Thursday, 3 February 2011

European Odyssey


Edward Spalton is one of my regular readers who works hard promoting the necessity for Britain to withdraw from the EU. Very soon Edward is to give a talk, as part of a CIVITAS programme, to the undergraduates of Goldsmiths' College, London and he kindly sent me a copy of his speech.  I've had his permission to publish it.

For those who remember memories can be refreshed and ire rekindled.  For those too young to remember this is an opportunity to read a little truth.

A British EEC surplus butter mountain photographed
at a Labour Party Gala Morning. April 1984

European Odyssey

From Moderate Support to outright Opposition to the EU Project
by Edward Spalton, Vice Chairman, Campaign for an Independent Britain February 2011

Thank you for inviting me. I was a few years younger than this audience when I first heard about the institution which is now the European Union. I was on a school trip to Germany and the German boy, who was my host, asked “Have you heard about our Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft? It will guarantee our living standard”. 

Neither his English nor my German was up to translating the word, so an explanation had to wait until we got home. When I mentioned it, several other boys said that their hosts had asked exactly the same question. So it was obviously something they had been taught in school. It was 1958.

Our teacher explained that the word meant “economic community” and it had been created the previous year by a treaty between Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries. We talked about it for a while and thought it was a great idea that these former enemy countries were getting together to co-operate with each other and improve their lives. Most boys had fathers or uncles who had been in the war and it seemed a hopeful sign of future peace but we didn't think of it as something we in Britain would be joining.

“But remember” said our teacher “This shows a big difference between the traditions of England and Germany. You would not be taught a political opinion as fact like that in a British school”.

1

Of course, when we came to our conclusion that the EU (then the EEC) was a good thing, we did so in total ignorance. We didn't know what the treaty contained, what institutions (if any) it set up and what its political objectives were. For many years people called it “The Common Market” and thought it was a co-operative trade agreement between sovereign countries.

When I went to work in the Sixties I studied calf rearing and animal feed production techniques with a Dutch company with which our firm made a technology sharing agreement. The Dutch are quite like us and so were their farming and feed production but all their prices for foods were very much higher than ours – things like wheat, beef and milk powder. As an industrial country, Britain had a free trade policy for food with the whole world. The Dutch were in “The Common Market” and their prices were driven up by the high levies and customs duties imposed on food coming from outside Europe. This was the Common Agricultural Policy.

We started to pay these needlessly high prices from 1973 when we joined the “The Common Market”. In 1993 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said “an average family of four in Britain pays approximately and extra £940 a year as a result of artificially high agricultural prices. It will be more today. Just think how much that has come to over your lifetime. Your parents might well have been able to get you through university without a student loan, if they had been able to keep the money in their pockets.

It was this wicked waste of resources - the grain, butter and beef mountains caused by guaranteed high EU prices which first started me questioning the European project.

2

Those food mountains were dumped on the world market at well below the cost of production, putting many Third World farmers out of business and thus increasing the likelihood of famine as their countries were less able to feed themselves. The cost of that evil has also been borne by your parents' taxes. Britain's fishing fleet was destroyed at the same time and is now a shadow of its former self.

So what was the political programme driving this strange policy? It certainly was not merely establishing a “Common Market” - not even one with the rules of a lunatic asylum. I now quote from Jean Monnet who has been called “The Father of Europe”. Addressing the Washington Press Club on April 30 1952 he spoke of the European Coal and Steel Community, the fore-runner of the all-embracing “Common Market”. He said “In this challenging time we are naturally encountering difficulties. THEY ARE THE BIRTH PANGS ATTENDING THE CREATION OF A UNITED STATES OF EUROPE”.

A German politician expressed his view rather more robustly in 1951. Dr. Seebohm, Minister of Commerce in Dr. Adenauer's government said “Will free Europe join Germany? Germany is the heart of Europe and the limbs must adjust to the heart, not the heart to the limbs”. Germany has continued to be very successful in making the nascent European state to serve its requirements ever since.

