It is time to put Europe on hold

Article by Sir Samuel Brittan in the Financial Times

The 43 per cent of the European Union electorate who bothered to vote for the European parliament clearly did so on national issues. We still need to reflect on the EU itself.

The view of the European political and official establishment is that the effort of “deepening” the EU must continue and that priority should be given to ratifying the so-called Lisbon treaty before a British Conservative government can put a spanner in the works. We even have the curious spectacle of Labour and Social Democrat politicians pleading with the British Tories to stay aligned with continental Christian Democrats to maintain a more effective centre-right bloc. There is also the refusal to recognise that parties such as the UK Independence party serve a useful function in siphoning off a mixed bag of populist discontent, which might otherwise have given more seats to the British National party.

I certainly do not wish to denigrate the EU’s positive ach