After 13 years as an MEP, Daniel Hannan’s knowledge of the way Brussels works is second to none. Now he has written a forensic analysis of why it’s rotten to the core. Yesterday, in our exclusive serialisation, he examined how the euro has brought ruin to Europe. Today he argues that Britain must break with Brussels if its economy is to prosper again…
Every nation joins the European Union for its own reasons. The French saw an opportunity to enlarge their gloire, the Italians were sick of a corrupt and discredited political class.
The burghers of the Low Countries had had enough of being dragged into wars between their larger neighbours, and the former Communist states saw membership as an escape from Soviet domination.
One thing in common is that they all joined out of a sense of pessimism: that they couldn’t succeed alone.
Confident and prosperous nations, such as Norway and Switzerland, see no need to abandon their present liberties. Less happy nations seek accession out of, if not despair, a sense of national angst. Britain signed up in 1973 at what was our lowest moment as a modern nation. Ever since the end of World War II, we had been comprehensively outperformed by virtually every Western European economy.
Suffering from double-digit inflation, constant strikes, the three-day week, power cuts and prices-and-incomes policies, decline seemed irreversible.