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6:20pm on Saturday, 10th December, 2011:
I remember when the Maastricht Treaty was signed back in 1992, I discussed what it meant with my wife.
The questions politicians should therefore have been asking back in 1992 (and to be fair, some did ask it) is: do we want our country to become a province of a larger country with an eventual loss of national identity?
The answer, of course, is: it depends. If the larger country is going to be at least as good as and probably better than this one will be by then, yes. Otherwise, no.
So what's the prognosis with regards to the EU? It may be heading towards a prudent German finance model right now, but come political union there's no guarantee that the Germans will remain in charge. If the Eurovision Song Contest is anything to go by, we'll be led by some culturally-defined voting bloc — Nordic or Balkan or Eastern European or anti-German or whatever. Screeches of outrage should the United States of Europe government decide to pass laws that damage German industry so as to increase competitiveness in Southern European would go unheeded. Yes, of course Germany would have a say in how the USE government conducted its affairs, but only as a province, not as a country.
Personally, I don't think the time is right for the European Project to get to stage 4). The constituent countries need more cultural integration first; right now, the populace doesn't want it, and will seethe with resentment when it's nevertheless imposed. Maybe if the politicians left it a hundred years and then tried...
For this reason, I'm actually quite glad that David Cameron wielded his veto yesterday and got off the train to the United States of Europe. I like what the brochure says the final destination will look like, but I don't believe it actually will look like that — not for a considerable time, anyway.
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