A speech Edward Spalton gave to the CIB on 1 October. The photograph shows Edward with Sigrid Helberg, a board member of the Norwegian 'No to EU campaign'.
The EU's Crisis is the Nations' Opportunity
Edward Spalton – Vice Chairman
Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB)
It is good to see friends from so many European countries here in London. When our politicians were lying their heads off to the British people in the early days of our EEC membership, they often told us that people in every other member state were really enthusiastic about their countries' membership. Unless we too learned to be equally enthusiastic and to love our subjection to Europe we would, in some undefined way, be excluded from the benefits which all the others were enjoying so much.
In those days before the internet, with the BBC and every national newspaper in favour of the EEC, it was easy for the authorities to class everybody who doubted or opposed the European Project as merely nasty people who hated foreigners. They could also lie about the effects of being outside the “Common Market” as it was then called without fear of being challenged. I well remember Edward Heath telling a television interviewer that Norway was suffering disastrous consequences for its stubborn insistence on independence. The interviewer nodded wisely in agreement in the presence of authority.
Thanks to our European friends and better communications, we now know whenever they lie to us – and they are doing it increasingly often, as the pressure of the insoluble euro crisis builds up. Whilst we all have our own outlook and experience, we now have the benefit of viewpoints from different countries concerning this monstrous malignant cancer on the body politic of our continent. CIB was able to take advantage of this in our recent booklet, addressed to the British Parliament “A HOUSE DIVIDED – Can Parliament Serve Two Masters, the Nation and the European Union?”
Much of the booklet is taken up with a sketch of the process by which British people were deceived about the nature of the European Project, which always was about the creation of a single, anti-democratic European state. It has contributions from both of the main British political traditions but its jewel is undoubtedly the paper by Dr. Anthony Coughlan of the Foundation for EU Democracy and the Irish National Platform, entitled “THE TREATY OF LISBON: A CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION BY STEALTH”.
This is the most brilliant precis of that complex document which I have seen and, of course, it is equally applicable in every member state. I have a few copies with me and, if there are not enough, will be delighted to send one to anybody else who wants one. I do recommend it most heartily.
This booklet has been sent to every Member of Parliament and of the House of Lords as part of CIB's information programme. At last, more sitting MPs of the main parties are beginning to put their heads above the parapet and risk government displeasure. Part of CIB's job is to keep up the pressure in Parliament and other organisations of influence.
It is important to remember that the EU itself has not taken anything from us. All the powers over us which it has acquired have been given to it by politicians in our own countries. It is upon them that we must direct our main fire. They and their predecessors got us into this and it is they who must get us out and be made to do a proper job of work again, as the representatives of our different sovereign peoples and not to be allowed to get away with pretending to the honour of belonging to our countries' respective Parliaments whilst merely fulfilling the functions of European County Councillors.
Another source of pressure here is the growing, cross-party campaign for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. We should be in no doubt of the resources and techniques of deceit which our country's foes will use, if a referendum is ever called. It will not be a fair fight and will be at a time of the government's choosing.
In the early Seventies British public opinion was approximately two thirds opposed to EEC membership. Yet within a very short time, a clever public relations campaign by the government and by the European Movement, which was bankrolled by the American CIA, was able to turn that into a two thirds majority in favour of EEC membership. The papers are available from the Public Record Office under the thirty year rule.
That great strategist, Sun Tzu, the Chinese Clausewitz, wrote
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war whilst defeated warriors go to war first and then try to win”.
CIB is not in competition with any other pro-independence organisation. As a long-established, non party group, we are ideally placed to help in researching the extent of the forces ranged against our country's freedom and in facilitating the coming together of the democratic coalition to defeat them.
The referendum will not be won or lost in the few weeks of the official campaign before any vote but by staff work done behind the scenes, perhaps years before. The experience of our 1975 referendum shows that. We hope that we may serve the wider movement by encouraging and participating in co-operation between the different organisations in this great task.
The input from our European friends and knowledge of their experiences will play a vital role in this both practically and by boosting our morale. It is great to know that we are not alone but part of a wider movement to return the nations of Europe once more to democratically responsible government. Thank you for the encouragement of your example and fellowship in this great cause of getting our countries back.
Having made our preparations properly, won a referendum and elected a government determined to put it into effect, and got our respective countries back, what then?
The future will look a little different from each country and I will make some suggestions and guesses about Britain shortly. Firstly, what of the EU institutions ? I do not believe that the EU can be reformed. It has to be totally destroyed along with every vestige of the Acquis Communautaire and I would like to see all those who have played a prominent role in it permanently disqualified from taking any part in the public life of any European country or treaty organisation.
Something along the lines of the European Free Trade Area is perfectly adequate for regulating commercial relations and trade in goods and services.
For defence, I would prefer NATO to revert to its original function as a purely defensive treaty and to see an end to its ambitions for so-called humanitarian intervention around the world, apart from genuine works of mercy in famine relief or natural disasters.
I think that some barriers to trade and the free movement of goods, services, finances and people may actually be desirable and should be decided by individual countries or perhaps groups of countries with common interests, like the old Benelux model.
Is it really such a good trade, for instance, to have very cheap imported clothing but all our own textile industries destroyed? Or to be overwhelmed by literally hundreds of thousands of immigrants without any possibility of control?
For Britain, our European neighbours and trade will continue to be very important but we are also very well placed, having a world organisation based here with the Queen at its head – the British Commonwealth of Nations. These are the former countries of empire with which we share a great deal in language, law, commerce and traditions but do not share an ambition to run each other's affairs. They include some of the most rapidly growing economies in the world – and then there is the wider Anglosphere with which we have much in common.
Commonwealth countries were shamefully treated when we went into the EEC but enough time has now elapsed for Britain to have lost the illusion of being the great leader. It is time for a grown-up relationship of equals with many common interests – rather like parents who have accepted that their children have grown up, left home and started their own families but still want to have a close, happy and mutually rewarding relationship with them.
That is just a brief sketch of a few ideas which may shape our outlook, once we are rid of the malign influence of the failed EU project.
Europe itself has not failed. Its individual countries have not failed of themselves but they have been very badly served and distorted by the self-infliction of that appalling institution, the EU. It will take some time for them to recover and a new, more self-reliant spirit to grow.
However the EU ends, we are in for a rough ride but I believe that a lively Europe of freely co-operating democracies will be far better able to cope in all its diversity than the rigid, top-down, authoritarian structure which we now see near its death throes.
But beware! We are still in peril. The EU is a wounded beast and wounded beasts are dangerous!