

    But in any case, Merkel and the re-emerging Prussian/Ottoman alliance has now killed off the
    EU. It is just a matter of time before the whole mess unravels, so why bother?

    • mctruck

      My curiosity is piqued; would your endangered hobby involve small pieces of metal moving at speed, with or without chemical assistance?

      Regardless, it appears that now they have “come for you”, you understand that, to the Bureaucratic mind, ‘unregulated’ is synonymous with ‘illegal’, even if regulation exists under another bureaucracy.

      • Jacobi

        It does not involve those. If it did I might be more understanding. But they have come for me and a lot of my pals, and I, and I suspect they, when they think a bit more about it will become more and more fed up!

      • WFC

        Or it could be sea fishing – which, as from this year is regulated by the EU, with the result that no Bass are allowed to be caught.

    • Fraser Bailey

      Why bother? Because a vote to remain will give them new strength, and encourage them to go on. The EU needs to be finished off as quickly as possible.

    • Central power

      Johnson as the PM will grant the Turks visa free status. The Brits have been the most vocal supporters of the Turkish EU membership (Thatcher included).Merkel will not be able to get visa free status through – just look at the present elections in Austria. The Turkish membership of the EU has been on the table since 1987.With Erdogan in charge it just does not fulfill the admission criteria. Many member states would veto it anyway. It would be successfully challenged through the courts anyway.The Germans do not always get their way. Presently they trying to charge for their motorways use but at the same time want to protect own citizens via some refunds.It has been blocked by the “evil” EU.Not to worry: “Liberated” Britain will get rid the European immigrants and swap them for those from Somalia, Bangladesh and other similar paradises.

      • Jacobi

        Difficult. Food for thought. We have to keep the Turks out.

  • Sgtsnuffy


    • davidblameron

      In fact she joined the European Economic Community which morphed into the EU.

      • Tom Cullem

        Precisely. Britons have been had; in fact, so have Germans, French, Italians . . . Greece should never have been allowed in, and now we are looking at the impact of Turkey having its hands around our windpipes, thanks to Merkel’s Mistake. The EEC would never have led to this state of things.

        • Brigantian

          Except it did

    • Jojje 3000

      Agree, why this ambivalence towards the EU ?

      • stuartMilan

        do you really want someone to explain this to you?

        • Jojje 3000

          Well, yea why not.

    • Tom Cullem

      Not only that, but the EU itself should never have gone beyond the single market idea.

    • ReefKnot

      We didn’t join the EU. We joined the Common Market.

    • nouveaulite

      Darn it, now we are stuck with them.

  • davidblameron

    President De Gaulle was right about everything ; Britain is a US Trojan horse that has allowed the US to take over and dominate the EU.

    • Tom Cullem

      Because France and Germany never had anything to do with the US, right?

    • stuartMilan

      yeah right. Merkel is remote-controlled by a CIA agent operating out of a bedsit in Norbiton

      • davidblameron

        No she’s a KGB agent operating out of a grand office in Berlin.

  • pobinr

    We’re richer by minus the £1,000,000 net an hour we give the EU to start with.


    1] Each working couple pay approximately £800 a year in EU contributions. Someone has to pay for the lavish EU houses of Parliament & the salaries of 30,000 Eurocrats. Yes there really are that many !

    2] Food is dearer in the EU because the EU Common Agricultural Policy [CAP] protection racket makes food imports from outside the EU much dearer. This is very hard on poor African countries. And we subsidise inefficient French farmers. We pay £6bn a year to CAP but British farmers only receive £2.3bn back. Fish is dearer as we’ve given away 80% of fish that swim in our waters

    3] Products cost more to make in the EU due to red tape so the manufacturer has to pass this onto the consumer

    4] House prices & rents have been driven up due to the huge demand caused by mass immigration.

    5] Wages for low paid people have been driven down by cheap imported labour

    6] Our taxes could be lower if the government didn’t have to pay for all the new hospitals, schools, road capacity etc needed for these millions of low paid migrants who hardly pay any tax towards these things.

    The only people better off in the EU are career politicians, low wage employers & slumlords

    Jobs depend on trade. Not political union.

    No country in the world outside of the EU is foolish enough to surrender sovereignty & democracy & opens borders to nations to trade with them or be in a trade block with them. The EU is an outdated customs union.

    We trade with the USA under WTO rules without a trade deal. Why would we want to be part of an EU trade deal with the USA that has the awful pro corporatist TTIP attached to it ?

    ‘Out’ of the EU we can negotiate a deal if indeed we even need a deal, on our OWN terms. Yet another reason to leave

    Nigel Farage 5.20 mins in – ”’The chancellor & everyone else is basically saying ‘We’ve got a wonderful deal with the EU. Without it we risk everything.’

    Actually we’ve got a rotten deal with the EU

    The EU is the worst trade deal in the world

    For access to selling our good tariff free

    We pay 1% of our GDP as a membership fee

    For an economy just 12% are EU exports, yet 100% of our business is regulated

    We have open borders to 505m people

    I’ll add that we’ve lost our ability to make our own laws too & we’ve lost our ability to govern ourselves with our MEP’s being outvoted on 84% of occasions !

    All this just to trade with Europe = totally insane

    It’s like marrying your neighbour just because you want to borrow their lawnmower !

    People voted to remain in a Common Market trade agreement in 1975 & they were told it ‘would mean no loss of sovereignty.’

    It’s now a Common Dictatorship.

    They were lied to & this was a theft of public rights.

    Time to take our rights back


    • Central power

      Just explain why Switzerland and Norway have substantially higher food prices. How do Germans still manage to manufacture? Why immigration to Switzerland per capita is double to that of the UK (more than 50% pf immigrants are not from the EU)? Why Mr. Brexiter Dyson moved his operation to Malaysia and still charges ridiculous prices for his products? Why Aldi and Lidl are capable of selling high quality food substantially cheaper than the leading British supermarkets? Just explain historically lowest prices of milk and bread. Due to CAP?
      As for the house prices – driven up mainly two factors. Rent to buy speculation. Purchases of properties mainly in London and Southeast by rich non EU citizens.
      But wait once we are out of the EU we will: stop immigration from the third world, stop foreign speculation in the British property,stop truly wasteful Foreign Aid,stop exporting the manufacturing jobs abroad. And yes the Japanese car manufacture will increase their investment in the UK plants.And then you have woken up.
      Just for your information (these are the real figures not the usual Farrage/UKIP/Johnson twaddle)…A record number of cars – representing 77.3% of total production – was for export, with 1,227,881 units leaving the UK. EU demand grows 11.3%, with 57.5% of exports destined for the continent.Enough said.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Oh, purleeeeezzzzze!

