Coffee House

What David Cameron plans to say in his Europe speech

9 January 2013

5:57 PM

9 January 2013

5:57 PM

David Cameron’s big Europe speech is now less than a fortnight away. It will be, I suspect, the most consequential speech of his premiership.

When you look at the challenges involved, one can see why the speech has been delayed so many times. Cameron needs to say enough to reassure his party, which has never been more Eurosceptic than it is now. But he also needs to appeal to European leaders, whose consent he will need for any new deal. At the same time, he’s got to try and not create too much nervousness among business about where all this will end up.

I understand that he intends to argue that Britain needs to remain inside the single market. But he will commit to a renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership, starting after the next election. Once this process is complete, the British people will be offered a refendum between staying in on the new terms Cameron is confident he can negotiate or leaving the European Union altogether.


This means that Cameron intends for the Conservative party to campaign for Britain to stay in the EU, albeit on new terms. If he is going to persuade his party to do this, then he is going to have to bring back terms of membership very different than Britain’s current ones. Exempting the NHS from the working time directive or repatriating regional funding can only be the beginning. But if this is all Cameron can get, the Tory party will face its greatest split since the Corn Laws.

What is worrying a growing number of Cabinet ministers is that Cameron isn’t prepared to countenance leaving. They worry that the only way that the Prime Minister will have the negotiating leverage that he needs, will be if he makes clear that if he can’t get what he wants he’s prepared to recommend that the British people vote out.

Cameron’s confidence that he can negotiate new terms stems from his belief that Angela Merkel will help him out. The EU budget negotiations and the protections for the non-eurozone, single market countries in the banking union have been taken by Downing Street as a sign that Germany is willingness to accommodate Britain’s concerns

But Downing Street needs to be careful. It has misread the signals from Berlin before. Indeed, that’s why Cameron had to use the veto in 2011.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • MacTurk

    Mr Cameron’s ‘plan’ then, is that he “…will commit to a renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership, starting after the next election. Once this process is complete, the British people will be offered a refendum between staying in on the new terms Cameron is confident he can negotiate or leaving the European Union altogether.

    So, IF the Tories get back on their own, after the next election, they will TRY to renegotiate “…Britain’s terms of membership…”. Leaving to one side the fact that there is, effectively, no interest in cutting Britain a special deal, the plan is already suffering from two ‘Maybes’. Then it hits the wall of EU reality, which is unlikely to offer Mr Cameron anything which he can offer to the British public.

    In that context, will there be a referendum, at all? Unless it is on a simple “In/Out” question, which Mr Cameron is on record as saying he does not support, what is there to offer?

    This is not a plan, it is flow chart of delusions and pious hope. In reality, this miasma only offers failure to Mr Cameron, one way or another. The only way out is to loose the next election, which would tip the whole poisonous mess into Labour’s lap…..,

    Someone once said that “Should has no place in a plan of battle”. Mr Cameron,and the entire Tory party, have ignored that principle of strategy, preferring to rely on wishful thinking and groupthink, shading into mass delusion.

  • Paddy Briggs

    Great myths of our time. That Cameron “used the veto in 2011”. He may think he did. Not one of his European colleagues thought so. Utterly empty gesture.

  • Brian Mooney

    Perhaps the Cameroons are not being honest about the true nature of the EU.
    * EU legal precedent is that once powers have been transferred to the EU (then aka EEC) the loss of national sovereignty is PERMANENT. Perhaps why Labour didn’t try to bring back any powers in 1975?
    * The main goal of the EU is progressive economic and political integration. It would go against the legally binding goal of the EU to undermine it by giving powers back. The EU institutions responsible for agreeing Treaty changes (European Council, Commission and Parliament) are all bound by this goal.
    * EU reformists lean on Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty, which doesn’t talk of ‘powers’ but vague ‘competences’, which are effectively ‘permissions to act’. Only if the UK has ‘national competence’, it will still be heavily fettered by EU rules on how we can use it, and the EU can still legislate over our heads.
    In short, In Europe means ruled by it – repatriation of power is a mirage. The only game in town is withdrawal, taking up the EU promise of free trade and good working relations with neighbouring countries (cf. Treaty of Lisbon).

