TRY this for size: “No serious friend of British business would advocate the breaking-up of British relations with the European Union. It is simply self-indulgent and reckless for parties and individuals to risk so much in order to address a concern raised in council elections by just 7 per cent of the electorate.” The words are those of the British government minister closest to business -- Vince Cable, Business Secretary, probably the most respected of all LibDem ministers. Yesterday his words were underlined in a letter to the Independent newspaper from nineteen leaders of British companies, including the present and next President of the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and ranging from BT to Shell and from Eurostar to the Virgin Group. Their joint call was for the need “to put economics before politics” in considering Britain's future relations with Europe in the belief that “the benefits of membership overwhelmingly outweigh the costs”. They provided figures to support their view. It is encouraging to see business leaders standing up to be counted in this way and more of them must be persuaded to do it in coming months. When all else is said and done about Britain and the EU the net benefit that membership brings to British industry and services and to jobs for its workers must always be kept in the front line of the debate.