EU membership: the road to serfdom

By April 14, 2016February 18th, 2021No Comments

The EU is one of history’s most spectacular failures

Below is a transcript of the first part of a speech given by Leo McKinstry, a Northern Irish journalist and former Labour councillor, at an event hosted by Voices for Britain, on 2 March 2016.


The debate about the European Union is utterly surreal, a flight into absurdist fantasy.

To hear the REMAIN campaigners talk, you would think that the EU is a vibrant, healthy, well-run institution which serves our national interests by promoting prosperity and peace.

But that is a grotesque delusion bred of the most desperate wishful thinking. In reality, the EU is one of history’s most spectacular failures. It is a wholly dysfunctional, utterly mismanaged organisation where ideology and bureaucracy have replaced efficiency and democracy.

It is an ill-conceived experiment which has gone horribly wrong for decades, yet its supporters continue to insist that we must continue to be part of this gigantic project, even as it threatens the very existence of European civilisation.

Dream turns into nightmare

The dream of the federalist unity has turned into a nightmare for so many citizens of Europe. In a speech last year, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, proclaimed:

To my mind, hardly anything so perfectly embodies the achievements of European unification as open borders.

Yet those same open borders have brought us the squalor of the Jungle camp in Calais and the frontier rioting in Macedonia.

Similarly, the federalist zealots’ obsessions with unrestricted free movement and cultural diversity brought the horrors of the mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

Catastrophe on every front

It is the same story of catastrophe on every front where the EU operates.

The European single currency, essentially a political initiative to drive further integration, has entrenched mass unemployment on an appalling scale. The livelihoods of millions, especially in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, have been sacrificed on the altar of the federalist creed.

The EU is rightly a byword for institutionalized extravagance, waste and abuse of public money. This is an outfit that has not had its accounts properly cleared for 19 years yet has 10,000 officials who enjoy a take-home pay higher than our own Prime Minister’s.

EU regulation on the “Marketing of Hazel-nuts” contains 2,509 words, compared with just 70 in the Lord’s Prayer. In 2012, a high-level meeting was held in Brussels, attended by 76 officials as well as the President of the European Parliament, to agree the name for a corridor in one of its buildings. The meeting failed to reach a decision.

Eager to create all its own trappings of statehood, the EU has its own self-serving, expensive diplomatic service with offices in Barbados and Papua New Guinea.

Wrong then, wrong now

This is the useless, destructive organisation to which the Remain camp insists that we must be shackled. But how seriously should we take their judgement?

These are, after all, the people who predicted that Britain’s refusal to join the single currency would be an economic disaster, whereas the real catastrophe has been the debt-laden, sclerotic Euro.

They wail about a leap into the unknown, yet there is nothing remotely “unknown” about Britain’s status outside the EU. We would just be returning to the position we held for centuries when we were a free, independent and highly successful nation.

Indeed, there is nothing eccentric about non-EU membership. The world has 195 sovereign nations; 167 manage to exist without interference from Brussels, including the two most prosperous nations in Europe: Switzerland and Norway.

Some of the REMAIN campaigners say that they accept the EU is dysfunctional but that we should stay to help the process of reform. But that is more nonsense. The charade of the Prime Minister’s negotiations has shown that the EU is not remotely interested in reform, only in the fulfilment of its doctrine of federal integration. That is why the other EU members would not tolerate even minor changes to Britain’s welfare benefits for immigrants.

Destroying the nation state

The deceit is particularly telling when it comes to the politicians, who still peddle the myth that membership of the EU involves no real loss of British sovereignty. But that is just another lie. The entire aim of the EU is to destroy the existence of the traditional nation state and create a new federal entity. That is why the EU leaders are so fixated by the single currency, mass immigration and free movement: they are vehicles for achieving those ends.

At the visitors’ centre to the European Parliament is a plaque with these words:

National Sovereignty is the root cause of most of the evils of our times. The only remedy to this evil is the federal union of the peoples.

