By attempting the abolition of the nation state, the EU's founders chose the wrong response to war and tyranny, but that does not mean that the problem the Continent was confronted with after 1945 was somehow imaginary. The arguments between nation states, over boundaries, imperial ambitions and ideology were real. They led to two world wars which resulted in the deaths of some 50 million Europeans, not to mention the break-up of Yugoslavia less than 20 years ago which cost the lives of hundreds of thousands in the Balkans.
Reviewing Hannan's book, Charles Moore wrote: "Those of us who believe that the EU is misconceived at root must recognise that, without the EU, Europe will need some new international (not supranational) institutions to order its affairs and defend the weak."
There is a paradox. This should be a golden age in which to be a Eurosceptic, with events in the eurozone substantiating the sceptical case. But having waited so long for the moment of righteous vindication, the danger is that Eurosceptics are putting too little thought into what comes next. The assumption of the ultras — that getting a referendum, then relying on the "good sense of the British people" while preparing to revel in the return of sovereignty, as the Elgar soundtrack swells in the background, will be enough — seems dangerously naive.
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