Owen and the anti-Europeans

Poor Peter Kellner ("My non-part in David Owen's plot", 8 January)! His account of how he was almost seduced into joining the campaign against the euro is heart-rending.

But if he seriously expects us to believe he didn't suspect sooner that this was an anti-European rather than an anti-euro movement, he needs to put a better case for the defence. As a Euro-candidate in 1984 I shared a platform with David Owen at a Lib-SDP press conference when he pronounced himself opposed to a directly elected European Parliament. This disabused me of any claim by Owen to be pro-European.

Kellner was surely given other clues; for example, the inclusion in the list of Ruth Lea of the Institute of Directors. She entertained Radio 4 listeners with some extraordinarily virulent anti-European views, which included terms like "Mickey Mouse" and "tinpot", to mark the euro's launch.

Hugo Young in the Guardian has identified the dishonesty of those who protest they are not anti-European while deploying paranoid language and imagery (like Owen's about Britain becoming "a mere province"). I suppose it is a tribute to the European cause that it is not fashionable for such people to claim to be anti-European!

Baroness (Sarah) Ludford
Leader of London LibDem Euro-team

This article first appeared in the 15 January 1999 issue of the New Statesman, A slight and delicate minister?