Leaving the EU would not change anything

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I was not at all surprised to read yet another Europhobic rant from Matthew Hobson in The Star on Friday, November 13.

This was published on the same day that Paris was rocked by a series of horrific co-ordinated terrorist attacks.

Despite the public outpourings of sympathy on this side of the Channel, how on earth can we claim to show solidarity with our closest neighbour, and stand shoulder to shoulder with the French people, if we are threatening to pull up the drawbridge, so to speak, and isolate ourselves behind the White Cliffs of Dover?

Terrorism is an international problem. The terrorists are targeting Europe in general, not just France.

What happened in Paris could easily have happened in London, or anywhere else.

The Belgium connection to the latest atrocity demonstrates that criminals do not recognise national borders, and therefore it is not a domestic problem, but a pan-European one requiring a co-ordinated solution.

Yes there is an open borders policy within the Schengaen area, and this now appears to be under review in some countries.

But Britain leaving the EU would change nothing, as far as arrivals in the UK are concerned.

We already have passport and security checks at our borders, and there’s no plan to remove them.

Short of creating a “Fortress Britain” with no international travel at all, the only difference is likely to be the ending of the “common travel area” within the British Isles, which encompasses the Republic of Ireland. There would have to be a “hard” Irish border.

Mr Hobson recites the standard mantra about whatever percentage of our laws are supposedly “foreign made”. Well they’re not “foreign”, they’re international, with the UK having MEPs (elected by proportional representation), a European Commissioner, and a seat on the Council of Ministers, just like all the other member states. If there is to be a single market within the EU, then there has to be a common set of rules for trading by which it operates. Internal domestic issues should be decided by national parliaments, and that applies to the majority of laws in this country.

For instance, earlier this year the EU resolved to abolish roaming charges for mobile phone users across the continent, thereby saving money for consumers. This is not something that could have been achieved by the Westminster Parliament, or any other national government on its own.

Mr Hobson chose to mention the fact that the speed limits on the Eurostar Line from Paris to London do not change from kilometres to miles per hour on this side of the Channel tunnel. What scandal and outrage! How about the fact that each train probably has the same driver for the entire journey between the two cities, so it makes sense to have uniform measurement along its entire length?

Or should passengers be put in danger in the name of “patriotism”?

I hope that Eurostar speed limits is not the most pressing issue which keeps Mr Hobson or any other anti-Europeans awake at night.

NP Johnson

Sheffield