Monday, 21 January 2019

Inner World, Not Outer Europe

And still they blather on about EFTA, as if it made them sound clever or well-informed. They do not really want to leave the EU, and they think that it only went bad at some point in the very late 1980s. But in any case, EFTA would never let us back in. There are two reasons for that. 

First, the sheer size our economy would unbalance the whole thing completely. And secondly, the only point of EFTA is, and has always been, as a holding centre for countries where the Political Class wanted to join the EU, but where enough of the electorate remained sufficiently unconvinced. Britain was the principal force in the creation of EFTA in 1960, when Harold Macmillan's Britain was exactly that kind of country.

To this day, 46 years after we left, EFTA's working language remains British Standard English. In global terms, that still packs something of a cultural punch, but it is now a niche provincial dialect from a commercial or a political point of view, and it is mostly known around the world for its picturesque eccentricities.

That was scarcely less the case in 1960, for reasons fundamental to the Conservative Government's desperation to join what Hugh Gaitskell had denounced as "the end of a thousand years of history", just as the Attlee Government had identified it from the very start as "the blueprint for a federal state", with Herbert Morrison rejecting membership of the European Coal and Steel Community on the grounds that "the Durham Miners would never wear it". Until they would wear it, and Macmillan also later called them "the best men in the world", then there would have to be EFTA.

10 countries have ever been members of EFTA, and six of them, including five of the seven original members, have left it in order to join the EU. Those seven original members used to be known as the Outer Seven, while the members of the EEC were the Inner Six. Neither in intention nor in effect has EFTA ever been an alternative to the EU, still less an equal or a rival. Both in intention and in effect, it has only ever been, and it will only ever be, a preliminary, Outer stage on the road to the eventual, Inner destination.

No country has ever left EFTA except to join the EU. No country ever will leave EFTA except to join the EU. That is exactly what EFTA is for. And no country that had ever left the EU will ever be allowed to join EFTA. That is exactly what EFTA is not for. I do not know why people who do not understand even these basic things are allowed to have a say over them, but another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

I will stand for this parliamentary seat of North West Durham, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. By common consent, Labour, the Conservatives and I are each on 30 per cent support, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. Please email Very many thanks.

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