        Do Switzerland and Norway get farm subsidies from the UK?

        The UK tends to obey rules and regulations (being used to only important things being regulated) whereas in Europe they are so used to so many rules and regulations that they are used to ignoring most of them.

        So, for example, we pay twice as much for energy!

        As for why immigration to Switzerland per capita is double to that of the UK (more than 50% of whom are not from the EU): ask people like Louis Hamilton and George Clooney.

        Or any of the economic migrants who need to be in a profession or trade which can’t be filled by a Swiss national, have a job for which there is a shortage of local workers and an available quota, and a work and residence permit, lined up before entering the country, and have the necessary language skills, age and ability to integrate (and if they come as a tourist or on a business trip, and find a job, have to leave, and complete the formalities before re-entering.

        And they are usually one year non renewable or possibly annually renewable permits depending on needs and quotas, tied to an employer and residence in its canton.

        But if you lose your job and claim benefits a renewable one won’t be renewed!

        And to be allowed to settle (NOT become a national) you have to have been living there for ten years continuously.

        Etc, etc, etc.

        But if you were really interested you could have found all that out yourself, you troll!

        • Central power

          Just stop at the Zurich Hauptbahnhof- it is not full of Clooneys and Hamiltons. As for the 10 year rule no one stops the UK from applying it. Eight year rule in Germany and hardly 5 years in the UK..Europeans (genuine ones) moving into another European country threaten no one. Lots of Hungarians in 1956 and the Czechs in 1968 moved to Switzerland – now you would not know that this was the case. Tell me which European nationality (Muslim non EU Albanians excluded) has ever presented any threat to the British identity or way of life. Brexiters have produced no figures on unemployment benefits claimed by the EU nationals. And they know why. But ,of course, after the Brexit all the East European scroungers will be replaced by the hard working and well educated Somalis, Bangladeshis etc. etc. And do not give me that Johnson’s / Farrage’s /Trump’s “great” idea that we shall be able to pick and choose who can be admitted over here..After all, who will want to come to the xenophobic and anti-European England apart from the likes of Osamas, Abduls etc.etc.?

          • Mr B J Mann

            You really are a troll!

            “As for the 10 year rule no one stops the UK from applying it. Eight year
            rule in Germany and hardly 5 years in the UK.”

            But that’s not to a settlement permit but a passport.

            At which point the UK can’t stop them entering!

            Europeans (genuine ones)
            moving into another European country threaten no one. Lots of Hungarians
            in 1956 and the Czechs in 1968 moved to Switzerland – now you would not
            know that this was the case. Tell me which European nationality (Muslim
            non EU Albanians excluded) has ever presented any threat to the British
            identity or way of life

            But it’s exactly the “Muslim non EU Albanians” and all points East that are taking over vast swathes of UK cities and can’t be “excluded”!

            Unlike in Switzerland!!!

          • Central power

            There is no need to be offensive like Johnson of the Ratner fame.I just repeat:the genuine Europeans present no problem.Immigration from the third world does.Leaving the EU is more likely to increase it. The Brexiters Johnson and Galloway are unlikely to control it. Also our Muslim community has been importing wives / husbands from Pakistan/Bangladesh etc, left,right and center.. You can not get say German citizenship unless you hold a job. Unlike in the UK. Thus, paradoxically, Britain presents a bigger danger to the rest of the EU through naturalization. As for you remarks on Switzerland I can only tell you that I have spent a considerable time in that country and the influx of the non European immigrants is quite staggering. I have not examined their papers but they are there. Your comments just confirm the Brexiters main mantra: “Cutting off the nose to spite the face”

          • Mr B J Mann



            Why are Albanian Muslims a problem, but not Western Istanbul ones? Or Kosovan? Or Bosnian?!

            And are you saying everything from accepting four inbred peasant wives to struggling to deport terrorists has nothing to do with the EU?!

            And why is an influx of Romanians not a problem?!

            The problem is the UK can’t make its own rules.

            Oh, and where it can the EU provides a handy smokescreen for people wishing to undermine the UK!!!

            PS feel free to explain what on earth you “Cutting off the nose to spite the face comment means.

          • Central power

            After the referendum throw everyone out (including the descendants of the foreign wartime RAF pilots me included) and just keep the English. Please note that Pakistan and Bangladesh are not in Europe and 7/7 bombers have not come from Europe either. People like yourself do Britain proud.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Oh, purleeeze!

            Again with Project Fear!

            Who mentioned kicking out current EU nationals, never mind descendants of the foreign wartime RAF pilots (presumably Poles and Czechs, or do you mean Commonwealth?! Though I’m sure an exception could be made in the case of people like you who would prefer to stay in the EU!)?!

            “And are you saying everything from accepting four inbred peasant wives to struggling to deport terrorists has nothing to do with the EU?!” is acceptable?!

            And why is the fact that even after three generations not only are immigrants no assimilated, but they are so anti-West that they commit a 7/7 (or Paris, or Brussels) an excuse to allow more of the same immigration?!?!?

    • Mr B J Mann

      According to the EU in 2010 there were 186,660 farm holdings in the UK and 489,980 in France.

      Strangely, according to French in 2010 “There are a little over 500,000 recipients of EU farming subsidies in France,”?!

      (No doubt the latter was using out of date figures, as the number of French farm holdings had fallen by a quarter since the 2000 survey………


  • trobrianders

    De Gaulle would certainly respect Britain’s desire to watch Europe burn from a safe distance.

    • WFC

      De Gaulle wouldn’t even have allowed France to be a member of the current EU.

