Let Britain again be a champion of freedom in Europe

With the latest crisis with the EU in mind, Britain needs to assume its traditional role of being a friend to small countries, a champion of freedom and diversity, and an enemy of the centralising tendencies that have plagued Europe for centuries

Ponsonby's charge at Waterloo
Sir John Redwood MP
On 30 June 2014 10:47

UK foreign policy in recent decades has not been true to our history or our normal beliefs as a nation. Instead of standing up for the self determination of peoples in Europe, the UK has gone along with those who wish to centralise power and control under an EU government.

Instead of being the true friend and ally of the smaller countries and the outs, the UK has turned a blind eye – or has kept quiet in public – to a massive move towards Brussels control with one flag, one anthem, one court, one currency and one much else.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries England, then Britain, was a leading voice and power to allow people the right to choose their own religion. Britain backed the Dutch in their revolt against the Catholic hegemony, and supported the smaller German states who wished to be Protestant.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries Britain stood against French military conquest and domination of smaller counties in Europe, and fought wars to prevent French control. In the twentieth century twice the UK fought with allies to prevent German control of the continent.

The UK did so because we have a long tradition of freedom,believing peoples and countries have a right to govern themselves, choose their own laws and settle their own beliefs.

Today mercifully we are  not called upon to fight wars for these freedoms in western Europe. All the main countries accept these things should be settled by arguments and votes, not by bullets.

This does not mean we have to proceed by consensus or accept beliefs and laws we do not like or want. It should mean greater freedom and diversity for the peoples of Europe, safe in the knowledge that the large countries no longer wish to conquer and dominate by force of arms.

Post the Juncker vote I hope the UK can return to its historic role of being the voice and the votes for freedom – freedom for individual countries to govern themselves and choose their own laws if they wish. EU co-operation and common action should be neither coercive nor expected. If countries willingly want the same laws that is fine.

The EU scheme seems to have gone too far in creating too much central control, then intimidating or coercing by words and threats of legal and economic sanctions too many countries and governments into accepting what they do not really want.

The UK in this post military EU world needs once again to free Europe by its exertions.

Let small countries flourish. Let business thrive without so many laws. Let us celebrate diversity, rather than seek to impose a compromise driven conformity which could well end in fewer jobs, less prosperity and much more political frustration.

Mr. Redwood's writing is re-posted here by his kind permission. This and other articles are available at  johnredwoodsdiary.com

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