Geographically and culturally, even they concede we are part of this continent and share its destiny.
On the technical point, about trade geography, he’s confused. It used to be true that physical geography was important here. Now it simply isn’t. It’s whether you are on the container routes or not. Stuttgart and Shenzen are about the same “trade distance” apart from each others as Stuttgart and Sheffield these days. No, it’s not exactly true but for manufactured goods whether you’ve got to pay $100 a tonne or $150 a tonne to move them from producer to customer really isn’t an important number. That’s just noise.
The delight in this is of course that the first container ship set sail 6 months before the Treaty of Rome was signed. The very ideal, that close geographical neighboutrs should trade more with each other was made archaic before it was even put into practice.
On the other point, culture, he’s simply wrong. As you know I’ve bopped about the world a bit. Done business here and there. And we really do share more of our culture with other parts of the Anglosphere than we do with France or Italy. And certainly more so than Greece, Slovenia or Latvia. Sure,we have a certain shared history with some of the places. Others we’ve had almost no contact with over the millennia. But current culture, structure of economies, laws, ways of interacting, we’ve really much more in common with many outside the EU than we do with those inside it.
The basic premise from which Hutton starts just doesn’t really add up.