      • Brigantian

        It would be great to hear his opinion of Baroness Ashton, without the expletives removed…

  • Augustus

    “England….. has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions”

    And, above all, she has always guarded her sovereignty with determined tenacity. So, to regain that sovereignty from a merciless, all-consuming power, which the EU has become today, is the most logical thing to do. the Europhile technocrats in Brussels will, however, see this as an opportunity to continue to work towards their political dream of a federal European state. They might even try to use a British withdrawal as an excuse for a contemporary variant of the attempts in the 15th and 16th centuries in which the imperial German states tried to reform and centralize the disintegrating Holy Roman Empire. But whatever happens after Brexit, the failure of the European political project will be put squarely in the spotlight, and the British example will encourage other European politicians who want to leave to scramble to be the second country to do so.

    • Central power

      Guarded her sovereignty, habits and traditions by importing zillions form backward countries

  • Brigantian

    De Gaulle wanted a union between France and the England of Winston Churchill before the EU or EEC were ever thought of. He vetoed the entry of a UK led by Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath.
    His view that certain elements in British society are a danger to Europe as a whole and the British people in particular is one that has been echoed more recently by Jean Claude Juncker and Francois Hollande.
    This is more obvious today than in the time of De Gaulle, with the danger of a Corbynite government in Westminster pushing the EU to the extreme ‘left’ after 2020. Meanwhile Cameron & Sturgeon promise to place Islamists in key positions in government and the armed forces while France is fighting them on the streets of Paris.
    The best thing we can do for the rest of the EU is to get out and put our own house in order.

  • Order No. 227

    Wow…Brexiteers are now quoting a British hating Frenchman to back them up….how patriotic of them. Britain has been genetically and culturally linked to mainland Europe since ancient times the EU is merely a natural progression. If we do leave the EU I trust Hannan will pay back the hundreds of thousands of pounds he has taken from it?

    • John Carins

      De Gualle did not hate Britain/British. Our cultural links do not require an EU and ever closer political union. The EU is unnatural and aims to destroy nation states.. Hannan to his credit has said “please put me out of a job”.

      • Sarony

        A vote for Brexit is not a vote against Europe. It’s simply a vote for Britain against unelected bureaucracy.

        • John Carins


          • David Stanley

            Agreed Sarony, I dislike the fact that we cannot vote out the bureaucrats that run us because as you say they are not elected, dictatorship rules?

    • DaHitman

      Is this all you brain-dead lefties do, spend your day trolling right-wing media, I don’t know why you bother getting up in the morning, sad isn’t the word

      • Central power

        Excellent brain-alive comment.

    • Richard

      Why should rule from Germany be a natural progression to migration?

    • ObserverinMonmouth

      Hi Order no 227. Hopefully post Brexit we will continue our long relationship with our European friends. A relationship based mutual trading and supported by the occasional launching of a UK lifeboat to rescue Europe from despotic attempts by French or German imperialists. The EU is the latest example of European imperialism by France and Germany couched in a politically correct term “European Union”. Our lifeboat will no doubt be launched again but hopefully post Brexit and from the shores of Blighty. We will help to correct the mess yet again. Vote Leave

  • John Carins

    De Gaulle was only ever interested in one thing – himself. He saw himself as the embodiment of France. So,how could he acquiesce to those responsible for saving him?.

  • DaHitman

    “De Gaulle knew it: Britain does not belong in the EU”

    Because the EU didn’t exist, it was a trading agreement

  • Mr B J Mann

    “Unable to maintain its usual pretence at judicious balance”

    Since when?!

    It’s a screaming g-y colour for a reason!!!

    I don’t take the FT that often, but when I do pick up a copy, it’s amazing how often there is an article about firearms.

    Not about the finances of gun-makers or the performance of their shares.

    Nor about how the finances of gun-makers or the performance of their shares might be affected by gun controls.

    Not even about the social costs (the benefits would, of course, not get a look in) of gun ownership.

    But an anti gun rant about the evils and harm of gun ownership and how and right (ie left) thinking person would want them banned asap!

  • Prof Raus

    John Major’s shouty overbearing banal performance on Today this morning must have driven more people to Brexit. More please.

    • davidblameron

      What sort of time in the prog, roughly?

      • Philip Fraser

        It was given the prime time slot after the 8am news bulletin but before he was interviewed he was allowed to make an uninterrupted 5 minute recitation of a pro EU ‘essay’ he had apparently written. He was then interviewed by John Humphries in a markedly less hostile manner than Nick Robinson aggressively cross-examined Farage on Wednesday morning. Major made no mention of the immigration issue from EU and resultant pressure on public services, nor did Humphries bizarrely.
        Of course Mr Farage was not given the privilege of an uninterrupted 5 minute pro Brexit speech before being questioned, quel surprise.
        Shocking piece of blatant bias. Major could have stopped the Maastricht Treaty which has given the EU the joys of the Euro and the sacrificing of the prospects of a whole generation in southern Europe with 50% youth unemployment. -He pushed on with it even after the totally unnecessary diaster of the ERM for which he was also responsible.
        Major, Brown and Blair , the three most diasterous PMs UK has ever had, to quote Thatcher it’s an apology we need from these people not advice.

        • davidblameron

          I’ve never understood Major’s Europhilia, he is an independent thinker ; one of his predecessor incumbents from a few centuries ago in his Huntingdon constituency would never have let Britain join in the first place.

        • davidblameron

          Got it, thanks ; thought he kept his cool despite pressure from JH

  • Central power

    Just slightly off the beaten track: The Guardian is now the main forum(with thousands contributions) for more informed discussion. The Telegraph owners for the reasons only known to themselves have blocked it.The Spectator forum, is basically for entertainment and intellectual stimulus – with no influence whatever. Please note the continental papers in their majority allow discussion without a need for subscription.As to The Mail and The Express blogs – they only confirm the Churchill’s dictum: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

    • davidblameron

      Don’t know why Churchill said that ; a citizen wants people running their lives and taking their taxes who are answerable for their actions. what we have with the EU are individuals directing our nation who have no understanding of it’s and it’s peoples’ individuality and identity. We have now reached a situation where we have politicians at Westminster can keep making excuses for things we don’t approve saying, ‘it’s EU policy’, et al. I could go on but I’m too angry already.

