Perhaps, I had better start with declaring my interests: not only am I a confirmed Anglospherist but the two authors, Iain Murray and James C. Bennett are good friends of mine with whom I have conducted many discussions in cyberspace and face to face. In fact, when I raised one or two objections to the article, I got helpful responses from the authors, which told me something that did not surprise me: the original draft was a little less complimentary to our Prime Minister.
I consider the authors' account of what Britain lost in joining the EEC and of the problems the eurozone and with it the EU is facing completely accurate. Naturally enough, I agree with their main thesis: this country should not belong to the sclerotic, bureaucratic, protectionist would-be European state that is not and cannot be expected to be based the Anglospheric political, constitutional and judicial ideas.
There are a few problems, though. In the first place, there are mistakes in this:
The European Economic Community (EEC) for which the British signed up in a 1975 referendum—a community of free trade and cooperation, not supranational bureaucracy—is long gone. Worse, even today's less-palatable EU will soon no longer be on offer.There is the basic mistake of assuming that Britain signed up to the EEC in a referendum. As we all know, the 1975 referendum was called after two years of membership and some cosmetic "renegotiation", the gist of which nobody can recall. The question was not about whether anybody wanted to go into the EEC but whether they wanted to stay in.
Nor is it true to say that the EEC was ever a community of free trade and cooperation. At best it was a customs union with the Preamble to the Treaty of Rome speaking frankly of an ever-closer union of the peoples of Europe. The fact that so many voters preferred not to find out what they were voting about does not make the myth true.
More importantly, the article perpetuates the myth of David Cameron standing up for Britain, splitting the EU, creating a new role for Britain and so on, though there is a clear indication that he mucked up the negotiations. Readers of this blog cannot remain unaware of reiterated comments about what really happened at those negotiations. In case anyone has forgotten, here is a reminder. In brief: there was no treaty, no veto and no assurance that Britain may have gained anything. The chance to repatriate powers was given away as that cannot happen without a full IGC and a new treaty.
Still, one cannot argue with an article that ends with these words:
Up to now, however, the U.S. has pursued a policy of propping up the euro while discouraging British independence from Brussels. This is incredibly short-sighted. Using the vehicles of the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund to try to fill the gaping hole in Europe's finances will get everybody nowhere. Instead, British, American and Canadian policy makers (along with their Nafta partners in Mexico) should be taking the long view and preparing for a future in which the unsustainable euro zone inevitably collapses. Welcoming Britain back into the North Atlantic economic community would be a win-win for all involved.It is unlikely to happen for a while since Britain is not free to join anything while she remains in the EU and that has not changed, despite the post European Council grandstanding.