  • John Macgregor

    hes running scared , Cameron your out of your depth, & about to drown in your own lies .
    and the best thing thats comming out of this is no one will move one finger to help you
    so its hello from me & goodby from you

  • MacTurk

    “Exempting the NHS from the working time directive…”, because it is so much more sensible to have British doctors bombed out of their brains with fatigue toxins, so much better for patient outcomes, is it not?

    Dear dog, this is why you want to pull out of the EU? To return British hospitals to those conditions?

  • charles pugh

    what none of you guys mention is that if there were an in out referendum today, the likelihood is that it would result in a vote to stay in. Brits hate change.

  • roy may

    The real problem is this. Cameron will never be believed again regardless of any promise he makes over a referendum on the EU. Furthermore the economic position in which the nation now finds itself demands the cuts in public spending that are about to come into force. These cuts will affect many middle class “strivers” who are by and large the backbone of Tory support. That in its self could perhaps not have been such an overwhelming issue were it not for the looming inevitable mass immigration we are certain to receive from Rumania and Bulgaria next year. The “striving” middle and working class will see these new arrivals all legally entitled to housing benefit, job seekers, family allowance and credits together with free access to treatment on the overloaded NHS and free education in our already overcrowded schools. The funding of this will be paid for by OUR taxes and OUR previous NI contributions whilst these people have contributed nothing. Cameron is powerless to prevent this under EU rules and his point blank refusal to hold a referendum on EU membership is his Achilles heel.
    All this talk of reclaiming powers is utter balderdash, you know it and we know it and what is more you know that we know it. The EU will no doubt propose all kinds of spurious red herrings to pretend that they are in awe of Cameron in the hope it will prevent him holding an in/out referendum but alas the public are not as stupid as he likes to think. Cameron has blown it big time and UKIP are milking this with glee and substantial success. I do not expect UKIP to win outright in 2015 but they will destroy any chance of a Tory victory.
    The British public are utterly fed up with our laws being made in the EU and the cringing adherence of our successive governments subservience to the COHR. All this has got to stop and the LIBLABCON need to recognise that they are elected to SERVE the British people.

    I WILL BE VOTING UKIP so its goodby Cameron

  • roy may

    It is quite apparent that the overwhelming majority of comments do not believe a singe word Cameron says. For some reason the Conservative hard core do not understand this and seem to think that the electorate will fall for any old guff that Cameron spouts.

    Can we have some honesty from the Conservative hard core because we all know the following is FACT.
    Cameron CANNOT renegotiate our terms of EU membership as it is against the rules, so stop lying on this one.
    Cameron CANNOT deport terrorists without appeal, it is a clear breach of the “Human Rights “ legislation.
    Cameron CANNOT deny ANY immigrant benefits, healthcare or education as that too would breach their “Human Rights”.
    Cameron IS POWERLESS to prevent a massive influx of Rumanians and Bulgarians under the EU freedom of movement rules and they CAN and WILL in all probability claim benefits on day one of arrival.
    No doubt your benefit cuts will help to pay the bill and granny will have to sell her home to pay for care after a lifetimes contribution to the state

    So no more lies please just vote UKIP

  • Colonel Mustard

    He really does look like Blancmange Face in that picture.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    This speech is a waste of time – more can kicking. The Treaties make it clear: if you want to renegotiate with the EU, Article 50 is the only route and that signals that you intend leaving the EU.
    Cameron won’t use Article 50 because his objective is to keep us IN.
    A succession of EU Leaders have said renegotiation isn’t going to happen and now Rumpuy himself has said that the EU doesn’t need a new Treaty to get its way with the Euro Fiscal Union, so there will be no opportunity for Cameron to use that route.
    Cameron and the CONs are lying again. Their objective is to repatriate a few piddling little powers but leave the rest of the edifice intact and that isn’t what WE want.
    We want a free and fair IN/OUT Referendum or we vote UKIP and if that destroys the CONservative Party then so what …. it has betrayed the British people and we owe it no allegiance.


