HUDDERSFIELD'S top industrialist has made a scathing attack on the European Union.
Lord Hanson, 81, chose the centenary lunch of Huddersfield Textile Society to condemn the "federalist baggage" that could severely damage British business.
And he condemned the British Government for failing to allow the people of the country to decide if they wanted to join the single currency or to accept even more EU regulations.
The man who spearheads a family business that can trace its transport roots back to the packhorse trails of 1848 - when Mary Hanson first used her horses to carry Huddersfield cloth - insisted: "We must retain our uniquely British independence."
Lord Hanson told the audience of textile leaders at the McAlpine Stadium that he was pro-Europe, indeed, pro the world, but said the political union of Europe would strip Britain of 1,000 years of history and heritage.
"We are the world's fourth largest economy because we stand on our own feet. I'm very confident about Britain's ability to remain ahead of the rest of Europe, while retaining a global involvement.
"The UK prospers outside the euro currency because our ability to set monetary and fiscal policy - and make our own laws - has produced excellent economic conditions and prospects.
"The facts are constantly swept under the carpet by Blair and company. The pro-euros, and I'm talking about the currency, just don't get it and don't want us to understand the truth.
"They pretend it's just a matter of economics. But the euro-zoners openly admit they seek to transfer power to the centre. To Brussels, God forbid."
Lord Hanson added, to the delight of his audience: "There are 56 words in the Lord's Prayer, 297 in the Ten Commandments and 1,300 words in the American Declaration of Independence. And from Brussels, there are 27,000 words in a directive on duck eggs.
"Entrepreneurs pray that government, any government, will stay away from our doors. Leave decisions to us, including the opportunity to decide our destiny, our taxes, our finances and our laws.
"Napoleon said we were a nation of shopkeepers. Well it seems to have worked - and whatever became of Napoleon?"
James Sugden, who left Huddersfield to head the leading Scottish textile firm Johnsons of Elgin, also voiced his concerns over Europe.
He also said the quality of workmanship, innovative design and the ability to adapt would stand Huddersfield textile firms in good stead for the future.
But he warned that anyone who insisted textiles was still a traditional industry was wrong.
The guests were welcomed by Textile Society president Gerald Stead.
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