Will Hutton might consider that, at least in Britain, there would have been none of this if the trade union closed shop had never been abolished. Requiring the production of a union card is no different from requiring the production of a British passport or a work permit. The closed shop was as important for that as it was for giving the Tory forty-five per cent of the industrial working-class a moderating influence in the selection of Labour candidates for the safe Labour seats in which they lived.
New Labour's repudiation of the trade union movement was very much like its repudiation of Clause IV. That Clause did not mention nationalisation, although it certainly allowed for it; it had been framed so that people who already had nationalisation in mind could read that presupposition into it, even though no one could have read that presupposition out of it. But Tony Blair and his fan club thought that it was about nothing else.
So, in repudiating it, they repudiated public ownership in order to repudiate everything that public ownership delivered and safeguarded, notably national sovereignty, the Union, and the economic basis of paternal authority. Likewise, in repudiating trade unionism, they repudiated controlled immigration and the moderating influence of the wider electorate in the affairs of the Labour Party. Mercifully, that last, at least, reasserted itself in the victory of Ed Miliband over the Blairite candidate.
Miliband could demonstrate that by tabling an amendment to disapply in the United Kingdom anything passed by the European Parliament but not by the majority of those MPs certified as politically acceptable by one or more seat-taking MPs, thus freeing us from the legislative will of Communists, Trotskyists, neo-Fascists, neo-Nazis, Eastern European kleptomaniacs, French and German neoconservatives, people who believe the Provisional Army Council to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland, and Dutch ultra-Calvinists who forbid women from being candidates for public office.
Never mind those to whose legislative will William Hague would subject us: Islamists, Ba’athists, Nasserists, Phalangists, Kahanists, people who would denaturalise both the Haredim and the Arabs, and people who believe that Gentiles were created as beasts of burden.