      • ObserverinMonmouth

        Agree absolutely

    • Mr B J Mann

      Thousands of contributions that the Guardian allow.

      And no contributions that they don’t.

      Anyone would think they get a grant from the EU.

      Like the Beeb!

      • Central power

        Not so sure.Lots of anti EU stuff in the comments – probably from the frustrated Telegraph readers.

        • Chris

          Only if it’s a rant. Any comment that actually proves that what they have printed is a distortion or an outright lie will appear in the comments thread for about five minutes before it’s removed..

    • Augustus

      “The best argument etc.”

      Commonly attributed to him, but with no authority. He did say this:

      “At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper—no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.”
      -From: Churchill by Himself, edited by Richard Langworth.

    • Chris

      Absolutely not true. You not allowed under any circumstances allowed to provide data in any comment that disproves or questions the validity of that provided by the writer of any pro remain article. No explanation, the comment will simply be deleted and any further comments submitted by a subscriber to the same thread will automatically be deleted by default.
      I’ve never particularly liked the Guardian but they have turned Cif into a joke with their stance on the referendum debate. I used to allow my daughter to bring it into the house but it is banned forthwith as she will be too if she renews her subscription to this propaganda sheet.

  • Bonkim

    Faith does not need reason. Most people in Britain have no faith in the EU.

  • Jojje 3000

    Stay in the EU or not will certainly split the UK, easily in half and perhaps in quarters.

  • amanuenensi

    De Gaulle was notoriously myopic in his world view and at best a middling statesman. Most Frenchmen want us out for much better reasons. They scent a fortuitous, soon to be disposed of, cloud of immigrants with a silver lining. The EU will never permit an off-shore unregulated non-EU London to continue trading Euro-assets. Banking for 500 million people and the rest of the world wanting to finance the purchase of Airbus, Chanel and Mercedes will all move quickly and silently to Paris or Frankfurt.

    The final insult will be when France requests HMG to return its borders to Dover and St Pancras, then any migrant with a ticket can turn up asking to be fed and housed in the SE. They all speak English not French or German, and here is their logical home. Let us get ready to be the first G7 nation to refuse to honour UN Conventions on Human Rights, or, sadly face a cloud of migrants, with no silver lining at all.

    But at least we will be out of the clutches of Brussels and their nasty consumer protection laws.

    • maic

      Are the British people supposed to feel guilty because they don’t want a flood of unwanted immigrants flooding into their country? It seems to me that the good old politicians have led the country into an unpalatable mess with the EU giving away the priority of British law and custom. If the people vote Leave then the good old politicians can earn their keep and organize the necessary adjustments. I understand that this is meant to take place over a number of years.
      However (all the Conventions favouring gatecrashers notwithstanding) I would suggest that Britain immediately take undisputed control over who is entering the country and kick out non citizens with criminal records.
      Who owns the country? Who should control the country? Surely the British citizens own the country and elected British politicians should enact, alter or cancel laws governing the citizens.
      As for the bad things the nasty foreigners might do – I can’t believe that Britain is a helpless useless ninny unable to use its own talents and resources to make adjustments – adjusting to what never should have been changed in the first place. It’s your country Brits. Vote for the Britain you want not for the Britain the so called experts and fear mongers tell you that you should want. God save the Queen and British heritage.

      • amanuenensi

        No any person claiming refugee status is entitled to a full determination under UNHCR law (another pesky treaty) which in the UK means a Tribunal hearing and possibly more. They get to stay and work while that process takes place, currently 2 to 4 years. And if any Brexit true believer thinks the French will keep the the treaty of Le Touqet after Brexit, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn going for a knock down price and only a 10% deposit….in cash.

        • amanuenensi

          I learn now that the reason we wanted the said treaty so badly back at the turn of the Century, is because in 2000 4000 people turned up with no papers or seeking refugee status. Put two more noughts and double that for 2018. The French are already making jokes about it.

        • Richard

          They don’t have to observe it now. The UNHCR laws are not fit for purpose any longer. The whole of Africa qualifies for refugee status, and most of what was India. Time to take of ourselves for a change.

      • mikewaller

        You should be listening to what the Queen said supposedly in private about our new best friend, China. Rude and contemptuous about sums it up. Go it alone and God help us. To them, we’re just a dumping ground for massive production surpluses, without the power necessary to resist. Please get real!

    • kitten

      Or our border control could check the authenticity of the said migrants to work out if they are, in fact, entitled to permanent leave as a refugee and refuse admission to the bogus economic migrants.
      They’d, therefore, be stuck in France and be the Frances problem due to the Schengen agreement.

  • mikewaller

    I intend skating over the Brexit nonsense this week to concentrate on the nauseous paragraph having to do with the Rothermere family, owners of the notorious Daily Mail. Last week CH was heaping praise on the great architect of the Northern Rock debacle, one Matthew Ridley, 5th Viscount Ridley. This week it’s the similarly ennobled Rothermere’s who get unctuous words by the bucketful. As it happens, this catches me in poetic mode, a state precipitated by the aborted “Erdogan/Merkel” poetry competition during the course of which the young bloods at the Spectator presumably learned the practical limits of free speech in the real world. My finely honed limerick written in that context having gone to waste, I now offer the following in respect of Charles Moore:

    A chap by the name of Moore
    Has developed a serious flaw.
    On meeting blue blood,
    Be it stellar or dud,
    He becomes an obsequious bore.

    • David Stanley

      Brexit might
      be “nonsense” to you but means a lot to me and others, my parents
      fought to keep Britain free and it behoves us to do the same. If you think
      remain camp wins by cheating then that will be the end of Brexit think again.

