Britain, please leave!
By ADRIAN TAHOURDIN
Still undecided with less than three weeks to go before the referendum? This might help. They – the Europeans – want us to leave! They’ve had enough of us. And, frankly, who can blame them?
That – at least – is the point of view of the French daily Libération’s Jean Quatremer: although he says at the outset that it’s not really in our interest to leave, if we stay in we will make life sour for them like never before, and the ailing project, buffeted by nationalist winds from the East, will be done for: "David Cameron will be the only European leader to have won a referendum on Europe and will therefore have a central role in the Community game. He and his successors will then negotiate concession after concession and thereby bury entirely the federalist dream of the European fathers and complete the Old Continent's transformation into an ever slacker free-exchange zone". Therefore, for the sake of the EU, we are politely being asked to clear off.
Quatremer suggests that our sacrifice for the sake of the European common good would have an element of greatness even if, as he concedes, it could well lead to the break-up of the UK. He reminds us – and this should warm the hearts of all Brexiteers – that it would be the fourth time that Britain has come to the aid of divided European tribes, after the fight against the French empire (the unnamed Napoleon) and two German Reichs, with huge sacrifices.
He ends, resoundingly: “Come on, British friends, a bit of courage! Allow yourselves to be convinced by the brilliant leaders Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson who, deep down, have only Europeans’ interests at heart".
And in twenty years’ time, he promises, they will let us back in. What could be better I say!
For a different perspective see this week’s TLS symposium, and the heartfelt plea on this week’s Letters page for us to remain.