In my opinion: Fully democratic accountable government will help
I read, with some sadness, that Lord Ashdown has reverted to the rather infantile practice of naming those opposed to the EU Super State as 'little Englanders'. In this case he is referring only to those members of the Conservative Party and rather neglecting the fact that it is not just those of Conservative views that regard the EU as undemocratic, unworkable and detrimental to the interests of the United Kingdom. One may presume that, given the kicking that UKIP are currently giving the Liberal Democrats in national polls, local elections and by elections, Lord Ashdown has transferred his attention to the Conservatives as a convenient whipping boy. Be that as it may, Lord Ashdown must surely be aware that people of all political and indeed, apolitical, persuasions are deeply concerned regarding the long designed political union of the EU.
I speak as a former member of the Liberal Party who left when the 'Fabulous Four' crossed the floor to join what was once a great Party.
It is quite true to say that the Prime Minister is being quite naive if he believes that there will be any 're-negotiation' between the EU and the United Kingdom.
However, it is also true to say that other EU members are also beginning to question the very concept of the EU as it exists. The EU has changed radically from those halcyon days following two world wars when it was, quite sensibly, mooted that Germany and France should not be given any economic reasons to go to war again. A Customs Union, rather similar to that enjoyed by the Benelux countries seemed to be the answer. Regrettably, from this purely economic concept arose the idea of a European Super State, not unlike that of the old USSR, with a political elite who would not be democratically elected and would be immune to prosecution. That is what makes people very wary of the EU. The deliberate and furtive destruction of the Nation State and grotesque 'Social Engineering' practice is not the way to go about uniting the ordinary people of Europe.
Fully accountable, democratic government is.
For an elder Statesman like Lord Ashdown to make the statement that 'This country's interests have never lain outside' beggars belief.
Perhaps Lord Ashdown is suffering from 'Selective Memory Loss Syndrome'.
The wearing of rose coloured spectacles may not help either.
I would respectfully remind Lord Ashdown that this nation's rise to being the largest Empire that the world has ever known was based on Liberal attitudes to world trade, not on European Customs Unions.
We can and will continue to trade with our European neighbours.
We have the business acumen and experience to negotiate freely on a global basis and we can do so far more successfully from outside the EU and the nightmare of Brussels.