“The Common Market”, freer trade between member states and so on were all part of a gradual step-by-step process – abolishing the national democracies of Europe and making them into mere provinces under a single European government with no pretence of democratic accountability. Or consent. That was, is and ever more shall be the aim of the continuing process of European integration as the unelected Commission in Brussels and other institutions gather ever more power to themselves.

3

As early as 1947 Peter Thorneycroft, later Chancellor of the Exchequer and chairman of the Conservative party wrote in “Design for Europe”:

“No government dependent on a democratic vote could possibly agree in advance to the sacrifice that any adequate plan must involve. The British people must be led slowly and unconsciously into the abandonment of their traditional economic defences.....They must not be asked”.

And that is how the EU project has always progressed, running away by stealth from democratic responsibility to the people, to undemocratic institutions in Europe which remain in power whoever you vote for. 

Here is a time line of deceit and arrogance by Edward Heath, the prime minister who took us in:
1970 THE LIE DIRECT “There will be no blueprint for a federal Europe”

1971 “There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty”
“There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified”.

1975 “There is no danger of a single currency”.

Yet on 1 November 1991 in an interview with Peter Sissons:
Sissons: “The single currency, the United States of Europe: was that on your mind when you took Britain in?”
Heath: “Of course, yes”

4

The deceitfulness of politicians is not uniquely Conservative . Whose election manifesto do you think I am quoting here?
“We'll protect British industry against unfair foreign competition” 
“We'll negotiate a withdrawal from the EEC which has drained our natural resources and destroyed jobs”. That was Tony Blair's manifesto in 1983. Gordon Brown's was the same.

The EU has destroyed British jobs. The cumulative adverse balance of trade amounts to some £300 billion – so our most successful export to the EU has been British jobs – mostly skilled, hi tech, well-paid  British jobs. In exchange we have got shelf stacking and spanner and screwdriver work. This is why your job prospects are so poor today. 

The majority of laws passed by our Parliament today are required by the EU. The EU tells the government what laws it must make and the government whips its MPs to vote for them.  So it looks democratic but it isn't. We and our interests do not come into it at all. No wonder the main parties all ratted on their promise of a referendum on the EU constitution, renamed the Lisbon treaty! Parliament is a marionette. We can vote to change who sits there but whilst we remain in the EU, it is not we the people but Brussels which pulls their strings.  
Mark Leonard, a convinced Europhile explained the process very well under the heading “How the EU deceives its way to power”:
“Like an invisible hand, the EU operates through existing political structures... There are no European courts, legislatures or business regulations on display in London. The British House of Commons, British law courts and British civil servants are still there but they uphold and implement European law. By creating common standards that are implemented through national institutions, the EU can envelope countries without becoming a target for hostility”

5

Does it matter? Mr. van Rompuy, Baroness Ashton, Senhor Barroso and the EU Commissioners are our real government for many of the major policies which affect us  all – from world trade and climate change to the way our dustbins are collected and the permitted curvature of our cucumbers. 
They may be the kindest, wisest  people with only our best interests at heart. But if they or their successors are not endowed with wisdom and good judgement and they do not have Britain's best interests at heart, what then? They were not appointed democratically and we cannot get rid of them democratically – whoever we send to Parliament, whoever lives in No 10 Downing Street – not as long as we remain locked inside the structures of the EU. So, if you have a form of government and policies which you cannot alter by voting, what have you got? Senhor Barroso calls it an “empire” and we are in one of its provinces.

He should know. He's president of the EU Commission.

In exchange for giving up any real democracy by imperceptible stages , they promised us economic growth and stability. We haven't got it, have we? Ask the people of Ireland and  the people of Greece. We would be suffering as bad a fate as theirs - destruction of  public services and unemployment on a scale far greater than anything we have here, if we too were shackled to the euro currency with an exchange rate and interest rate which did not suit our economy.

