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Dangerous ideas with a referendum in prospect

28 August 2015


From the Revd Peter Haynes

Sir, —“Conceived in sin . . .”, “deceit the vehicle . . .”, “lying to the British people . . .” — Michael King’s understanding of the European Union and its origins (Letters, 14 August) is a cause for alarm. What calamity is a referendum on our membership going to bring if it is based on such a distortion of post-war history?

The words attributed to Jean Monnet alleging stealth are put in quotation marks. Where do they come from? What about Robert Schuman’s New Idea of 9 May 1950 in the French parliament: “My government proposes to place the whole of its resources of iron and steel in France and Germany under a Common High Authority”?

Is co-operation between nations to rebuild and extend infrastructure by using limited stocks of raw materials for profitable and peaceful purposes not a better way than another arms race? This is not a loss of British sovereignty. It is its proper use.

Sir Edward Heath did not lie when he signed up to the Treaty on 22 January 1972. Under Harold Wilson in 1975, the leadership of far-sighted politicians was recognised by the British people in a referendum. The Paris Conference this December and the current chaos of refugees and migrant people surging over our national borders shows what vast and vital issues still remain to be tackled internationally.

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