Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Kirsty Hughes, writing in the International Herald Tribune, on the 8th February, predicted that a 'No' vote on the Constitution would be a catastrophe for Britain. Without merging our foreign policy with the European Union and pooling our sovereignty, Britain would lose influence and power. That is right: If Britain doesn't agree to abide by policies that could override its interests through qualified majority voting, then the country will lose its ability to defend those interests. Something doesn't sit right here.

In this article, Hughes states that the European Union will view Britain as an obstacle if it is the only country that does not ratify the Constitution. There will be a foreign policy crisis although the exit of Britain is mooted although it is only one of a number of possibilities. Hughes is preparing the ground for the push that Europhiles will strive for during the referendum campaign of entry versus exit.

Still, her conclusion is unwarranted and without evidence, based on the questionable assumption that Britain derives all of its power from membership of the European Union.

This will mark the start of a slow but profoundly important process that could, by the end of 2006, see Britain close to leaving the EU. This would be an extraordinary turning point in British foreign policy and a major weakening of its international influence. ...

In an extraordinary historical shift, Britain would retreat to the global sidelines, confused, nationalistic and rather powerless. This is the challenge for the "yes" side. It needs to be taken up immediately: The consequences of continued passivity are immense.

One could make the case for membership of the European Union diluting British influence. It is just as plausible a story.


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