6
When the euro was founded, it was claimed it would be  as sound as the Deutsche Mark and no country would be responsible for another country's debt. Look at it now! We knew then that Greece and the other “Club Med” countries had lied about their finances to get in. So did the EU authorities. This tragedy for these countries is seen as an opportunity by the EU to bring in a single, Europe-wide economic and fiscal government which will be even more anti democratic. The present  crisis was foreseen and intended. It is what the EU calls a “beneficial crisis” - for the advance of EU power, that is.

The countries of Europe, however they organise their relationships, amongst each other will always be important trading partners for Britain.
We can be on perfectly good, neighbourly terms with them without being part of a European state. We do not have to become a state of the union to trade with America, nor a province of China to trade with China. It is a big, wide world out there with economies offering far greater prospects than the sclerotic, over regulated economy of the EU, distorted and tortured by the political imposition of an unworkable currency union.  Even the EU commission admits that the cost of its regulation is over 5% of EU GDP whilst the claimed economic stimulus of the Single Market is said to be around 1-2%. So, even by its own figure the EU is a drag on all the economies of Europe, equivalent to the whole production of the economy of the Netherlands.   

Exports to the countries of the EU account for about 10% of our GNP (although it is declining) and a roughly similar amount goes to the rest of the world (although that is increasing). The remaining 80% is purely domestic and internal. So we are bearing the huge dead weight of EU regulation on 90% of our economy quite needlessly for the sake of what we send to Europe.

7

The great selling point of the EU was security, prosperity and stability. That has proved to be an illusion. It hasn't worked, it doesn't work, it can't work. 

For a timid, obscure, offshore province of an inward-looking, economically declining European Empire, the future is decidedly bleak. Benjamin Franklin wisely remarked that a country which tried to trade freedom for wealth would end up possessing neither and deservedly so. 
There is a great, wide world out there, full of opportunity for a confident, free country, trading with the vibrant, rising economies of the developing world and renewing its links with the Commonwealth countries which were so shamefully treated when we joined the EU. 

As we have seen, the EU will not bail us out. We are expected to bail it out. 
Back around 1983 when Tony Blair committed himself to getting us out of the EU, Ken Clarke remarked “The great thing about Europe is that it makes most of Labour's policies illegal”. That was Old Labour, of course. It is often forgotten that the principle of market competition is built into the EU, into everything. That is why we have ruinous Private Finance Initiative in the NHS and elsewhere. According to the EU, the NHS is part of an EU market for health services, geared to the interests of corporate business. So is the Post Office and every other public institution.

Even that bastion of the free market, the United States does not have that written into its constitution. So Labour or any other government has no choice but to go along with privatisation. There is an unholy alliance between government and corporate capital, enforced by the EU. New Labour was the EU's obedient slave. As long as it was wedded to the EU it really had no choice but its enthusiasm for the corporate trough was decidedly unseemly.

8

This alliance of the power of the state (in this case the EU super state) to that of big business has a name – corporatism. It was how Mussolini defined fascism. Henry Wallace, the 33rd Vice President of the United States knew it well and described its aims thus in the 1940s

“Their final objective, towards which all their deceit is directed, is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection”. 

Before we throw away more money (which we haven't got) into the  insatiable, unappeasable  maw of a nasty authoritarian state and  crucifying currency system, we need to renew our own institutions, especially our Parliament as  truly sovereign, responsible to us alone and worthy of respect. Then we can take our place in the world as a moderately sized, decent, independent democracy on good terms with everybody and at ease with ourselves.

26 comments:

Sue said...

This should be a compulsory part of history lessons!

It would great if he could let you/us what the response was from the students.

I'm actually surprised he's allowed to give the speech at all.

Woman on a Raft said...

There was a short but brilliant clip of Dennis Healey spitting poison at Jon Ronson.

Ronson made a 5-part documentary called "The Secret Rulers of the World" where he gently poked fun at tinfoil hatters but had to admit that eventually they had some points.

Healey finally agreed to talk to Ronson about the Bilderberg Group, which decided to handle its PR by being more open and portrayed itself (possibly deliberately) as a club for rich vain old men who where a lot less important and insightful than they liked to think.

