Margaret Thatcher, a discription of the European Union
Europe, she had concluded after years of trying was “fundamentally unreformable”. It was “an empire in the making . . . the ultimate bureaucracy”, founded on “humbug”; inherently protectionist, intrinsically corrupt, essentially undemocratic, and dedicated to the destruction of nation states.
“It is in fact a classic utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme whose inevitable destiny is failure.” That being so, she now called, as she had never done so explicitly before, for a fundamental renegotiation of Britain’s membership, and if that failed — as it was bound to do— for Britain to be ready to leave the union and join the North American Free Trade Area instead, turning its back on the whole disastrous folly.
We would all recognise that description of the EU today but at the time the general opinion was that she had lost touch with reality:
This time the consensus was clear, right across the political spectrum, that she had finally lost touch with reality. Her reading of history was denounced as blinkered nonsense; the option of renegotiation was dismissed as fantasy; the idea of withdrawal as simply impractical. In the Commons, Tony Blair challenged Iain Duncan Smith to disown her views. “To talk about withdrawal and rule out the single currency whatever the circumstances is not an act of patriotism. It is an act of folly.”
Mrs Thatcher was though truly ahead of our time and one of the very few Prime Ministers to actually represent the British people!
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