THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Just Say No

Just Say No: The Spectator On The 1975 Referendum eBook: The Spectator, Toby Young, Constance Watson: Kindle Store.

The Spectator has published a cheap E-book collecting its best pieces from the 1975 referendum debate. It's an interesting read. My recollection was that the "Common Market" was sold solely as an economic proposition. It was all about removing trade barriers and as a young classical liberal freshly rejecting the Marxism of my extreme youth I was all for that. However, this book shows that all the issues discussed in the present debate were clearly identified in 1975 to the minority (not including young Tom) who were paying attention.
One leader column summed the situation up rather well, given the impoverished state of the pre-Thatcher economy and our general national pessimism at the time; 
It may prove to be the case that the Prime Minister’s contempt for his countrymen is justified, and that the independent life of the country is, in fact, drawing to its close. In this case, Mr Heath’s European policy is tantamount to an act of euthanasia, rather than being essentially suicidal. If, however, Britain’s present sickness is temporary, then there can be no doubt at all that our repudiation —preferably amicably negotiated — of the Treaty of Accession to the Treaty of Rome, and the repeal of the European Communities Act, must, and indeed will, become the duty and the pleasure of every patriot, and the prime purpose of every politician who believes it to be his chief justification to revive and uphold the laws and liberties of this country.
The sickness was temporary, thank goodness. The 1970s "sick man of Europe" now offers career-launching opportunities to millions of young Continentals who would otherwise have no chance, given youth unemployment rates between 35 and 50%. And yet still their governments resist the economic liberalism that cured us. Still their politicians ludicrously assert "the primacy of politics over economics." They might as reasonably call for "the primacy of politics over physics!" Economics is an imperfect science, but science it is. It is at least trying to analyse the way things work. Politics, by comparison, is more like grown-up playground bullies trying to steal the nation's lunch money.
As the Daily Telegraph put it in 2014, discussing the failure of the Euro;

Their experiment has caused depression (not recession as inaccurately reported by pro-European journalists at the BBC and elsewhere) across much of Europe. 

This is getting worse. The Italian economy is moribund, social cohesion has vanished and Italians are starting to turn venomously on immigrants. The Greek economy has shrunk by 30 per cent, and one quarter of the population is out of work. Youth unemployment in Spain stands at an unspeakable 50 per cent.

We were lucky at the end of the 1970s to happen upon a strong leader who drove through privatisation and market reforms despite the unified scorn of HM Opposition, the Civil Service, most of her own party, our always-treasonous intellectuals, the Eurocrats and the governments of all other member states. We would do well to heed her warning, given at Bruges in 1998:
We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels... The lesson of the economic history of Europe in the 70's and 80's is that central planning and detailed control do not work and that personal endeavour and initiative do. That a State-controlled economy is a recipe for low growth and that free enterprise within a framework of law brings better results.

Our "European partners" have always despised us as "a nation of shopkeepers". They are very welcome to continue to do so. They are also welcome to their Communist trade unions, their street protests, their youth unemployment, their rising levels of neo-fascism and their status as the second slowest growing continental economy on Earth (after Antarctica). We do not seek to tell them how to live. They are welcome to choose their own route to Hell and we will be delighted – in our vulgar, Anglo-Saxon way – to sell them the hand baskets. And perhaps even employ the better-educated of their youth (if they can compete with immigrants from the wider world) to deliver the goods.


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barnacle bill

I remember clearly that I voted to join a "common market" on the basis that as an island state we needed as smooth as possible access to those trade markets just across the Channel.

I never thought it would morph into the democracy sucking, federalist monster it has. I don't think that concept was even at the back of my mind when I voted to join the Common Market.

It has since been hijacked by the rise of the professional polictical class. So with hindsight would I have cast my vote differently back then?

To be honest no I don't think I would have because I would have hoped we could control and fashion the Common Market for the benefit of all peoples and not an elite.

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