      Agreed entirely. We all know that Cameron wants to stay and become more closely integrated therefore everything he says to the contrary is now manifestly a lie.

    • Noa

      I’m coming to the view that, the majority of its citizens having already made their desire to be out clear; we should simply give notice of our leaving under the Article.

  • George_Arseborne

    His lips says it all. Emmm!!!Errr!!!Errrr!!! Aaaaa!!!!Absolutely nothing. I am confuse by the backbenchers in/out referendum and my boss Obama heckling me for a no referendum. Oh Ed Milliband take this away from me in 2015 please…

  • Austin Barry

    Cameron has now received the editorial comments from the United States on his speech and is currently amending it to accurately reflect US concerns.

    Nigel Farage might want to check his car’s brakes more frequently.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well what an effing surprise…Cameron wants us to stay in the EU, and there won’t be any referendum until after the next election…and it’s a case of “trust me, I’m a proctologist”.

    Really, thanks to the internet and also just repeat experience, the message has got through to a substantial part of the country that they have been had. “Renegotiation” is a nonsense. There can be no substantial renegotiation – the EU just doesn’t work like that. You might be thrown a bone (e.g. Leon Brittan’s suggestion that

    We need to have a sensible staged referendum process on our future e.g.

    1. Do you wish us to stay in the EU or to explore the alternative options?

    2. If yes, then there should be a subsequent referendum asking whether we wish to stay as we are (subject to possible minor amendment) or move to the core – Euro membership and Schengen.

    3. If no, then there should be a period of negotiation after which the government comes up with its exit plan whether it be complete independence, EEA, or a Swiss style agreement.

    Each stage of the referendum campaign should stretch over at least three months as this is an important decision and needs full public debate and disclosure .As thing stands it is very easy for a BSer like Cameron to mislead the public about alternative options etc.

  • David Lindsay

    Sod all, when we sit down and read it afterwards.

  • fred smith

    “Indeed, that’s why Cameron had to use the veto in 2011.”

    I suggest you look into this ‘veto’ a bit more carefully.

  • Noa

    Cameron has now got his orders on what suits him from Obama; watch him leap up for a biscuit from his master’s hand.

  • TheBoilingFrog

    There are no means to repatriate powers within the EU Treaties, as Van Rompuy quite rightly is making clear. Cameron is simply left at the mercy of an EU Treaty that may never appear, and even if it did would require the approval of 26 other countries to agree essentially that the UK should have a massive advantage within the Single Market at their expense. The whole project would unravel as a result – absolutely no way will the EU sanction such a move

    The article above is Beanoland stuff, not serious politics.

    The only way Cameron can repatriate powers is to invoke Article 50, thus forcing the EU to the negotiating table and from there agree terms that follow the Norway or Switzerland model.

    Sadly the Spectator like Cameron seem to think that a fake ‘repatriation of powers’ option will save his Premiership. It won’t.


      It is odd that a supposed politics publication consistently goes along with the manfest deceit (lie) that we can repatriate any powers at all. Does it believe this because Cameron has told them so at various BBQs and private soirees, or is it just all part of the bs that the ‘elite’ have decided hoi polloi need to be spun?

      • TheBoilingFrog

        I think it’s just part of the narrative. Our whole membership has been based on a lie; lied to on the way in, lied to as members and lied to as to the nature of our exit. The Spectator can’t been seen to buck the trend, and also as you say it has need for ‘access to MPs’ to maintain

  • London Calling

    Dave’s lips in the photograph looks like he’s mumbling .,,”Mums the
    word” and I guess he will be tight lipped until he makes his speech.
    Obviously he will need to please his audience at home and abroad. simple
    really. The rest is down to the craftsmanship of the script writers….

