Phil Pedley is currently based in Spain where he is managing director of a marketing company, although will be returning to the UK shortly. He has been a Conservative Party activist for many years and is a former local councillor and parliamentary candidate.
Yes, I admit it, I was a big fan of the European Union. As National Chairman of the Young Conservatives and later as Chairman of the Tory Reform Group, I was a Euro-enthusiast. Not any more.
I don’t know when the doubts set in... certainly a few years back. I suspect it was whilst I was on holiday in the States in 2002. A strange place, you might think, to have second thoughts about a lifelong commitment to Europe, but perhaps not.
We were staying with relatives of my wife’s in leafy Pennsylvania. One humid evening, sat out on the veranda with my host, Mike, the conversation turned to politics. Whilst our kids chased the fireflies on the lawn, Mike explained his fears of big government, his disillusionment at the centralising, authoritarian thrust of the new Bush Administration. Having been a supporter of Reagan’s attack on federal big government, he had flirted briefly with the Libertarian Party and the American Conservative Party.