Dr Fox writing in the Sunday on Sunday on Sunday 17th January
A MOMENTOUS year lies ahead for British politics – and the coming EU referendum will define our country’s future.
It is clear our EU partners will not contemplate fundamental change in how they operate, so one thing is certain — when the referendum comes the status quo will not be on the ballot.
We will have to choose between being submerged in ever closer union or being set free to determine our own destiny.
I agree with the many men and women across this country who simply believe that too many of our laws are crafted overseas and imposed upon us without our consent.
They see many of the freedoms that were fought so hard for traded away.
They are angry that we cannot control who can and cannot come into the UK.
Europe is a continent with a phenomenally rich history and culture, peopled by individual nations with their own individual traditions.
The EU, on the other hand, is an artificial political construct which has existed for only a few decades.
To be sceptical about the EU is not in any way to be anti-European.
I deeply resent those who make that inference.
What I would like to see is a European political system where we work together when it is in our mutual interest to do so, but are free to act separately when our unique national interests require it.
Unfortunately, such a loose model, more like the Common Market that we entered in the Seventies, will not be on offer at the coming referendum.
Already the pro-EU political establishment is beginning its scare stories and trying to make us believe that we cannot stand on our own two feet if we are outside the European Union.
Has it forgotten that the EU is not the only relationship Britain has abroad?
Before the Common Market even existed, Britain was at the heart of a vast Commonwealth.
Today many of its members — such as Canada, India and Australia — have done very much better than many of our EU partners.
They enjoy both greater economic growth and increasing global influence at a time when Europe is suffering economically and declining in power.
The UK is also a permanent member of the Security Council, a key partner in Nato (not least because of our independent nuclear deterrent), a member of the G7 and G20 and has a special relationship with the US — something many of our European partners greatly envy.
The alliance of pro-European politicians, large international corporations and hordes of unelected bureaucrats tell us that we cannot be “isolated” or “go it alone” outside the EU.
We would no more be going it alone than Australia or Canada or Norway or Switzerland.
Why do we have so little ambition for our country in the exciting new global environment in which we live?
Why would they have us restricted to being “little Europeans”?
Let’s be clear, they are committed to the concept of an increasingly integrated EU state.
Make no mistake, “ever closer union” means exactly what it says.
We have just had proposals to establish a single European border force which can be deployed by the unelected commission in Brussels, even against the wishes of independent sovereign governments.
There can be no clearer warning sign of the longer-term intent, whatever the denials.
What I really cannot understand is why the pro-European establishment increasingly wants Britain’s laws to be made overseas rather than in our own country.
Why would it prefer to have them made by foreign judges rather than our elected Parliament?
Why, for example, does it want control over Britain’s borders to be determined somewhere other than Britain?
A country that cannot control its own borders cannot be truly independent.
The disgusting events in Cologne and other cities were a shock to Germany.
More than half the suspects are asylum seekers.
And while they in no way represent the vast majority who have come to Europe, we in Britain need to understand that when the million-plus migrants gain citizenship of any EU country they will all have a right to come to the UK.
And there’s nothing we can do about it if we remain in.
For all the 23 years that I have been in Parliament, I have been told that the EU is coming in our direction.
That is simply not true.
The choice at the referendum will be to continue down the road of ever closer union towards a more centralised European state, or to have the freedom to make our own laws and determine our own destiny as those in so many other countries outside the EU are able to do.
No doubt we will again be told that the rest of the EU is listening to us and “taking on board” British reservations.
Again, it will be untrue.
What is very clear is that widespread reform of the European Union is not going to be on offer — the continuing crisis of the euro and the shambles of open borders are taking up all the attention of EU leaders.
It is time to face up to the real choice — to have the destiny of our country determined by committees in Brussels, or to give our children and grandchildren the freedom to shape their own future in an open, outward-looking world full of opportunity and potential.
The New Year could not bring a more important challenge.