London’s former mayor Boris Johnson today compared the European Union to Adolf Hitler, saying the economic bloc’s attempts to create a European super-state was similar to that of the Nazi leader’s attempt which ended tragically.
The leading pro-Brexit voice for the “Vote Leave” camp made references to the Nazi leader as well as Napoleon as having failed at European unification.
“Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods,” Johnson told The Sunday Telegraph.
“But fundamentally what is lacking is the eternal problem, which is that there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe. There is no single authority that anybody respects or understands. That is causing this massive democratic void,” Johnson said.
He went on to detail the negative effects of the EU, as the Vote Leave campaign published research suggesting that the single market had failed Britain. Official EU statistics show that over the last decade, the value of British exports of goods to the EU has fallen by 18 per cent.
“The Italians, who used to be a great motor-manufacturing power, have been absolutely destroyed by the euro as was intended by the Germans. The euro has become a means by which superior German productivity is able to gain an absolutely unbeatable advantage over the whole eurozone.
“This is a chance for the British people to be the heroes of Europe and to act as a voice of moderation and common sense and to stop something getting in my view out of control,” Johnson said.
He was immediately attacked by the Remain voters, with former Labour minister Yvette Cooper accusing Johnson of having a “shameful lack of judgement” and a willingness to play “the most divisive, cynical politics”.
“He should not try to play political games with the darkest and most serious chapter of Europe’s history. The EU has played a critical role keeping peace in Europe ever since,” Cooper said.
With opinion polls suggesting the contest is close, leaders of all the main political parties are coming out strongly with both the Leave and Remain arguments.
British Prime Minister David Cameron warned yesterday that a vote to leave the EU in the referendum on June 23 would deliver an “immediate and sustained hit” to the economy that could tip Britain back into recession.
“If we vote to leave on June 23, we will be voting for higher prices, we will be voting for fewer jobs, we will be voting for lower growth, we will be voting potentially for a recession. That is the last thing our economy needs,” he said.