The one thing Ted Heath gets credit for is negotiating Britain's entry into the Common Market. The terms of Britain's entry were greatly advantageous to the existing members, as Britain paid in millions more than it got back. Taking Britain into Europe was clearly his proudest achievement as Prime Minister (which is not very surprising when you consider what an unmitigated disaster everything else was).
The Labour front bench had always been divided on the issue, and gradually Harold Wilson had become persuaded by Tony Benn that the political solution to this problem was to promise the British people a referendum on whether or not Britain should stay in the Common Market. This was duly held in June 1975, and remains the only time a national single-issue vote has been held across the United Kingdom.
The debate tended to centre on the cost of baked beans and fish fingers rather than any lofy ideas of sovereignty and nationhood, and Britain decided by two to one that it could live with German umlauts and French accents on its Alphabetti Spaghetti.
The EEC later became the EC. No one is quite sure what happened to the extra 'E'; some think it might have been accidentally lost by incompetent Brussels bureaucrats, others that it was taken by the French to stick on the end of 'Concorde'. Either way, the community became about much more than just trade barriers, but at no point in the 1970s did the politicians actually stand up and warn the British public. Well, one or two did, but unfortunately it tended to be the likes of Enoch Powell or Tony Benn, which left most of the British people convinced that their dire warnings of the ending of a thousand years of British history was as nutty as everything else those loonies generally ranted on about.
It's the same today, of course. You see the list of sovereign rights being surrendered by Westminster and feel unsure that you are entirely comfortable with this. And then you see the people campaigning most vigorously against Europe, the Thatcherite relics of the Tory Party or the wild-eyed bigots of UKIP, and you think, 'Blimey, there's no way I'm being seen to agree with that lot; sure, aboish the House of Commons, swap the Pound for the euro.'
source: a book
Last Edit: Nov 11, 2019 19:21:14 GMT by naughtyfox
Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.
I hope that I never become famous and someone trawls my contributions on this site looking for the odd post which may be offensive.
And still doing so, as he has been back outside parliament since Wednesday.
"Steve Bray was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Cynon Valley constituency in the 2019 United Kingdom general election. The Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, noted that Bray was a passionate campaigner and should not be seen as a joke candidate. He came 6th of 7 candidates with 949 votes, 3.1% of the total, and lost his deposit. "