Mrs T puts the ball squarely in the back of the net in her Bruges speech made in 1988. The historic speech, spawning The Bruges Group, was delivered at Bruges in September 1988. Famously rejecting the centralised, unaccountable, federal Europe of Delors, Margaret Thatcher proposed instead a wider, decentralised, outward-looking democratic Europe of independent, freely- trading and cooperating nation states.
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." T.E. Lawrence; Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Each passing week sees the European referendum debate stepping up a gear and with it the rhetoric edging closer and closer still to the edge of the cliff signposted, 'barmy.' Last weeks offerings stretched credulity by offering both Hitler and Churchill in equal measure along with the not inconsiderable feat, from the Prime Minister, of including the dead of two world wars. Gordon Brown stepped forward to calm things down and instructed us in earnest Presbyterian tones that it would be un-British to leave the EU. Thank you Gordon. As it happens, one of the few quietly sensible reasons for Remain that I have yet heard is that the EU prevents some of the worst excesses of national governments, 'just think what Brown could have done to us had he been unleashed from the restrictions imposed by being part of the EU,' said my chum over a glass.
Despite all the made up bilge that has poured out the polls remain remarkably consistent. They suggest that Remain have a lead of up to 10 points but are vulnerable to turnout numbers on the day and the 'fuck it,' factor. I don't use the phrase lightly. The backlash against the Establishment elites, which really started with the Arab Spring, has manifested itself across Europe and most prominently in the US with support for Donald Trump. National politicians and the media who get animated about Trump and sneer at his supporters are rather missing the point. Many if not most of his supporters are not Trump acolytes. They are simply fed up. Fed up working longer and harder for less. Fed up seeing their aspirations, ambitions and dreams being trampled on and fed up watching the relentless growth in the wealth gap between the super rich and the rest with no conceivable way of joining then party. The non stop lecturing from the inner circles of international finance, the Bank of England, (who mostly should at this point shut up), and supportive media like the Economist may just provoke a Trump like backlash from British voters that they least want. Such a backlash, and I do believe it is fermenting, would slice through that 10 point lead.
In fact, the Economist is becoming ever more shrill in it's warnings. Good thing the Economist rarely gets the big calls right then otherwise we'd all have Euro's in our pockets. No matter, it is to the Economist we look to find a letter from a reader in the United States who articulates rather well how the US election cycle has got to where it is. This is what Mr Mark Kraschel of Portland Oregon has to say,
From where I am standing, the Remain campaign would do well to take a big dose of humility and immediately stop hectoring from the pulpit. We don't like being threatened and no one likes a bully. Similarly, the Leave campaign must start explaining the positives of leaving and how the mechanics of extraction will work in practice and do so with calm authority and dignity. I'm obviously not holding out much hope for any of this to transpire and confidently expect proceedings to deteriorate into an unseemly squabble punctuated with more hysterical warnings of plague and pestilence from a political rabble who are increasingly detached from Planet Reality. Voters will take action accordingly.
William Hague threw his hat in the ring today supporting retention of our membership of the EU. As the referendum debate warms up over the holiday, before getting into full swing in 2016, I hate to disappoint Mr Hague and his fellow EU enthusiasts but he, and they, are wrong. Here's why.
I had the deep joy of popping over to South Harting the other day to listen to Mrs Flashbang and her chums in 'A Choir Called Dave,' for their Christmas concert. I sat next to an old boy and this is how the conversation went,
'Are you from the village?'
'No,' I said, 'I'm from just outside Compton, (two miles away),'
'Oh,' he said, 'It's different over the hill.'
It's a lot more different in France mate I thought. Hague and Co have their hands full if they think this lot are going to sit down and quietly give an inch after being taken for a mile for the last thirty five years.
'For decades, some have argued that stability required highly controlling regimes, and that reform and openness would put that stability at risk,' David Cameron said speaking in Kuwait.
He went on to say, ""As recent events have confirmed, denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse."
I have just one question for Mr Cameron, his cabinet and the shower of 650 MP's who once elected largely pursue any path other than the one voters would wish,
Where's our referendum on Europe? When is it our turn to vote?
We don't care about a referendum on Alternative Voting which is just a distraction to quieten down the tofu munchers. We want a say in the kind of country we will leave to our children. We want a vote on Europe.
Right, I'll get my placard and get down to the High Street, throw my shoes in the air and start twittering, (isn't that how the revolution thing works these days?).