      • mikewaller

        What cheating? It’s the Brexiters who are try to have their way with a tidal wave of emotion and very few hard facts. What you and your parents and I think should really count for very little. We’ve had out time. It’s young people who really ought to decide the issue as it is their world that will be shaped Because the damned fools disproportionately fail to vote, I feel a moral duty to speak out for them. The great threat they face, even if they don’t recognise it, are thousands of people all round the globe who daily leave the countryside and pour into cities to sell their labour at, to us, ridiculously low rates to manufactures aiming to contribute yet more goods to an already oversupplied global market. If we try to complete with this tsunami of goods on our own we will be overwhelmed. Already industrial workers, employed and unemployed, in the West are starting to realise just what a disaster “globalisation” has proved to be in respect of their futures and those of their children. As result democratic pressures will lead to a re-introduction of protectionism, something that the USA and the EC are big enough to sustain. A brexited UK would not be and, as a resulted, would be royally screwed by everybody. Please get real!

        • ObserverinMonmouth

          You appear to be an isolationist intent on protecting Europe from the realties of the rest of the World. Not in my back yard (NIMBY). Well Russian/USSR tried that for a long time and look at the result. North Korea is another good example. The EU is a protectionist bloc created for a post WWII era but the World has moved on and we should be part of that not some old dinosaur of an organisation. Vote Leave

          • mikewaller

            Do you have any idea of what you are talking about? I once read that in 2012 to be on £15,000 per annum put you in the top 4% of wage earners, globally. In a world like that exposure to a fully globalised economy can mean only one thing: a massive drop in living standards. As a very able economist said in 1997: “In a globalised world [a person with a unique and valued talent] can demand whatever he or she likes; but those engaged in coolie work are only going to get coolie wages”. Bamboozle the UK out into that maelstrom and God help you and us. Certainly history gives no guide as we have never had the forthcoming massive over supply of productive capacity.

          • ObserverinMonmouth

            Sorry but trying to hide from the rest of the World inside a protectionist hub called the EU will only afford you protection for a while. The reality is that labour is cheap and abundant. You may have noticed that the protectionist walls in Europe are crumbling as desperate people from Africa and Asia are walking into the territory. How are you going to hide from the world in such circumstances?
            And as for your “unique and valued talent” then start thinking how you will protect that when “intelligence” is also increasingly abundant and being transferred from humans to robots.
            People and society ultimately have to adapt to progress not hide from it. Like it or not that is progress.

          • mikewaller

            May I respectfully ask: do you live in the real world? In the fullness of time it may not be possible to buck the market; but, then , As Keynes said, “In the long run we are all dead”. In the mean time, ordinary people with votes are going to elect anybody who promises to maintain their standard of living and keep “others” out. Indeed, the reason why Brexit may win is not because ordinary people buy into to your globalised dystopia but because they naively believe that going it alone will mean that we will be able to control our own borders. Of course, it won’t, as we will soon find that, like Norway, if we wish to trade on anything like equal terms with the EU we will have to accept “free movement”. Even then I suspect they will give us a very hard time (a) pour encourage les autres & (b) dispossessing us of our jobs (particularly city ones) will be much more attractive than access to our shrinking market.
            For t with eyes to see, the shift towards protectionism and the exclusion of others is already up and running. For example, Trumps success in the USA and the current trend in Autria where the likely

          • ObserverinMonmouth

            I do agree in the end we are all dead. In the mean time we have a number of issues to address of which our standard of living is one. Wether that is better maintained by the EU membership is a mute point. I doubt the unemployed or young of Greece, Spain or Portugal would agree. As to the dystopia of globalisation then protectionist EU is hardly likely to be utopian. It remains to be seen what will actually happen in the USA. The US has gained a great deal from NAFTA and a more sober analysis of the situation will no doubt alter the rhetoric between now and November. What is actually needed is a horses for courses solution to the economic and social problems which all countries face. I believe for the UK given the intransigence of the EU negotiators we should vote to leave. Once the decision is made we can commence negotiations. Who knows what the outcome will be but neither do we know what remaining will bring. Ever closer union quite possibly, but trouble a plenty for sure. EU elites particularly in the commission may play hardball but history shows they are able to fudge most issues. The Turkish situation is a classic example albeit rather pathetic. Norway nor any of the other FTAs are what is likely for the UK. Many European countries are very dependent on the UK market particularly the major players. Collectively excluding services Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands export $242.3Bn pa to the UK and we export $143.1 Bn pa to them. It’s in no-one’s interest to see tariffs or other barriers implemented. The UK is one of the most successful economies in the World and as a result we have 3m EU citizens living here including 850,000 Poles. We are also the only European country with proper military capability and a well developed international security network. It is for these reasons and many more that we will maintain good relations post Brexit. These are also the reasons, maybe much to the chagrin of the EU oligarchs, that a deal will be done. I suspect free movement will be modified in some way to accommodate our legitimate requirements. Probably a simple fast track visa system and restrictions on benefits. As to peoples reasons for voting to remain or leave then that is up to them, they are entitled to an opinion. For me its about sovereignty and the advantages of the fleet of foot, the hare versus the tortoise or should I say dinosaur. Best wishes, Vote leave.

          • mikewaller

            Sorry my previous post ended in mid-air. My screen froze so I posted what I had but then found I could not modify what I had put up. I also lost mouse control but could move the cursor by using the arrows.I then found that the only way I could make the screen disappear was to pull the plug on the computer. I have just had a similar problem both on this and another post which I suspect may have something to do with my using the spell-check. On the other hand, I am currently giving some members of the Spectator staff a hard time, being somewhat critical of Israel and pounding away at folks like you. So it might well be enemy action! [:-)]
            As for your post, I think you misread the whole situation. Far from our being one of “the most successful economies” in the world, we are encumbered with massive debt, a seemingly intractable deficit, huge welfare commitments, severe skill shortages, and low levels of productivity when compared with all our major competitors. As a result of this, although having for the moment the 5th largest economy, we are way down the rich list, varyingly placed from the high 20s to the mid 30s. Indeed the figures you quote as to our trade with the EU tell it all: even with a near level playing field, we simply cannot hack it. Most telling of all, Germany, paying far more into the pot than we do, makes a huge success of trading across the globe from within the EU. As for being fleet of foot, you are living in dream world. Whilst some of our people are unquestionably world class, far too many simply cannot earn their corn in a fully globalised economy. The fact is, we have been declining for over 100 years and Brexit will only accelerate that process.
            And, please, forget about the military. Much as I admire our armed services they are , unavoidably, a drain on the economy and have proved in recent years too much of a temptation to amateur generals (i.e. politicians) who have gone meddling in places best left alone. They must not be reduced because of Putin, but they are most certainly not going to make surviving Brexit any easier.
            As for the tensions in the EU that both you and that clown Johnson have referred to, that is a huge reason for our remaining in. When the Greek situation blew up I expended quite a lot of effort in trying to persuade the Germans to do what the USA did for us immediately post WW2: form direct family to family links facilitating the sending off gifts of food, clothing etc. etc. to show ordinary folk that their suffering was not going unnoticed. Sadly this sort of thing seems to be outside the Teutonic imagination but I would have hoped that a decent British administration – which excludes this one – could have got something along these lines going.
            If, instead, we just walk away as you intended, the chance of directly influencing the situation will be lost and the positive weight of Western Europe in counter-balance to the Eastern European nations still in mortal fear of the tyrant Putin, will be fatally weakened. Indeed the tenor of Brexit contributions, your included, puts me very much in mind so the last guy disinclined to thing much about far away people of whom we know little!

