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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

EU Debate

Daniel Hannan speaks first; he says it all. He is an unparalleled orator. I mean that absolutely literally – who else in the English speaking world understands and uses rhetoric as well? When we joined the Common Market, which has (without a shred of democratic agreement) morphed into the EEC then into the EC and then into the EU, we were in a bad way, three-day week, double digit inflation, strikes, prices-and-income policies. ‘Europe’ seemed to be doing better. But, as Hannan notes, we could not have done so at a worse time. We cut our links to the Commonwealth, with which we have so much in common. The Commonwealth has grown and prospered. He cites Norway and Switzerland, both members of the European Free Trade Association (enjoying the benefits of free trade with the EU) but free from the political and bureaucratic ties of EU membership. They have all the benefits and none of the drawbacks.

Katinka Barysch (very pretty girl) starts by telling us that being in the EU gives us access to a market of half a billion people. She neglects to mention that being in the EU specifically forbids us from making a bilateral agreement with China (over one billion people and growing) or with India (over one billion people and growing), not to mention multiple other nation states.

Nigel Farage gives a welcome history lesson on how the issue has been presented to the British electorate.

Leon Brittan asks why our ‘partners’ would agree to continue to trade freely with us if we left the EU. The question answers itself. They want to continue to sell French wine and German cars to us. He admits that Harold Macmillan had conceded that the Common Market was about much more than trade. When Nigel reminded the audience that argument had been presented as being only about trade, Brittan said, ‘Not true’. Edward Heath lied and Leon Brittan is lying.
The final vote gave me hope. The swing was massively towards the motion, with the gain coming largely from the ‘don’t knows’.

The first link above is to a debate which features Nick Clegg.

As to the second debate featured here, I venture to say that the historical and factual positions put forward by Hannan and Farage were not answered by their opponents and, I think, cannot be.

What I want to claim for myself is what everyone wants to claim: that my opinions are based upon facts and logic. Rhetoric depends upon the orator’s use of both. For the Greeks, Rhetoric, was one of subjects of a proper education. Would that we gave the same respect that they did. I think that academicians in ancient Athens would have dismissed Katinka’s arguments as emotional wishful thinking and Leon Brittan’s as dyspeptic and counterfactual.

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