Europe is sexy, or so this very dated photograph would imply. In a political sense ‘Europe’ is now far larger than the map shown on this woman’s ample bust. That enlargement has with itself brought political conflicts which were always bound to happen when more than two dozen countries, most with no common mother tongue and each with a long-established national identity, were wedged into a one-size-fits-all political union.
The photograph dates from the campaign for the referendum on continued membership of the European Community held a few years after the British government had signed up. It was only with a change of government from Tory to Labour that a referendum was allowed, the Tories frightened of allowing a referendum beforehand lest it deliver the wrong result. Whilst the principle of ever closer union was known to the electorate at the time of joining, it was sold to them by the government on the basis of a ‘Common Market’ for trade and nothing more. I have to admit that I can’t remember either us joining or the subsequent referendum on the matter, as neither were of any importance to me during my childhood. Only from history books on the subject did I later find out about which politicians were for or against the European Community, the ‘Common Market’.
One of those most strongly in favour of the European Community during that referendum was the one who went on to become Prime Minister four years later and whose government went on to sell off almost all of our national infrastructure. She, our first female Prime Minister, also signed the Single European Act, something which Guardianista ‘progressives’ conveniently forget or are wilfully ignorant about; ditto with many of her fans, those who are too young to remember how her government allowed industry to collapse, deregulated the banking sector and encouraged a housing bubble fuelled by easy credit and mortgage equity withdrawl.
No referendum was allowed prior to her signing the Single European Act, nor was one allowed prior to her successor, another Tory, signing the Treaty that formalised the European Community into the European Union; which in itself dropped the pretence that had been peddled in Britain of the European political project for ever closer union being nothing more than a ‘Common Market’. And so on, with the Labour Party shedding all of its founding principles whilst moving ever more in favour of the European Union to the point that ideologically it was inseparable from the Tories.
There were some dissenters within the Labour Party against this shift, one of those a man opposed to British military intervention in the Middle East, opposed to British troops being in Northern Ireland and opposed all along to the European Community and the European Union, voting in the House of Commons against every measure for ever closer union. That man, also a long-standing vegetarian, surprisingly became leader of the Labour Party nine months before a referendum was eventually held, two years ago, on British membership of the European Union.
During that referendum campaign he publicly came out in favour of the ever closer union that he had always opposed, looking as uncomfortable doing so as he would have done chewing on a fillet steak. In doing so he undermined his political credibility in order that he could cling to the party leadership, hardly the first politician to have done so, but he missed the bigger picture in that he could have provided national leadership to achieve what he had always believed in. And he knows that Britain’s national infrastructure can never be taken back into public ownership as long as we remain tied to that ever closer union, which exists for the benefit of multinational corporations, not the peoples of Europe.