My own antipathy to the European Union is, I think, reasonably well known. But I do acknowledge that there are people who like the institution, the ideas and ideals behind it and that at least some of those people are also being both realistic and also expressing their real views. But I can't help but feel that Will Hutton might be able to manage a better defence than this:
Yet Europe’s peoples are shaped by its Christian past, however secular we have now become, and by the Enlightenment, with its commitment to rationality, rule of law and democracy. Industrialisation and urbanisation in Europe forged a powerful commitment to social solidarity. Common underlying values bind us.
Rationality? When monetary policy in the eurozone is resolutely following exactly the mistakes of the Federal Reserve in plunging the US into the Great Depression? As everyone from Milton Friedman though Ben Bernanke to Scott Sumner, with our own Eddie George and Mark Carney in the middle, has been telling us? Rationality when even the creation of the euro was pointed out to be a non-optimal currency area before it was even formed?
Rule of law when the Commission insists that the UK must include prostitution in the measurement of GDP and then charges the country £1.7 billion for having done so? Or the way that the agreed upon rules and laws concerning referenda rather suddenly got changed when people voted the "wrong way" as several countries have done?
And as for democracy I do hope that someone, somewhere, can point to the elections that we've just had for that new European Commission.
There might even be valid defences for the EU but a supporter and protector of rationality, the rule of law and democracy doesn't really seem to fit. Many of us might be rather more favourably disposed to it if it were.