          • ObserverinMonmouth

            If you don’t already then try a an iMac and have a trouble free computing experience and no viruses [;-)].
            With regard to Government Debt to GDP. Greece 196%, Italy 133%, Portugal 127.8%, Ireland 103.2%, Spain 98.6%, France 97.09%. I think I am right in saying these countries are all in the Eurozone. Doesn’t look like spectacularly good fiscal management. And I think I am right saying the ECB has negative interest rates, is indulging in vast amount of money printing and some say they are seriously thinking off resorting to helicopter cash. That doesn’t sound like a stable currency or political union to me. For comparison purposes the UK debt is 88.89% and we have halved our annual deficit to 5% and with a fair wind will reduce it further before 2020. Not bad compared to some.
            Germany is an interesting case and has done very well from the euro unlike many other eurozone countries. Time will tell what these imbalance will do to the union but it looks quite ugly in some countries at the moment.
            I rather like Boris Johnson and whilst he can fool around he has made an excellent and convincing speech today, unlike Cameron with his ridiculous scaremongering about WWIII.
            I do not believe we should walk away from the EU, not at all. I hope we will divorce ourselves from the politicking and the EU’s imperialist desire to conquer the Balkans and non aligned countries like Ukraine (debt to GDP 94.4%) which has inflamed the Russian situation. I also hope the flirtation with Turkey will fail as appears to be the case. In terms of Brexit I am sure we will negotiate a sensible relationship base on mutually beneficial trade and cooperation on all matters of importance. As for as Russia and other threats we will continue to encourage europe that their security is best served by the transatlantic alliance, NATO. An arrangement which has served the USA and Europe very well.

          • mikewaller

            This comes from as site that offers “clock” which racks up our ever increasing debt second by second:

            Mainstream media headlines today are focused on Britain’s record national debt, which just surpassed £1 trillion, a figure that can only exponentially increase unless the entire mechanism of Government finance is overhauled. The truth however is much worse, factoring in all liabilities including state and public sector pensions, the real national debt is closer to £4.8 trillion, some £78,000 for every person in the UK.
            Another source I have seen sought to achieve some understanding of this figure by saying that is you put a £50 note on the ground and kept on piling others on top, you would reach well over 6,500 miles into the sky before achieving a total matching our level of indebtedness. And all the time, as you acknowledge, that debt keeps rising because we have not eliminated the deficit. A rapidly aging population paying itself way over the global odds, if the poor sheep follow you an that clown Boris, God help us. As I listened to him, I heard the kind of crap that put Churchill in the wilderness simply because wistful thinking is a not uncommon response by the weaker brethren to deeply challenging truths. Certainly the EU has made a lot of errors, the Euro being a particularly egregious one. However, as in the US, the ordinary Joe is getting increasingly resentful at where the elite has taken him, and it requires the combined efforts of those with the coolest heads to make sure the EU is not redirected along wholly unsatisfactory paths. To instead take our own far from perfect economy out, naked, into the ruthless, globalised world whilst leaving the EU to its own devices still seems to me the height of stupidity. If there ever was a case in which the observation “If we do not hang together, we will hang separately” applied this is it. Certainly if we Brexit and leave the ECHR the champagne will flow in the Kremlin!

          • ObserverinMonmouth

            Your comments on debt could be applied to any country and is of little relevance unless the debt is compared. Most countries have debt, public and private. I compared government debt in the major EU countries and on that basis the UK isn’t near the top.
            I don’t support your view on Boris nor Churchill nor the sneering condemnation. They both achieved much but neither is or was perfect. Rathe like you and I, I imagine.
            You seem to sum up the decision to remain or leave the EU as a polemic choice, binary, in or out. But the reality of Leave is rather more subtle. The majority of “leavers” expect to do so in a graceful and positive way with as much cooperation as possible being the long term result.
            On security we have vey well established and successful alliances which have served us very well for decades. Nato being the obvious one.
            As for Remaining then that is I believe a perilous journey best viewed from a distance but nor so far that we cant help and advise.
            So everyone has to make a decision on the 23 June. Mine is to Vote Leave and I hope that will be the majority choice. Regards

          • mikewaller

            Just read this which I think is the shape of things to come:
            “[In latter part of 19th century].. tariff battles were won decisively by protectionists in favor of American manufacturing. For obvious reasons, the robber barons were not interested in free trade, except as a theory to debate over dinner. They were in the business of creating American versions of industries that already existed across the Atlantic, and they needed, or at least demanded, a barrier from European competition. Free trade was left to the British, and in the meantime, American indus¬try rose to a dominant position internationally, aided by a gov¬ernment that shielded it at every turn from real or perceived threats from foreign competitors.”
            The big driver now will be the imperative of democratically elected politicians to shield the jobs of their constituents from cheap foreign imports. As we have already discussed, this may not work in the long run and certainly could not work for a brexited UK. But within large trading blocks such as the USA and the EU it will give a breathing space. Again as I have previously said, stepping out alone into a globalised world in such circumstances is insane. And, BTW, however good the initial intentions, very few divorces prove to be really amicable. If nothing else, France and Germany will do all they can to undermine the City. As for strategic issues, we have Nato and luminaries from a clutch of USA administrations advising against Brexit and dear old Boris, that strange creature Liam Fox and no doubt Vladimir Putin in favour. I know whom I am listening to. Finally, surely 2 world wars have taught us that leaving Europe to its own devices usually ends in catastrophe. We must be inside helping to shape events not withdrawing Chamberlain-like on the principle that these are strange peoples whose quarrels we find incomprehensible.

