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Macmillan, Heath and The European Idea

  • Category(s): Politics Essays
  • Created on : 09 September 2015
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  • Author: Richard Michael Lamb


The Continent is friendly to us and in easy reach. But that is the trouble, because we are a proud Island Nation jealous of our separateness and that will never change geographically or politically or morally. We have always stood apart and alone from the Continent since time immemorial and that is still the case today. I am afraid we may be part of Europe in one sense, but we will never be Continental Europeans. I would submit our national “sanctity” has been mauled severely by the European Union’s politicians and civil servants since the days of Thatcher’s 1979-1989 Administrations, despite her sterling efforts to defend us. We all know the clarion call: Restore our Parliamentary and our judicial independence and our Executive’s Sovereignty without more ado, and that means secession not renegotiation!

1. Background

There was great enthusiasm post World War II in the 1950’s across Europe for the European Common Market in the Treaty of Rome, which brought Germany, France and Italy together: the old belligerents of the Second War and the First War. We were left out under Eden, but under Macmillan and Heath (1959-1963) we knocked on the door to be permitted to join this European Club. But de Gaulle the French President and General said “Non!” to Macmillan our Prime Minister and Heath our European Affairs Minister in London (1960-1963). Why all this fuss over Europe?

2. 1959-1963 the Macmillan Years and Later

Because Macmillan and Heath recognised we would be isolated from our European neighbours if we did not join up, and as a Nation once our African Colonies were devolved to independence as was fast approaching at this time. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada were self governing from the Great War and before. The Commonwealth of Nations, as it became when our Colonies were free, could not construct military and political action directly in the World, even if it exerted diplomatic pressure by sanctions on Rhodesia (1965-1978) and by anti-racist argument on South Africa (1975-1995). The Commonwealth with the Queen at its head was prestigious, but it had no teeth and sword. It was a loosely organised body of nations with England the former Mother Country and our former Colonies and prior Dominions.

Heath and Macmillan desired economic growth through the Common Market and were prepared to make political concessions to Brussels in exchange for a European foreign policy lead by England. Our military strength as supported by the Christian Democrats in West Germany and NATO itself was a powerful military alliance to create this English diplomatic push forward. NATO’s raison d’etre was to oppose Stalinism in Moscow and Eastern Europe, a very worthy aim achieved in 1989. NATO’s nuclear arm was crucial. Thus for Macmillan and Heath it was NATO, first military and political independence for the nations of Eastern, Central and South Eastern Europe on the back of NATO (the alliance of Western Nations). Secondly the Common Market of Western Europe including BENELUX would deliver great economic benefits to England & Wales by the free trade zones, with the markets of the European Club of Nations open to our enterprises. Germany and Italy were in NATO. France has stayed out since it began. NATO is now mute post-2000.

3. 1970-2000

Heathite purity over Europe permitted no reluctance to join the EC in 1972-1973. He was not blinkered and rightly drove us in on the back of Western Europeanism and expected economic prosperity and growth. To start off with he was proved right. The Euro-sceptics came to the fore with Wilson’s referendum to take us out in 1975 (lost) and then the sceptics rose up again under Thatcher 1979-1989 and with Major 1990-1997. What was the problem? Mainly in the Conservative Party, a vociferous minority group of politicians, who believed England & Wales was being trampled upon by Brussels economically and politically. They could not change the course of Cabinet rule during these years. Prime Minister Wilson was a Labour Euro-sceptic in the 1970’s.


How strong is this opposition to the EU today 15 years on? We are told the government is renegotiating our membership and if we do not get the right terms there will be a referendum on the EU. With respect to our leaders that is craven weakness. If the German and French elites know we can be persuaded to stay in they will be all over us. We will be unable to summon up the strength to secede. We will be kept in to avoid the precedent of secession. We will be seduced into remaining in the EU because we lack the resolve to leave it. This is vital to Europe – England & Wales are the “big prize”.

This is not a matter of tinkering. Heath took us in lock, stock and barrel and that is the way to come out. Do it the way Heath would do it: by Parliament. If you disagree and you believe the people support the Union then have your referendum to prove it or disprove it. Let England lead the way, not some foreign negotiators on the Continent. There must be English & Welsh leadership and proper debate to address the English people on the EU issue. It must not be dodged. We simply do not know how great is “the push” to secede because it has not been put to the test in our Country.

I say the people will go for secession with a sizeable majority if given the chance. Alternatively Parliament can hold a general election on this issue with a two thirds majority in the Commons under the Fixed Term Parliament Act of 2010. Labour under Corbyn, if he is elected Leader of the Opposition can unite with the Tories to secure that two thirds majority. I suspect Corbyn is anti-European like Harold Wilson in the 1960’s-1970’s, and the Conservatives could rely on his support to go to the Country on the Union and our secession. Politics is wheeling and dealing. We would have a government of National Unity in my view on European policy. The new Conservative Leader should seriously consider this option. I will be told I am “star gazing”. I disagree.

5. Conclusion

We have been kept out of the big decisions in Europe. Merkel masterminded the Ukraine truce without our involvement. That was a sign of the miniscule status of England in her eyes and Russia’s perspective. She will never “win a war” and her Ukraine deal is unlikely to last. France plays second fiddle to Berlin in so many matters in Europe. If we do not pull out now more valuable time will be lost and more of our people will be persuaded over to damaging European ideas by inferior Continental influences. I consider that to be a poor state of affairs which is gaining ground presently in our land. Essentially the English & Welsh people are being made to feel selfish and self-centred by thinking of seceding. No! You only teach by clear example, not by innuendo and infiltration. The example we should profer is national self-determination and accountability to our nation of England & Wales. The Union steers clear of this example: The nation state is impoverished and everything is made subordinate to Europeanism and financial hand outs.

The European Parliament is trivial and laughable. Brussels controls these “subsidies” which raise the European Bureaucracy (the Commission) above national self-government. These handouts keep France, Germany, Italy and other countries quiet with their farmers lapping it all up. They are immoral payouts in my view as they are not justifiable commercially, economically or agriculturally. The great financial centres of Europe: Frankfurt, Paris (Le Bourse) and London (The City) simply bind together like glue to suit these financiers. Yes I do say: tear the Continent of Europe apart from England & Wales to recreate our Country to forge its own destiny. We have allies in the USA and our former Colonies and previous Dominions to make alliances with if the Continent goes sour and against us after secession.

Someone must stand up to this Goliath of Europe – it will have to be “David” of this little England I speak of. It will mean courage to “take the stand” but our Countrymen depend on us as the Israelites did on David. Political character and independence, based on true liberty of action and power of judgement, must come before mere free trade and access to markets. What matters most? Is it your soul or your stomach? I need not trouble you further my readers. Heath and Macmillan would be right behind me and our Countrymen. They were not leaders of sheep; they were true leaders of Englishmen and women. What is equally important is they were Conservative Prime ministers of real vision. Let us have the clarity and foresight to match the resolve they showed in the 1960’s and Heath’s Administration (1970-1974).