Sir, Last Friday it was my 76th birthday, so I thought I would indulge in a distressing recollection of the past. Reading the papers that were printed on March 11 1940, the day that I was born, I see that the country was working with full employment, factories to capacity, profits exceeding the 1939 average, and dividends being paid.

Now you may think all this sounds very nice and everything in the garden was rosy. However, let’s get under the skin of why the companies were doing so well and employment figures were so good and you will find that hundreds of thousands of people were fully employed conjuring up the best methods to eliminate each other. The efficiency of this human endeavour led ultimately to the atomic bomb and later to the hydrogen bomb as the ultimate killing machine.

Five and a half years later when the second world war came to an end, some 60m people lay dead, due both to direct combat and to war-related disease and famine. If only we could have tried to work together and understand each other. Maybe, just maybe we could have avoided all that unnecessary carnage and suffering.

Today the EU is the best model we have devised to try to understand each other through dialogue. By working together and having a common interest, I am sure this makes our world a much safer place, and I commend all the countries that have joined in this project, not just for their own benefit, but for the benefit of everyone. I think many people do not appreciate how lucky they are to be in such an organisation, but believe me, while it is not perfect, it is 60m times better than the second world war.

Paul Lodge

Wimborne, Dorset, UK

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