Healey clearly thought Ronson was an idiot, a persona Ronson plays up to defuse any sense of threat. He presents himself as earnest but a bit thick, needing things explained twice.

Healey ended up screaching in his demented fashion "Of COURSE we lied" because it was Healey who was the architect of the rigging of the 1975 vote.

Poor Harold Wilson was putty in Healey's hands. Wilson had a great fear of starvation as he came from a genuinely modest background, so he was easily persuaded that the CAP and the Common Market would keep bellies full.

Wilson still commanded a large personal vote so many householders trusted him when he recommended a vote for continued membership. His normal acuity was already fading as he had early signs of mental deterioration. He was persuaded by Healey's advice rather than the better legal and constitutional analysis of Tony Benn (of all people).

BJ said...

This is great; I'm printing it and showing it to friends in work.

Thanks SR.

Captain Ranty said...

It will be an excellent speech.

Edward should warn the younglings beforehand that it is a horror story. And it doesn't end well. For any of us.

Did anyone else spot the spine-chilling phrase in section 3?

"....They must not be asked”.

Dear. Sweet. Mother. Of. God.

No wonder that "cast iron guarantee" melted like ice cream on a summers day, eh?

CR.

hector said...

scotland has had to deal with a union put upon it.the world is getting smaller.fife was once a kingdom on its own should we return to that.the world moves on communications improve.what makes the uk so special.re the poor state of the euro.can anybody tell me if the euro is in such a bad way why is it that pound is worth less against the euro that it was about 4 months ago? re security western europe has had probably it longest period of peace for generations.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

Nicked in toto and re-posted here ... with a couple of added comments of my own:

http://wiganpatriot.blogspot.com/2011/02/british-people-must-not-be-asked-eu.html

Billy said...

A little Englander speech more like. I have nothing against English people wanting to be independent and run their own affairs but this has more to do with England not wanting to be run by anyone else but still wanting to run Britain.

I want to see Scotland out of the EU and out of the UK. It is the same difference with Scotland being part of the UK as it is with the UK being part of the EU.

We do not have to join up with other countries to prevent war as no-one is going about invading other peoples countries in order to have the biggest empires any more and that includes Britain.

William said...

Good reading.

I've said before but it's puzzling how many, across the political spectrum, are committed to the European ideal above the interests of the British people. In private, such people seem to regard the British people as simpletons. Is it simply personal gain? You have to wonder.

The more I read about Edward Heath, the more I realise what an utterly loathsome individual he really was.

subrosa said...

I hope you will all forgive my error. The speech is for undergraduates at the college and not 6th formers.

Sue, I'm sure Edward will pop by and say how it was received.

subrosa said...

I think this may be the clip you mean WoaR.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsT4dm5GdPk&feature=related

Edward Spalton said...

Thank you for the kind words of praise and the constructive ones of criticism. As there was no vote in this meeting, I cannot really gauge how it went down. Well, I think but it was a very polite meeting.

I speak to sixth forms as part of the CIVITAS project. The schools which invite speakers on the EU are, in my opinion, doing their best to give a balanced picture to their pupils. There is, of course, a duty on schools under the Education Act (of 1986 I think) to present politically contentious matters in a balanced way.

Some schools certainly do not obey. One friend told me of a school function, tied up with a town twinning, where they tried to make everybody, parents and pupils alike, stand for the EU anthem so that the respective mayors could pledge their loyalty to the EU.

Where sixth form debates were staged with the European Movement and votes taken, colleagues report that the pupils invariably voted for independence, usually by a large margin. That has been my experience too but pride goeth before a fall!

Speaking to young people is a very worthwhile thing to be involved with. It is very heartening that young people, who have known nothing but EU subjection, would still like their country back.

subrosa said...

Billy, Edward is one of the last people I'd call a little Englander. If you've read any of his previous essays/posts you would know that.

This post is his journey from moderate support to total scepticism with the EU. I agree with his comments. What can't? Because they're the truth.

