Tuesday, 1 January 2013

40 Years Ago Today

That such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a European super-state was ever embarked on will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era. And that Britain . . . should ever have become part of it will appear a political error of the first magnitude.’ Lady Thatcher
Sadly among the New Year celebrations, we must note that today is 40th anniversary of one of the biggest mistakes this country has ever made in its history - entry to what was then the EEC (euphemistically called a Common Market).

The EEC was nothing but a staging post onto the final goal of full political and economic union. Britain was joining a project that was designed to eradicate democracy and sovereignty. Despite Heath's assertions that, “there is no question of Britain losing essential national sovereignty”, the politicians at the time, particularly Heath, were well aware this was not true and kept the true nature of the project hidden from the British public. And so began the underlying characteristic of our membership - monumental deceit; lied to on entry, lied to during membership and lied to about the nature of exit.

Inevitably a number of articles have appeared today, but it's Christopher Booker's in today's Daily Mail that lays out fully the nature of our 40 year membership.

Thankfully though there seems to be light ahead, as there now appears a significant shift in the mood music if not momentum. For the first time politicians, including Cameron, are openingly discussing exit as an option, and not just in the UK either. These comments by Jacques Delors indicate that a UK exit is also being considered by those in Brussels:
"If the British cannot support the trend towards more integration in Europe, we can nevertheless remain friends, but on a different basis, I could imagine a form such as a European economic area or a free trade agreement," Delors suggested.
20 years ago when I started out actively campaigning against our membership not once did I imagine that Delors would ever utter words such as those. It's a sign of how far we've come and how the sentiment is shifting. For the first time in 40 years, our withdrawal looks to be a realistic prospect.

Such a situation though was always inevitable. Not only because the UK is such a reluctant member as Booker notes: 
During those 40 years the British have never been happy members of this club. Too often we have been out of step, and even bitterly at odds, with the rest — as in our refusal to join that single currency.
More importantly though the nature of the EU project makes such a clash unavoidable. With idealism that firmly resides in make-believe territory, Monnet's EU vision was by removing the nation state and democracy and instead leaving power in the hands of bureaucrats he could create "an organised world of tomorrow". But the nation state and democracy are so fundamental to human needs that such an artificial system that tried to defy the laws of human nature would be unworkable. I didn't choose to be English, I just am. And nothing will alter that fact, certainly not a system or a government foisted upon me against my will.

Monnet knew this, and subconsciously acknowledged this fundamental flaw in his plan, by determining that his project should be implemented by stealth, gradually constructing it without ever acknowledging the ultimate goal. He hoped, as did British politicians in the early 70s, that by the time the project revealed itself it would be too late to change anything. That situation of the project revealing itself is now coming to pass.

And it is not without some irony, that the EU who abhors the nation state, adopts many of the characteristics itself; it has a flag, a national anthem, and a capital city. Rather than try to abolish the nation state, it in effect is trying to force through a change of allegiances, from one flag to another. How anyone thought this could work successfully beggars belief. But think it would work Heath, Monnet et al did. That we embarked on such a folly of the first magnitude is testament that ending 40 years of membership won't bring back our democracy on its own, instead 40 years is a reminder that we never had it in the first place.

But above all else, exiting the EU does mean I, like many of my fellow countrymen, will no longer live and die as an EU citizen. I truly hope I live to see the day we leave.

Happy New Year.


  1. My impression was that British politicians couldn't cope with the loss of empire and they believe they were going to be able to lead the EU. We still suffer from this with vainglorious and pointless wars and gestures such as becoming an aid superpower.

    Also by the late 60s and early 70s the UK looked to be in serious financial trouble and there was a lack of faith in Britain. There was an idea that the economy would improve as members of the EC/EEC by some process of osmosis.

  2. @Highland Cooncil I don't know, I'm not 40 yet ;-)

    @cosmic, Yep agreed. There was indeed a crisis of confidence within Britain particularly with the loss of empire, not helped by the economic crisis in the early '70s.

    The primary reason for joining though was political not economic - though the economy was the excuse used. Heath (and others) genuinely thought being a member would improve Britain's political influence and standing in the world.

  3. Hear, hear!

    My 3 great hopes for my remaining years :-

    a) Total destruction of the cAGW scam (preferably with punishment of those responsible).

    b) Success for SETI (after all, there is so little intelligent life on Earth).

    c) BRexit [TaDa!]

  4. As in your sidebar
    "The EU is the old Soviet Union dressed in Western clothes"
    (President Gorbachev)"

    I was one of those who was lied to and told that the CM was all about easing border controls on the free movement of goods and European peoples. As a then frequent visitor to Europe it seemed sraightforward enough and so I voted to remain in (2nd referendum).

    Nobody said anything about the free movement of Congolese or the bendiness of bananas.

  5. Excellent piece TBF...

    But this: "But the nation state and democracy are so fundamental to human needs..."

    I am not sure that I agree with this, I reckon that the mean human unit is primarily the family, and at a push, the tribe... Nation states are not natural, but they are better than technocratic dictatorships, that is for sure.

    One of the big problems with the concept, is that it's leaders (whatever their manifesto) once in power, start to believe that they are "managing" a football team or something. The reality of course is that individuals cannot be forced into a team, and not everyone is interested in swimming in the same direction. As for democracy, well for all of the reasons that have been discussed endlessly, is again a little bit less fair than it would suggest...

    The important thing about any of these big groups of people, whether they be part of nation states or technocratic anti-democratic empires, is to keep government at every level, as small and as cheap as is possible.

    And finally, I do not see what is wrong with leading by example, we have a pretty good model in the very mature confederacy (actually a federation) that is employed by the Swiss people, and I don't see them failing by not vying for the top spot. No sir, I see them sitting on the top spot for people, but about half way from the bottom when it comes to awarding their political classes the "CDM" (of banquets and junkets), they just won't put up with it.