          • ObserverinMonmouth

            You mention vested interests shaping American policy. Well it is vested commercial interests in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands that will protect their £250Bn of sales into the UK market continue. Those countries do not want recession, neither do we. A deal will be done. The EU is nothing if not pragmatic. We will not be steeping alone into a globalised world, we are already there. We will simply gain freedom to operate as we wish and not under the cloud of some hopelessly compromised EU negotiated FTA. With regard to the City. The EU has been trying to undermine our financial supremacy for years and that will continue whatever the vote. The views of vested interest be they ex Nato, the USA President, the CBI or other quasi political entities is simply opinion expressed as fact.
            France and Germany have been trying to undermine NATO for years. Evidence the recent leak about Germanys push for an EU army. Lord help Europe if it is dependent on that. The transatlantic alliance has been the most successful such alliance ever because it draws together the interests of the Americas and Europe. The EU would be well advised not to undermine that. Vote Leave

          • mikewaller

            When will you realise that these centrifugal forces are the very reason we need to be in the EU to help hold thinks together. And if you won’t listen to me, listen to the Queen. Brexit means one to one exposure to the Chinese who have no sense of fair play. They will walk all over us, ruthlessly dumping products from their hugely over-expanded economy. Only the EU gives us the mass to resist plus a determination not to have our income levels driven down to the global mean. Stop chasing a mid twentieth century fantasy and get real.

          • ObserverinMonmouth

            I am happy to stay with my 21st century vision and will leave you and the EU with your post WWII outdated dogma. I would respectfully suggest our discourse has run its course since we will ever agree. We are both free to vote as we think fit. I will vote to escape the clutches of the EU oligarchs. You must do as you wish. Au revoir et bonne chance. Vote Leave.

  • Central power

    Farage latest: leaving the EU will stop Pakistani / Afghan / Bangladeshi and Somali women living in the UK to have on average 4.2 children.

  • Andrew Finn

    Lord Derby knew it in 1866:

    “It is the duty of the Government of this country, placed as it is with regard to geographical position, to keep itself upon terms of goodwill with all surrounding nations, but not to entangle itself with any single or monopolising alliance with any one of them.”

    • Wiggi237

      That comment or something similar was quoted by Churchill too but he added ‘Let there always be water between us’!

  • congreve

    We interfere, by our relentless nit-picking, with that most holy of all holies, the Adenauer/de Gaulle Franco-German rapprochement.

    Furthermore, our tiresome and unending recollection of the little local difficulties encountered by both these countries in the 1940s is a continuing irritant.

    Unfortunately the EU has expanded in recent years and we now have twenty-seven separate sets of foreigners to deal with. We had better remain lest we be kicked out.

  • David Stanley

    Don’t let those who sacrificed their lives for freedom be forgotten by voting
    leave. Failure to do so means the elite political class club wins.

    • Wiggi237

      David, if we go to war while in Europe we will be used yet again! Only Britain and France in a smaller way have the experience of war and how to fight it. I see no others in Europe that could compete with us. To think we have seen the end of conflict is a very unlikely dream.

  • Jojje 3000

    Do Brexiters realise how lonely Britain will be ?

    • Wiggi237

      You must be joking!

  • Bill Davies

    O,h dear Jojje,
    We are not going anywhere ! We are exercising our right to be governed by a Democratically elected Parliament, which if we choose to, we can get shot of in the future !
    Now what part of that don,t you understand or like?
    During the last war, my father, a member of the Welsh Guards Division, had to fight his way from Arras to Dunkirk when the British expeditionary force were made to retreat, and again from the beaches of Normandy to the bridge of the Netherlands, watching as several of his mates were mown down! All this so that people like you could at least have a vote in any forthcoming elections. That is the “Reality”, and not some hatred of all things European.
    Indeed, the opposite is true. Having travelled extensively throughout Europe, and met hundred of Europeans, none of whom did I dislike, I can honestly say, hand on heart, I like them all, but I do not (NOT) want to be ruled by them. My sympathies lie with the thousands of Brits
    and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors, and Airmen, together with the thousands and thousands of civilians who were forced to make the final sacrifice!
    Please do not insult my intelligence by labeling me a “Little Englander”, because I am neither little nor English, but you could go some way to explain why you would rather be governed by people you could,nt possibly know, and more to the point, could,nt possibly get rid of!!
    Your logic just does,nt stand up to scrutiny, and as to loneliness, it,s a big new world out there, and I would much prefer to take my chances in that world, than be dictated to by
    insignificant third raters that very few people know anything about, and even less care.
    As to Obama,s speech, here is a President who does not know his own country,s history.
    As a suggestion, may I ask you to read Abraham Lincoln,s Gettysburg Address and weep!!

    • Wiggi237

      The trouble is Bill many of those so keen to take part did not live in those times and have no experience of the part we played in Europe. We have been at war with France for hundreds of years the Spanish too. I like you, love the French,Spanish and admire the German efficiency, the latter I wish we as a Nation could follow. But Europe is a small part of life when there is a big world out there to see and do business with.

    • disqus_XVbpeZ156A

      Well put Bill, I married in 1963 and honeymooned in Paris. As a young airman of 21yrs. with a bride of 18yrs. I was made very welcome by the Hotel proprietor and staff and did not hear one single Non! not even when I went to pay the bill. At 74 yrs. and 71yrs. we are just off for a months stay in Rochefort Poitou Charentes. After June 23rds vote to leave I do not expect Anglo/French relations to be any different from the last 53yrs. The politicians can fight amongst themselves as they invariably do.

