European Union a forum for peaceful resolution

Share this article

Councillor Howson has defected from the Tories to UKIP, and apparently wants the UK to withdraw from the European Union.

If he considers himself a patriot, he should think carefully about the following.

A century ago, European peace was held together by a fragile hotch-potch of partially secret one-to-one alliances.

All it took to bring the whole construct tumbling down was two pistol shots in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. With them, Gavrilo Princip (one of six assassins sent by Serbian military intelligence) took the lives of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, and consequently ten million more Europeans by 1918, including nearly a million British and Commonwealth troops.

Attempts to build international institutions like the League of Nations failed, and 21 years later Hitler resumed the war, resulting in at least 50 million more deaths world wide, this time mostly civilians.

Fortunately, in 1945, people like Churchill had the vision to establish successful international institutions like the United Nations and the European Coal and Steel Community, which eventually became the European Union. At a grass roots level, town twinning created opportunities for ordinary people to meet and befriend people from other nations.

Of course, the European Union has its faults, which need fixing. But the primary purpose of any political institution is to provide peaceful ways of resolving disputes. No EU nation has fought any other EU nation since 1945.

If Councillor Howson and his UKIP colleagues wish to call themselves patriots, then they need to explain how they propose to keep Europe, and therefore Britain, safe without the international institutions that have allowed us to resolve our differences peacefully since 1945.

Councillor Ian Eiloart

Liberal Democrat member of Lewes District Council