There’s a wide gap between the debate leading up to the Euro-elections and the similarly confused public debate about Britain’s foreign policy and security priorities. For UKIP and some on the Conservative Right, France and Germany represent threats to British sovereignty, to which the only answer is withdrawal from the EU. Nigel Farage has offered Iceland and Switzerland as models for a future UK foreign policy, though – in contrast to Iceland’s total dependence on others for its external security – UKIP has also called for a sharp increase in UK defence spending. The unspoken assumption is that Britain can force through a hard negotiation with continental governments on the terms of future economic relations, while largely leaving undamaged our political and security relations with the other European members of NATO.
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