Published in Financial Times, September 29, 2014
Sir, I am increasingly becoming somewhat confused by a series of opinion pieces written from Niall Ferguson, apparently former Thatcherite, now suddenly the great pro-EU centrist. Again in the FT, Niall Ferguson has likened Nigel Farage and UKip to “populists” and neo-Nazi parties like Golden Dawn. Mr Ferguson said last year in a debate that the EU has had nothing to do with peace in Europe and “Europe has to be judged in its own terms, and its own terms have always been economic. How did it do? In the 1950’s it grew at 4 per cent, in the 1960’s it was about the same. In the 1970’s 2.8 per cent, in the 1980’s 2.1 per cent, in the 1990’s 1.7 per cent and so on down to 0. As integration has proceeded European growth has declined. The share of Europe in global GDP has fallen since 1980 from 31 per cent to just 19 per cent….” Now, a bit bizarrely, in “Scotland’s No echoes Europe’s Yes to grand coalitions” (comment September 22nd) Mr Ferguson lauds the grand and largely unelected coalitions that encompass the Byzantine institutions of the EU. Ukip wants to leave the EU because they believe in freer markets and self rule; two things Mr Ferguson’s hero Mrs Thatcher would agree with; I have no doubt that if Mrs Thatcher were alive today, she would probably be a member of UKip. After reading Mr Ferguson’s last opinion pieces on populism and UKip I can hear Mrs Thatcher screaming, “No, no, no,” from her grave.
New York, NY