21 January 2009

Britain in Europe

Whether to join or not to join the Euro consists of two parallel debates. One is the calculated economic merits of doing so; the other is the political and psychological implications of membership. Jeremy’s article is on the latter.

If the British have lost an empire and failed to find a role, the only place where that role could be found is as one country among equals in the European continent. If that is to be, the British must want it for themselves. There are three test issues.

First is seeing the Euro, not as an external threat, but as a potential means of participating in the joint economic strength of a continent. Second, is a willingness to identify with a Europe in which Britain can be an equal, rather than with the US where Britain is condemned to satellite status. The third is to see open borders with Schengen Europe, not as rot pouring in uncontrolled, but as an open bridge inside free European space.

Practicalities may prevent or delay any or all of these measures, but the will has to precede the means.

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