    Good Luck in Narnia once again Dave, don’t forget your fur coat this time…:O

  • barbie

    Well in the telegraph tonight the ‘wet rag’ as stated Cameron cannot expect any repatration of powers well before 2018. So whateveer he’s got to say as now been made entirely useless. Conservatives can now see there is no intention to even discuss any repatriation of powers and that leaders within Europe are not prepared to discuss it. They will proceed with fiscal union dispite Cameron saying they will have to have ‘treaty change’, which they say they won’t. It appears Cameron as no idea how this unelected club works, how they operate, and is to be treated like a school boy; if he puts up with this he’s really weak and no leader.
    So, if there’s no chance of having changes given to us, with many members already stating they won’t co-operate, Cameron as no way he can move, he’s been cornered by the wet rag. His only option is to hold the referendum and let the country decide things once and for all. Nigel Farage did warn him, but he called him ‘odd’ well, it looks as though Cameron as had more trust in more odd people than he thought, odd unelected boffins, who want our money but not us. Dump them and quick. Or Conservatives should realise Cameron’s stance is wrong, either give him an ultimatum or dump him; before the ruins this country once and for all, with Clegg beside him that’s more likely by the day. There will be no repatriation of powers we’ve been conned, Cameron as been exposed, he must go.

    • Dimoto

      If you really take that silly comic, the DT (2013) seriously, I think you have a problem.

      • fred smith

        Are you seriously arguing that Cameron’s renegotiation and repatriation of powers line is realistic and that Van Rompuy is supporting it?

    • Noa

      Europe’s leaders know he will be gone in 2015. Either a Eurosceptic Con/UKIP coalition could then be in power, or a Labour pro-EU sub-ministration.
      Assuming it still exists in a recognisable and meaningful form, the former will leave the the EU by 2018.
      The latter will watch helplessly from the sidelines as Brussels transforms itself into Stalin’s Moscow, waiting supinely for its-and our- latest instructions.

      • David Lindsay

        UKIP now openly wants a pact with Labour, or at any rate with Ed Miliband’s advisers’ sort of Labour, and has started purging people who might stand in the way of that. Beginning with a 20-year-old. But not ending with him.

        • Noa

          It’s January 2013, the general election is 29 months away. There will be much wind and fury between then and now.

          All options are open and feasible, including a Labour/UKIP co-operation agreement containing an in-out referendum.

          A Con/UKIP agreement is also possible, even with a Cameron desperate to stay in office, witness the 1939 Molotov/Ribbentrop pact.

          • Tom Tom

            Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was hardly surprising once the Anglo-Polish Alliance of March 1939became known…..if Britain was determined to involve itself in Poland it was pretty obvious someone needed to keep the USSR on its side and Admiral the Hon. Sir Reginald Aylmer
            Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, KCB,
            DSO, JP, DLwas not empowered to agree anything…….so the spectacle of Britain giving veto powers to Poland and no powers to its negotiators was bizarre even to Russians

            • Noa

              Insightful. So you think the Conservative party grandees would similarly veto an alliance or coalition with UKIP?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, they likely would. They’re reactionary, and that’s the reactionary response.

                As for UKIP, it would be a masterstroke for the United Kingdom Independence Party to offer a pact to each of the major political parties, and to make sincere note of the offer. It reinforces their prime goals, and forces the other parties to tip toward them as well, if only a little.

                The actual execution of any pact? That can be slowrolled as necessary, as it’s not an electoral necessity for UKIP, but very well might become one for others (the Cameroons and LD’s and select Millipedes). So UKIP can wait for favorable terms.

                • David Lindsay

                  All that they want is a commitment to an In-Out referendum (UKIP hands, make of that fact what you will). That was always going to be a Labour commitment in 2015. It was never going to be a Conservative one.

              • David Lindsay

                UKIP would never seek or accept one.

  • salieri

    This is, or should be, an important post. Why is it semi-literate?

    • barbie

      Don’t be rude we’re not all perfect.

      • salieri

        Nobody expects perfection, barbie. I’m not complaining about typos; we all make them. The Speccie used to be require reading, whether you agreed with its arguments or not, because it was (a) authoritative and (b) written in stylish and grammatical English. Now it is neither.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    What’s Cameron going to say about Europe?

    How about “Ich bin ein Berliner”?

    Hey, it worked for Kennedy.

