From: Michael Swaby, Hainton Avenue, Grimsby.
In his most readable essay, Daniel Hannan canvasses alternatives to our membership of the EU, giving much weight to the Swiss example (Yorkshire Post, September 15).
Less impressively, he takes time to rebut some feeble arguments, which presumably he hopes readers will accept as being some sort of pro-European case.
In a masterly understatement, Mr Hannan admits that “we cannot but be interested in the affairs of our neighbours”.
Indeed we cannot, given the two catastrophic wars of the early 20th century, and given that half of our trade is with them.
We must remain in the EU not because “our exports to the Continent depend on our participation in the EU’s institutional structures”, or because “other member states might discriminate against our exports if we left”, or even because “we are too small to survive on our own”.
It is because the Continent is just at the other end of a railway tunnel and, as current events demonstrate, what happens there is of such critical importance to our continued wellbeing that our ability to exert strong political influence on a permanent basis is an absolute necessity.
As an example, I shall pose two questions to Mr Hannan. If a dictatorship and/or a Russian or Chinese satellite were to emerge, say in the Balkans, would this be favourable or detrimental to the British interest?
And, if in the meanwhile Britain had left the EU, would this make such an occurrence more likely, or less?
We are all in the same boat, and cannot afford to say that “there’s no problem chaps, it’s the other end of the Titanic that’s sinking”.