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Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Europhile pride comes before a fall

When a leftie politician - and it nearly always is a leftie politician - explains that a "real public debate" is essential to "raise awareness" on a certain issue, it's a pretty safe bet that what he really means is that most people disagree with him, and thus a widespread propaganda campaign is necessary to educate those poor unenlightened souls. The old socialist tendency to lionise the average worker and romanticise working class life was always out of proportion, but how well it contrasts with the modern liberal's contempt for ordinary people, whose prejudices and small-c conservatism can inspire in them the most ferocious snobbery.

Hence Mr Blair's assertion that the truth will out on the European Constitution, and that the "tabloid myths" that fool us into believing Britain should be a self-governing country will be refuted.

The perennial arrogance of the liberal elite may be annoying, but it certainly isn't to their advantage. I welcome the presence in the leftist camp of so many snarling inadequates who argue that only ignorance and primitive xenophobia could lead Britons to oppose a federal Europe, just as I like seeing legitimate concerns about immigration and the family dismissed by them as racism, 'Islamophobia' and 'homophobia'. Such rhetoric and such closed-mindedness does not win any converts, and only shows fair-minded people that many liberals cannot even summon rational arguments in their defence.

On Europe, this is perhaps truest of all. Name-calling, psychoanalysis and accusations of ignorance and myth-making are the centrepiece of the europhile case because the rational arguments for a European superstate simply cannot be voiced in a way that would win the support of a majority of Britons. Whether economic, constitutional, patriotic, historical or political, the case is on our side. As David Smith noted in this week's Sunday Times, Euroscepticism is now the "intelligent option", the perspective most congruent with an informed assessment of the state of post-Thatcherite Britain and Europe. Charmingly, this is true even for those increasing numbers who plan to retire to the continent: it's because people sense that Europe is not going to be a thriving centre of work and industry that many retire there to appreciate the peace and quiet. Britons retire to Europe because of its economic slumber, not because they fail to recognise that setting up a business or attempting to earn a living in France is a bad idea.

Let the europhiles campaign on the basis that it's only ignorance that makes people disagree with them. Let them sneer at the patriotism of the voters, let them chastise the 'bigotry' of those who don't want three million Roma gypsies to be granted immediate access to our shores, let them have a fun campaign letting out all that impotent anger and rage at a people who remain quietly determined to preserve British democracy. It won't work because none of it is true. People oppose the EU Constitution, and the Euro, and the current state of the European Union, because they understand their workings and their architects' motivations all too well.

UPDATE: The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh destroys some of the leading Euromyths.

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