During the course of the EU referendum campaign, both sides have claimed that the former British Prime Minister, the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher would have supported their campaign.
The ‘Remain’ campaign say that it is clear that Mrs Thatcher would be pro-remain. They cite three main points – firstly, that Mrs Thatcher campaigned on the ‘remain’ side in the EEC referendum of 1975.
Secondly, that while in office, Mrs Thatcher signed the Single European act, a treaty that substantially moved forward the process of European integration and regulation.
Thirdly, they say that if alive today the former Prime Minister would have made a hard-headed decision to remain based on trade and other economic factors.
In this short essay we will attempt to address each of these issues and detail, with annotations and citations why we believe beyond doubt that Mrs Thatcher would not only would vote for Brexit today, but would be actively campaigning for it.
Mrs Thatcher’s views on ‘Europe’ (by which we mean the EC, EEC and later the EU) can be described in terms of four broad phases:
Phase one – her views before she became Prime Minister, Phase two – her views on Europe during the height of her powers as Prime Minister, phase three – her views towards the end of her premiership; finally, her views after the EEC became the EU after the Maastricht Treaty was enacted. Continue reading Brexit, EFTA and Mrs Thatcher→
As a small child, so small I no longer remember the specifics of the question, I asked my father about immigration. While I can no longer recall the question, his answer will remain with me forever.
“Anyone who wants to come and work, pay taxes and raise their children is as British as you or I.”
And that small child grew up into the sort of person who knows the SECOND verse of the Marseilles. The sort who secretly listens to French pop music. The type of person who always has enough Euros in his wallet to grab a pack of Galois, an expresso and a copy of the IHT wherever he has ended up. And the where has included living and working across Europe and beyond. Therefore, the principle of free movement of workers – if not the implementation – is something for which I am passionate advocate.
Consequently, people are often surprised by my opposition to the EU. “But you love Europe”, they exclaim. “It will still be there after we leave the EU”, I respond.
Effectively there are two clubs that can play in the single market I explain. The European Union is the club for countries that plan to federate.
The European Free Trade Association is the trade bloc-alternative for European states who are unwilling to join the federation.
If we do not plan to federate I argue, we should be in the latter.
Why joining the European Free Trade Association would be better for the UK than EU membership:
Will we have any say over the rules?
Critics argue that if we leave and rejoin EFTA we will still “have to obey EU rules”.
Let’s be clear – the EU has very little influence over EFTA states.
The EFTA states are exempt from most of the contentious EU policy areas such as:
Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies
Common Trade Policy
Common Foreign and Security Policy
Justice and Home Affairs
Monetary Union (EMU)
The areas in which the EU does have control are largely those to do with the single market, product standards and regulations. In many cases these rules are simply European interpretations of standards agreed at regional or global standard-setting bodies.