They were written by Philip Kerr, later the Marquess of Lothian, who was a British diplomat and arch-appeaser in the build-up to World War Two. Like the modern zealots, he never dropped his doctrinaire outlook. Even on the eve of the Battle of Britain in 1940, he was urging Winston Churchill’s government to reach a peace deal with Hitler’s regime.

A history of poor judgement

But why should we pay any attention to the political leaders at the head of the Remain camp, given their appalling misjudgements in the recent past?

David Cameron, now indulging in endless scare stories about Brexit, helped to deepen the misery of the Syrian civil war with his support for the anti-Assad rebels, whose force included a host of extremist elements. This is a Prime Minister who in 2013 actually wanted us to wage a military campaign on behalf of the insurgents.

He showed the same terrifying impulse for international folly by aggressively supporting the anti-Gaddafi uprising in Libya, which has brought chaos to that country. It is hardly a record that inspires confidence.

Cameron is also an enthusiast for the extension of EU membership to Turkey, a move that is bound to accelerate the immigration crisis.

And why should we listen to the thoughts of Tony Blair on the subject – the man who dragged us into the most misguided invasion of modern times, on the basis of a false, probably illegal prospectus – or heed the views of John Major, given that he clung so desperately to the Exchange Rate Mechanism even at the pit of recession, notoriously describing any moves to withdraw as fool’s gold?

None of these people have an ounce of credibility.

Labour’s support for the European project

But what I find extraordinary is the stance of the Labour Party. I used to be a Labour member until 1995 and served not only as a Parliamentary aide to Harriet Harman but also as an activist in Islington North, where, for a decade, I sat at the right hand side of Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour’s deepening support for European integration was a major factor in my disillusionment. I could not understand why a party that was meant to support democracy, the interests of the working class, the resilience of British industry and social solidarity should support an organisation that is the very antithesis of all these vital interests.

Labour used not to be like this.

Under Clement Attlee, the party was profoundly ambivalent about the Schuman Plan in 1950, which was the blueprint for the creation of the European Economic Community. Attlee’s successor, Hugh Gaitskell, was openly hostile, famously declaring at one Labour conference that membership of the Community would mark “the end of a thousand years of British history“.

Labour remained deeply divided in the 1970s, hence the initiative of Tony Benn in proposing a referendum on Community membership in 1975 – and, in the early 1980s, the party even advocated withdrawal because it saw the Common Market as nothing more than a capitalist club.

Delors’ ‘Social Europe’

But all that changed towards the end of the decade, when French socialist Jacques Delors became President of the Commission. He pointed out that the European Community did not have to be a bankers’ ramp – instead, it could be a vehicle for the advancement of socialism, trade union rights, redistribution of wealth and the extension of welfare. All this could be achieved, he told the delighted comrades at the TUC conference in 1988, without having to win a British general election.

The comrades were won over. Soon, Euro-enthusiasm became the abiding feature of the modern Labour movement. The old suspicions vanished. European integration became the ultimate emblem of British progressive thought, associated with multicultural vibrancy and trendy globalisation. On the other hand, Euroscepticism grew to be seen as a reactionary force, xenophobic, outdated, nationalistic, the creed of bigots and the small-minded.

Denial of democracy

Yet it never ceases to amaze me that acceptance of Brussels rule is seen as a progressive development. It is the very opposite.

It is the denial of democracy. The EU represents a throwback to Europe’s past, when the people were governed by unaccountable, unelected oligarchies acting entirely in their own interests. Who elected Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the EU? Did any British people vote for Martin Schulz or Donald Tusk?

A free, sovereign nation should have control over its own laws, taxes, welfare, and borders. But that is precisely what the EU denies us. Here is what Tony Benn, that darling of progressives, wrote in his diary after a visit to Brussels in 1974:

The huge Commission building in Brussels is absolutely un-British. I felt as if I were going as a slave to Rome. The whole relationship was wrong. Here was I, an elected man who could be removed, and here were these people with more power than I had and no accountability to anybody. My visit confirmed in a practical way all my suspicions that this would be the decapitation of British democracy without any countervailing advantage.

That was written 42 years ago, when we were only in the Common Market. How much worse the erosion of democracy has become since we were sucked into the embrace of the European Union, the embryonic superstate.