Rooting around, as one does, on the Internet occasionally throws up little gems of history. I found today the text of the pamphlet that was distributed to every household in the UK prior to the 1975 Referendum on staying in or leaving the Common Market. You may find the whole text here and I commend it to you as a fascinating read. Much of it seems so dated today, expressed as it is in deeply patronizing terms and touching upon matters which seemed so important them but which have long since ceased to exercise us, perhaps because we no longer have any control over them anyway.

For example, there is a section onwhat effect that our being in the Common Market would have on our relations with the Commonwealth. We were then much exercised about this and how our relationships with our kith and kin would be sundered if we were part of the Common Market. Nowadays it is difficult to believe that anyone would be in the least bit bothered one way or the other, or that we would bother to consult the Governments even of Australia or Canada.

Another was this gem:

As a result of these negotiations the Common Agricultural policy (known as CAP) now works more flexibly to the benefit of both housewives and farmers in Britain. The special arrangements made for sugar and beef are a good example.

Did we really go about worrying ourselves to death over whether Wilson and his crew had sorted out the price of sugar? It seems another, much more innocent world.

Pro Referendum Rally

I have, however, selected two quotes which I believe bear revisiting.

Under the heading “Your right to choose”, the pamphlet opened thus:

The coming Referendum fulfils a pledge made to the British electorate in the general election of February 1974.

The Labour Party manifesto in the election made it clear that Labour rejected the terms under which Britain’s entry in to the Common Market had been negotiated, and promised that, if returned to power, they would set out to get better terms.

The British people were promised the right to decide through the ballot box whether or not we should stay in the Common Market on new terms.

And that the Government would abide by the result.

That is why the Referendum is to be held.

How unlike our own dear Gordon Brown. Harold Wilson was, we all thought, a slippery customer and a most devious man, but as a consummate politician he well understood the value of a promise of this kind. Then there was none of the dishonourable evasion there is today: a promise was a promise and so we had our referendum. How satisfactory it was is another matter, as we shall see, but we got what the Prime Minister promised.

The second little gem is this:

Fact No. 2. No important new policy can be decided in Brussels or anywhere else without the consent of a British Minister answerable to a British Government and British Parliament.

The top decision-making body in the Market is the Council of Ministers, which is composed of senior Ministers representing each of the nine member governments.

It is the Council of Ministers, and not the market’s officials, who take the important decisions. These decisions can be taken only if all the members of the Council agree. The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests. Ministers from the other Governments have the same right to veto.

All the nine member countries also agree that any changes or additions to the Market Treaties must be acceptable to their own Governments and Parliaments.

Remember: All the other countries in the Market today enjoy, like us, democratically elected Governments answerable to their own Parliaments and their own voters. They do not want to weaken their Parliaments any more than we would.”

That was, indeed, the position then: “The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests.” In the thirty-two years which have passed since that referendum, it is important to consider for a moment just how that has changed. Our ability to veto that which is not in the British interest has been progressively and comprehensively stripped from us. If the Treaty which Vanity Blair so casually signed in June ever comes into force, the UK will be able to veto almost nothing and certainly not anything important. Yet this was the basis upon which the whole-hearted consent of the British people obtained. The politicians effectively promised us that we would be able to retain control over anything, anything at all which we considered to be in British interests. It was untrue as I am sure they knew then.

In retrospect we can see that it was a promise they had no intention of keeping and that they have been betraying that promise ever since with every new cession of power to the EU. Blair’s Treaty pretty well completes the process. In other words our whole-hearted consent was obtained by a wholly bogus and fraudulent promise which went to the absolute heart of the Referendum, nay WAS the heart of the Referendum.

Is it any wonder that we do not trust our politicians when they lie and cheat so?

Well, I for one, rereading that document, feel morally entirely released from any obligation to respect the will of the people as expressed by that Referendum. It was a consent obtained by fraud, a deliberate lie. In criminal law, consent obtained by fraud is no consent.

When we get a referendum on the latest surrender of power, as we shall, I shall work tirelessly to get the very biggest majority we can against the Treaty, so big that the Government will have no choice but to consider if we can remain a member of the EU.