    • salieri

      True, but it worked because there was a Wall at the time and, in the eyes of posterity, because ‘ein Berliner’ means a doughnut. Our PM needs a fresh angle. “Ich bin ein Pariser” would be unwise, as ‘ein Pariser’ means a French letter. There’s always Civis Romanus sum, which may be as much Latin as he remembers; but I’d suggest ‘Johnny Marr’.

    • Daniel Maris

      Are you an expert on Europe? I thought you lived in North America. And as far as I know you haven’t got a post-graduate qualification in European studies. So I guess your comment is to be considered “ignorant and uneducated” to coin a phrase.


        I would imagine the last thing that confers expert status on Europe is a ‘post-graduate qualification in European studies’! I blanche at the thought of the nature of such a course, undoubtedly promoted by Common Purpose.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Useless, no doubt, but that guy can’t even get that much education, apparently.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        “As far as you know…” ?

        Is that what the voices in your head are telling you?

    • Noa


  • DWWolds

    There’s an interesting article, dated 27 December, under the Europe section of Der Spiegel online.
    It is headed “EU Summit Reveals a Paralyzed Continent” and reveals just
    what a farce the EU, and specifically the cries of “unity” are. If it
    weren’t so serious it would be laughable.

  • LondonStatto

    “he will commit to a renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership, starting after the next election. Once this process is complete, the British people will be offered a refendum between staying in on the new terms Cameron is confident he can negotiate or leaving the European Union altogether.”

    Duh. It’s been obvious for months that this is the strategy, although apparently it has been invisible to many journalists…

    • barbie

      He can’t, he’s been told tonight by the ‘wet rag’ there is no possiblity until at least 2018, they are dicatating what we can and not do, time to leave pronto. What will Cameron have to say now in his famous speech its been blown apart by the wet rag tonight.

    • ButcombeMan

      It has been obvious that he keeps suggesting this but it is also obvious that the rules do not provide for it.

      Article 50.

  • Andy

    I do not see any hope that conditions will improve in the Eurozone over the next 2 years. If anything in many areas I expect a deterioration. With that in mind, and remember our people will be heading to France, Spain, Greece etc, etc, etc on holiday, does anyone seriously expect that the tide of outright hostility towards the European Union amongst many of our people to diminish anytime soon ? Nor do I.

    And I also think that ‘lectures’ from an Under Secretary of State can but help the anti EU cause. The momentum for a referendum, for allowing the people a say is now far too great to be ignored or to stop.

    One further thought: perhaps someone should tell the Americans that as things stand it is not the UK which is leaving the EU, it is the Eurozone who are busy leaving the EU.

    • Dimoto

      Strange that.
      I could have sworn that the bright new dawn being offered by UKIP included “being fully integrated into the Anglosphere, with a NAFTA type agreement for the UK”.

      Shame they didn’t check with the US first.

      • David Lindsay


        Those whingeing about the Obama Administration’s intervention,
        expressing the same view as every one of its predecessors since the
        1940s, you are the ones who want the whole world to be run by America.

        • Noa

          Qualified agreement on the first part of that point. Not on the second. Since Suez politicians of both parties in the UK have reluctantly accepted the need to grit their teeth and get used to de facto US supremacy. The alternative being isolation and possibly subjugation.

          The chimera that the EU has tantalizingly offered and cannot ever deliver, was that elusive British dream a route to maintain a balance of power. The failure was to ignore the EU’s own goals of empire and supremacy and our insinuation within it as a powerless client state.

          • Tom Tom

            No the truth is that Britain has never matched up to Germany without the US and British Empire. The US wanted the Empire to gain access to raw materials and Britain sold itself to the USA to fight Germany. Today Britain is only able to assert on the world stage by supplying Colonial Troops to US Military Forces much as Hessians did for the Hanoverian Kings of England

            • Noa

              You confirm my point; that British politicians have consistently failed to identify an effective counter-balance to respective the US and various European threats.

              • Tom Tom

                They could easily have built a European alliance but it would exclude France. British politicians are dunces speaking no languages save French and having no real understanding.