Bill Sticker said...

Like so many others I voted in the 1973 referendum to join the 'Common Market'. I have spent the rest of my life wishing I had voted 'No'.

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

ES.

That's a damn good speech - truth without condescension or vanity.

I hope the students appreciate(d) its integrity.

Woman on a Raft said...

Many thanks Subrosa.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Excellent speech, thanks for posting it, SR.

I spit on the memory of the traitor Heath.

subrosa said...

Thanks all for commenting. I'm sure Edward will appreciate it.

He was surprised when I suggested I post his speech because he only sent it to me to read, but I thought it deserved a wider audience and you've proved me right. :)

Sue said...

Billy, was a misery you are. We BRITISH need to stick together against the power of the EU. All those all feuds are weakening us. Attitudes like yours don't help our unity!

Once we've severed the link that is bleeding us dry, each country should have its own independence if that's what the people want.

Remember, Scotland, Wales and NI have their own assemblies, we don't. We have your lot deciding our futures too, it's us that should be miffed!

I admire your dedication Edward, thank you for teaching our kids the truth!

Strathturret said...

65 years of peace in Europe - not a mention; so a bit selective piece of work!

The architects of the EU always saw European peace as part of the big picture. My grandfathers and father fought in WW1 and WW2, I've never been in the forces. I'd count that as a huge success.

Our economy is in a mess; that's our fault not the EU. See Germany. If we were out of the EU I suspect we'd be a lot worse off. Many companies locate to the UK as we're in EU.

Final thought how many votes did UKIP/BNP get in the GE? Yes not many. All four main parties (in Scotland) are pro EU.

subrosa said...

65 years of peace? I think not Strathturret. Have you forgotten about the Balkans war? Bosnia is in the south-east of Europe although not yet a member of it.

Just because the 'big boys' haven't been at war with each other doesn't mean there's been peace.

My ancestors fought too and the origins of the Common Market was exactly that - to assist with peace and also make countries interact through business.

I know all parties in Scotland are pro-EU. I've no idea why though because it's never debated. Can't see why an independent Scotland couldn't fashion itself on the likes of Norway or Switzerland in this regard but they seem to prefer to want to be dominated by unelected people in a foreign land.

Strathturret said...

If you consider France Germany and the UK we had all the Napoleonic wars then two mid 19th century wars between France and Prussia, then WWI caused by tensions between these three and Austria-Hungary then the re-match in 1939.

There has always been trouble in the Balkans. Artificial countries like Iraq, Yugoslavia, the USSR and the UK all eventually collapse.

subrosa said...

But can you say the EU which has developed in recent years is any better than the original Common Market at ensuring peace in Europe Strathturret. I think that would be very difficult to prove.

Strathturret said...

My point is that a war between Britain, France and Germany is now unthinkable.

In my book thats more important than a butter mountain!

subrosa said...

In another 10 years Strathturret we won't have a military which could defend us in a war.

Who would have thought 20 years ago that our military would have fought several wars, we would have lost hundreds of our young and we would be taking part in getting rid of a leader we put in place originally?

We're all chums right now but it doesn't take much for one to turn.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

Excellent commentary there from Edward. Thank you Subrosa for posting it.
I have undergone a similar journey, turning from a Common Market supporter, through sceptism and now anting Britain out..
The past 13 years in New Zealand and Australia have also taught me that while governments may suck up to Europe or Asia, that the ties of kith and kin remain deep.
There is also a great world out there too. China is or will be a market as great as the EUSSR.
We should not be 'Little Europeans.'
When the UK joined the 'Common market' the impact on New Zealand was severe.
But NZ learnt to find new markets.
Britiain would find them quite easily were we to leave the EUSSR.
But since we have a huge trade deficit with it, I am sure Brussels would be happy to have a free trade agreement with the UK.
Thus there would be no pain for Britian but an economic boom.

subrosa said...

Well said FFM. As you say the only danger is that we become 'little Europeans' and we need to ensure we have far-sighted politicians in charge.

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