24 FEBRUARY 2001, Page 30

From Mr John Stott Sir: So Mr Sikorski feels that

British Euroscepticism is 'intellectually inconsistent and politically immature'. He makes two points: first, that we applied to join (a common market, not the EU), were eventually accepted, and endorsed the decision in a referendum; and successive governments have surrendered more and more of our freedoms to Brussels. We are stuck with membership and should lie back and enjoy it.

His second point is that the EU is an institution which 'might mediate [intraEuropean] conflict without recourse to violence . . . we prefer the invasions of investors to the invasions of panzers'.

Mr Sikorski's first point is easily disposed of. The power of Brussels has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished. We are tired, some of us, of the intrusive meddling by a corrupt, incompetent bureaucracy. Enough is enough.

His second point is likewise without substance. Does he really think the panzers are waiting to pounce, held back only by Germany's membership of the EU? Germany's propensity to bully its neighbours was ended by the Allied bombers and the Russian army. A generous peace made it quite certain that it would not return.

Mr Sikorski wants the EU to be 'not only more or less efficient, but democratic as well. . . We want to make the EU work better.' He wants to 'forge alliances [with us] over things like the Common Agricultural Policy and a constitution of liberty'.

Sancta simplicitas. Mr Sikorski's naivety is breathtaking. We do not need to peer into the crystal ball. We have read the book. It's by Kafka.

J.C. Stou