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Friday, March 16, 2007

ConHom has a story about another Eurosceptic pressure group, this one to be called Global Vision (yawn). Plenty of criticism has been made in that posting, asking whether we don’t already have enough such outfits, which we certainly do a plenty. Problem is they keep missing the bigger picture, namely what our EU membership is really about.
Why are we in the EU? It’s not to stabilise our democracy, it’s not to improve our governance, it’s not for economic gain. Essentially it’s the same reason we have the special relationship to the US for. Our establishment sees itself as world power leader. After 1945 it was apparent that we didn’t have the strength and money to do this entirely on our own feet, hence the special relationship which could lower military technology costs and give us extra diplomatic clout by having a privileged access to the White House. Suez proved though that we couldn’t rely on the US enough. Hence the drive to get into European integration. And that’s really what it’s about, our place in the world.
So what we really need is a serious think-tank that can push debate and advocacy on this point. I pointed out in the past that the Conservatives desperately need this to be more effective as a party too. But above all it matters greatly to the future of our nation. Saying the EU is often inefficient et al is all nice and well, but that simply doesn’t cut it. Perhaps those inefficiencies are a price worth paying for the global position that EU-membership gives us. Perhaps it isn’t. Either way, any alternative strategies need to be embedded in an all-round foreign policy agenda which the right simply doesn’t have. There was an attempt some time ago that failed, the New Frontiers Foundation. That it failed tells us sadly how disoriented the British right is on these matters. Only when we can seriously match liberalish outfits like the Foreign Policy Centre or the Centre for European Reform do we stand a chance of intellectual and electoral renewal.
We owe that to our country and its future.

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