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 ThatcherSadly 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.