Anthony Tuffin (letters, February 1) is right to say that the main purpose of forming what has become the EU was to ensure peace within its (then) borders.
And peace there has been. But that wasn’t due mainly to it.
The real reasons were two.
First, after 1945 – unlike 1918 – the victorious Allies treated Germany generously.
The Germans responded, and friendship grew, not hate.
Second, and arguably larger, was the fear of a Russian attack.
Like any minor powers menaced by a huge one, we west Europeans knew we must ‘all hang together or we would all hang separately’.
The result was NATO. It was our need for that alliance, and its American leadership, not the (future) EU, that guaranteed peace among ourselves.
Mr Tuffin is again right in saying that ‘ever closer union’ was an EU goal from the start.
But not that ‘that’s what we voted for’ in the 1975 referendum. Few voters even knew of this aim.
We voted to stay inside because (a) we’d only just joined, (b) all main political parties urged us to, and (c) membership looked good for the economy.
I wonder how we’d have voted if anyone had foreseen the huge recent flood of EU immigrants; or realised that in future Britain’s parliament, government and courts could, and sometimes would, be overturned by EU institutions, based abroad and largely composed of (however admirable) foreigners.
Since the 1970s, the EU has demonstrated its misguidedness, mis-spending, inefficiency and at times corruption.
It’s not alone in that, but why pile (and pay for) a would-be superstate’s faults on top of our own?
Finally, if Mr Tuffin’s patriotism includes seeing EU bodies over-rule our own, even on some essentially British issues, so be it. That’s up to him.
But let’s not pretend that our place in the EU is parallel with New York’s in the United States: NY joined its future superstate from the start, and has been there two centuries longer.