A warped view / Record straight

Richard Laming
From the Surrey Hants Star

Anybody who is unclear about the purpose of the Constitution for Europe may care to reflect on a recent comment from Mr Richard Laming, Director of the Federal Union and a board member of the European Movement in the UK.

Mr Laming sees the EU Constitution as part of “the campaign to overcome national sovereignty”, which is “the modern-day equivalent of the campaign against slavery”.

Is it hard to understand how anybody can have such a warped view of the world that they believe “national sovereignty” to be morally equivalent to the evil of “slavery”.

And would it still be the case, I wonder, if the EU member states agreed to surrender their sovereignty to the EU, so the nationality in question then became “European”?

Muriel Parsons, Berkshire Chairman, Campaign for an Independent Britain, Stamford House, Calcot Park, Reading, Berks.
19 February 2005

YOU published, on February 16, a letter under the title “A warped view” that attributed to me opinions that I do not hold. I should be grateful for opportunity to set the record straight.

It is not possible to draw a moral equivalence from one century to another and I do not try. However, it is possible to learn lessons from history, from which it is clear that the preservation of national sovereignty should not be the over-riding goal of politics.

For example, if the British claim the absolute and inviolable right to run their own country as they wish, they must also accord the same right to others. That means that in the face of genocide in another country, far from intervening, we should actually stand aside and do nothing. This is the logical and inevitable consequence of saying that national borders are more important than human rights.

In the immediate aftermath of the second world war, under the shadow of the liberation of Auschwitz, Winston Churchill argued for “some sacrifice or merger of national sovereignty” and its replacement by “the gradual assumption by all the nations concerned of that larger sovereignty which can alone protect their diverse and distinctive customs and characteristics and their national traditions.”

The success of this policy in the last 50 years was celebrated on May 9, Europe Day.

Richard Laming
Director, Federal Union
20 May 2005

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