  • grumpyoldrockape

    Apparently,if the electorate turnout for the referendum is less than 40% then Brexit will probably win.
    It will all come down to those who can be bothered to vote on the day.
    The majority of the electorate are apathetic and take the fact that they have the right to vote for granted.
    However,if you want to get rid of Cameron, EU diktats, reduce VAT,reclaim our fishing industry and sovereignty et al: Vote Brexit.

  • Anthony John Allen

    de gaulle was an astute man, who realised we brit’s are a superior race to the french and the rest of europe, indeed why should we debase ourselves and slum it, with them. leaving the eu is a natural course of action to remedy this rather bad situation.

    • Wiggi237

      No that was not the position then. De Gaul fled France and came to Britain. When the Yanks came in, De Gaul thought he would try plan and lead Britain and the US into attack! He failed miserably. They did though let him lead at the front when we entered Paris. He never forgot how he was treated. That is why he fought us over the common market and Canada to.

      • Anthony John Allen

        Wiggi237 chill out, I know all that and more, i was being facetious..

  • whorya

    And the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan comes ever closer to fruition.

    It states 150,000,000 Non-Europeans need to be introduced, into the indigenous population for it to work successfully.

    And we are almost there folks. Google it find out for yourselves…….!

    The un-elected “commissioners” of the EU decision makers know. That integration is never going to be possible. But still extol the “Lie”. Muslims do NOT integrate.
    So the only other explanation is to create, civil conflict between the mostly Christian indigenous EU populace and the Muslim (World dominance) migrants.
    And by doing so will divert the strong individual peoples of Europe. From challenging, getting rid of a non-elected, self appointed “Commission”.
    Giving them time to build an EU army. Not for the defence of the EU. But to control the weakened populace. On behalf of the “Elitist” who want to control the Worlds populations. As their wealth means nothing to them, without power.
    As for De Gaulle. He goaded Britain into joining. By repeatedly saying. NON to Britain’s membership. Our politicians at the time. Would not take no as an answer from anybody in the World. Pride has come before the “Fall”. It is not about economics. It is “All” about freedom. VOTE OUT…

    • Tom Cullem

      Indeed – the EU seems to be on track either to force out certain countries deliberately, or force them to accept increasing numbers of Third World refugees without the slightest regard for demographics – this just in:

      “EU refugee crisis: closed-door countries could be asked to help cover costs

      European commission proposes ‘solidarity contributions’ by states that do not take in refugees, to support those that do

      European countries that refuse to give shelter to refugees could be forced to pay into the coffers of states that do, under plans to be unveiled by the European commission on Wednesday.

      The idea is part of a long-awaited proposal to reform the EU’s asylum rules, which were stretched to breaking point by the arrival of more than one million refugees and migrants last year.

      A copy of the draft regulation confirms that the commission has watered down earlier ambitions to centralise European asylum policy by allocating refugees around the bloc according to a quota system determined by a country’s wealth and size.

      . . .countries that refuse to take in refugees would be required to pay EU states that are doing more. Although the sum has not yet been finalised, the draft law suggests “a solidarity contribution” of €250,000 (£198,000) per asylum applicant.

      . . . .Successive British governments have chosen to opt into EU asylum policy so they can send back asylum seekers to other countries. But Downing Street is likely to be concerned that a debate on the EU’s asylum rules could boost the Brexit campaign.”

      This is forced social engineering on a grand scale. As always, the EU seems not to take into account the fury of electorates who will turn to the far right in response, or to the risk of losing not just the UK, but Denmark, The Netherlands, and possibly even France, which has already made plain that it will not accept more migrants, and which has a stagnant economy.

      The EU could not possibly have given a more welcome early Christmas gift to the FN, the Sweden Democrats, the AfD, the Finn Party, Austria’s Freedom Party, and the BREXIT campaign.

      I am quite shocked that the EU Commission would release this before 23 June. Perhaps underneath it all they really WANT a BREXIT!

      I can only imagine what DeGaulle’s response to this proposal would have been.

      And can you imagine Dave trying to explain this after a REMAIN vote prevails?

  • Wiggi237

    I remember the time when DeGaul made those comments. He was of course right then and it is still the same now. While the deal may come around that we vote to stay in, what of our position then? Remember we are not ‘fully in’ as we have, according to Mr Cameron special agreements! What ever they are but we are not in the monetary position as the rest of the other members and we are not likely to become Euro users in the full sense or are we? If this was a football match and a small percentage of the team had different rules to the rest, just how do you think the rest of the team would play the game? That is how De Gaul saw the situation and he kept us out! You cannot expect to be accepted
    if you do not play the game and Cameron thinks he will get his own way. I do not think so and it will be in the end a big failure by many that will look at us as part timers and then the arguments swill start.

  • DellerboyNZ

    ‘the most diverse and often the most distant countries’
    The point is: Can Britain renew its connections to these diverse and distant countries – mine being one such?
    If Obama can make the recommendation to ‘stay’ as ‘a friend’, surely deG can be allowed to state ‘go’.
    deG followed through on his advice and said ‘non’. Obama on the other hand has just threatened his ‘nope’ with remarks about ‘back of the queue for you’.

    • William Evans

      Obama main reason for his visit to Europe was to seal the US trade deal ( TTIP), he said what he felt was necessary to achieve that, even if that was a lie. The fact is the European Union call well fall apart when we vote to leave and where would that leave his trade deal!? Like most politicians I don’t trust Obama to be honest or truthful, not when putting his countries ( in his eyes ) first, not the interest of the UK!

    • ObserverinMonmouth

      Well first we don’t need an FTA with the US neither do we need Obama’s approval. We are already a major trading partner and the single biggest foreign investor in the USA. Enough said.

  • William Evans

    We don’t belong, it’s never been more true than now. Lets all do the right and decent thing, be fully
    honest with ourselves and on the 23rd of June vote Leave!

    • ObserverinMonmouth

      Agreed spread the word. Vote Leave

  • Wiggi237

    Sorry Antony
    I was born just before the second WW2 so I see thing a little different.