LETTER: More patriotic to want to stay

R P Gould (letters, January 25) may think I’m unpatriotic but he has no right to express it as fact and it is outrageously libellous of him to claim I admitted it, when I did not and do not.

It is no more unpatriotic for a Briton to want the UK to continue to enjoy the benefits of being a member state of the EU than it is for a New Yorker to want New York to continue to enjoy the benefits of being a member state of the USA.

I believe it is far more patriotic to want the UK to remain a member of one of the world’s most powerful trading blocs and guarantor of peace than to want to leave.

He then criticised me for saying the EU had prevented war in Europe, although I had not said that. I said it had prevented war within the EU, which is different and true. Peace was the main purpose of the ECSC, which became the EEC and then the EU and all three have been very successful in that. The purpose of NATO, which Mr Gould mentions, is to protect its members from external attack, which is different.

Mr Hughes-Narborough (also letters, January 25) is another, who either did not read my letter (January 18) carefully or chose to misinterpret it. As I made clear in that letter, there was no doubt that ever closer union was the goal of the EEC, as the EU was then, and that is what we voted for by about 2 to 1 in 1975. Robert Schuman, the founding father of the ECSC, had been saying that in speeches since 1948.

The EU is far from undemocratic. For example, its parliament is elected by proportional representation unlike ours and each member state has a veto on a wide range of matters.

To call the UK a ‘vassal state’ is emotive nonsense. If the UK was a vassal state, Germany, France, Spain and all the other EU member nations would also be vassal states.