I refer you to a letter in today’s Daily Telegraph (3rd December) signed by 95 Liberal Democrats which contrasts current Conservative rhetoric on Europe with Margaret Thatcher’s hardheaded but open-eyed view of Europe:
In her Bruges speech in 1988, Margaret Thatcher said: “Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community. Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community.”
What happened to that Conservative destiny? The dual menace of the Tory headbangers and the rise of UKIP.
There is nothing patriotic about bashing immigration from Europe. It is opportunistic, weak and fundamentally un-British. Migrants from the EU claim less in benefits than people born in this country. They are a massive net positive to the British economy. The Tories are scared to admit this. They have lost all sense of political courage – and that is why people have lost confidence in them.
It has come to something when Margaret Thatcher can be regarded as more pro EU than the current Tory party.
In trying to face up to UKIP the Conservative Party has lost its way on Europe.
I am not a fan of Margaret Thatcher in general - but she did have a mature, robust view of the EU and why it was good for Britain to be a member.
That is why I signed this letter.
King Street, Market Rasen