Treasonous Nick Clegg forgets how free Britain was before it was sold out to the E.U

Nick Clegg has forgotten his history: Britain was free and outward-looking before the EU

The Lib Dems want to be the party of the “in” vote, but it seems their “in” is to be bought at any price

By Telegraph View10:24PM GMT 09 Mar 2014CommentsComments

At the Liberal Democrat spring conference in York, Nick Clegg has sought to give his party a distinctive profile ahead of the European parliament elections in May. The Lib Dems, he said, are the champions of the “ins”. While the Conservatives show ambivalence towards Europe, Labour’s past enthusiasm seems more muted and Ukip are unequivocally for pulling out, Mr Clegg speaks up for those who want to stay. Or does he?

The deputy prime minister’s central point was that we cannot change the EU and its institutions “with one foot out of the door.” But when have the Lib Dems ever agitated to change the EU at all? They have been in favour of every federalist advance in Europe over the past 30 years. If they had had their way, by now we would be in the euro, our monetary policy would have been handed over to the federal bank in Frankfurt and our borders dismantled under the Schengen treaty.

Mr Clegg says it is important to remain in the club in order to influence its rules, though he has never shown any inclination to demand an annual general meeting where they might be redrawn. In his address yesterday, he implied that only the Lib Dems fully appreciated Britain’s rich history as an open, tolerant and outward looking nation; yet it is possible to retain those characteristics while seeking reform of the insular, bureaucratic and sclerotic institution that the EU has become.

Mr Clegg spoke passionately of this country’s commitment to freedom and human rights without acknowledging that such attributes were embraced long before we joined the EEC – and in spite of what was happening on the Continent, not because of it. Yes, the Lib Dems may well be the party of the “ins” – but it seems their “in” is to be bought at any price.

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