Saturday, October 25, 2014

Europe in or out? Time for the Nation to Decide

The UK joined the Common Market in 1973 and the BBC reported at the time:

1973: Britain joins the EEC

The United Kingdom has become a fully-fledged member of the European Economic Community.
Ireland and Denmark also joined Britain in becoming the newest members of the community, bringing the total number of member states to nine.
At midnight last night a Union Jack flag was raised at the EEC's headquarters in Brussels to mark the occasion.
Celebrations were held in the city and one of Britain's new European Commissioners, George Thomson, joined revellers in a torch lit procession.
Prime Minister Edward Heath is optimistic that Britain's membership of the community will bring prosperity to the country.
He said: "It is going to be a gradual development and obviously things are not going to happen overnight.

Ted Heath's optimism did not cause him to hold a referendum on Common market membership then and by 1975 the Labour Party conference voted 2 to 1 against but the Labour Party formed the next government  and in Harold Wilson's ensuing referendum the country  itself voted 2:1 in favour.

In the c.40 years  that have passed since then much about the Common Market has changed not the least  in the name now being The European Union, which is quite a different creature from the trading entity that the UK people   expressed their views about a generation ago.

In my view:

1. The EEC/EU has changed enormously since the UK first joined.
2. The world is fast changing too but is forming huge separate  political blocs of countries really beneficial for mankind as a  whole?
3. Trading agreements inter alia to ensure that the world's poorest nations  are not disadvantaged or locked out, may be best conducted through a global body such as the WTO rather than regional ones.
4. The UK has many friends throughout the world as a consequence of historical trading patterns  as well as obligations from its colonial past. Are these best fostered outside of a political grouping of European countries?
5.  A referendum should be held  about the continuing EEC/EU membership  by the UK.

Obviously if the people vote to stay part of the increasingly political EU type Europe then so be it but  the only resistance to holding a referendum on the topic appears to come from those who wish to stay in. 

The  real question is why there is such resistance to letting the people decide?

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