      • Noa

        Since 1998, when Labour came to power U.K.has run a consistent
        trade deficit mainly due to increase in demand of consumer goods,
        decline in manufacturing and deterioration in oil and gas production. In
        recent years, U.K. has run the biggest trade deficits with Norway,
        Germany, China, Hong Kong and Netherlands.
        The biggest trade surpluses
        were recorded with United States, United Arab Emirates, Australia and
        Saudi Arabia.
        Trade with the EU is decreasing as it declines.. Why would we not grow our trade elsewhere? And why wouldn’t the US want an FTA with us if we weren’t in the EU?

        • Tom Tom

          The last time Britain ran a Trade Surplus was 1981

  • Bluesman

    A proven liar promises the little people something after he gets what he wants in 2015. His faith in our gullibility must be boundless.

    Citizen Cameron, as you apparently read these comments, the only suitable response to this worthless effort (you will not be around in 2015) ends “and the horse you rode in on”.

    Article 50.

    Time to start the collation of “Cammies” as was done with Brownies.

  • tomdaylight

    Very encouraging. Cameron needs to make absolutely crystal clear to all concerned that he has never offered an in-or-out referendum before. The number of people who are convinced he has in the past reneged on the promise of holding one is staggering. The referendum he squelched on was merely on the narrow issue of the Lisbon treaty which would have effectively been the sort of in-in referendum those very same people have been scoffing at for the past few years.

    If he gets to the point of this referendum, in the terms set out here, I will be impressed. But I am not as convinced as Mr Forsyth that a division in opinion over the choice a referendum offers can break a political party. It’s not as if everyone goes to the polls in one block. Labour was divided on the AV issue and while it suffered in the elections held the same day, it doesn’t seem to have been done any lasting harm. (Unlike the Lib Dems, who backed the losing side to the hilt, and don’t seem to have got over it.) Surely a referendum is the perfect coping mechanism for a party that has two wildly contrasting opinions running through it.

    And for that matter, perhaps a little too much stock is being placed in Cameron’s recommendation to voters. Given Britain’s historic contempt for its political leaders, it’s not like many will abide by it…

  • david denton

    Biggest split since 1846 I think not. Dave is smart enough to realise that Europe is a great pretext for positioning the Tories as a centre right party whilst UKIP occupy the hard right. If a couple of dump backbenchers from Essex jump ship so much the better.

    • Colonel Mustard

      No. Cameron is positioning New Conservatives on the same ground as New New Labour which is to the left of centre, now the so-called “centre ground”. UKIP pretty much occupy a traditional right of centre Conservative position which is now being called “far right”, in part to undermine and discredit them. The old positions are no longer valid. Blair re-defined the centre ground after 1997 with the same cynical ploy the PRC used – the socialist embrace of predatory capitalism. We now have what can best be described as a quasi-Marxist corporate state – culturally Marxist, predatorily corporatist – which rules the ordinary lives of British people without empathy and reflects the basic nature of the EU project. That is not something to be pleased about as it does not serve ordinary British people but instead exploits them.

  • Albert Cooper

    It will be all,siiting on the fence, no real leadership,The USA and its lobby,its all about self interest,so lets have some for England

  • John_Page

    With DC’s record the country will give no credence to such flannel. More seriously for DC, his backbenchers know it.

  • CharlieleChump
    • the viceroy’s gin

      Well, Rumpypumpy is the boss, so In it is.

  • Tom Tom

    Speeches, Speeches…but never Deeds ! The Conservatives are the Integrationist Party – Heath negotiated for Macmillan; Heath offered Pompidou everything to let us join and told Rippon to sign. Thatcher was in Heath’s Cabinet – she was a Euro Enthusiast and signed up to most of the EU Treaties – Major went to battle over Maastricht and Cameron will continue the mission of bedding Britain down in Washington’s preferred solution to the European Island problem

    • dalai guevara

      ‘she was a Euro enthusiast’ – hahahhaaa
      The truth is finally out.

      • Tom Tom………….

        I welcome this opportunity to launch the Conservative
        campaign to keep Britain in Europe.

        It is not surprising that I, as Leader of the Conservative Party,
        should wish to give my wholehearted support to this campaign, for the
        Conservative Party has been pursuing the European vision almost as long
        as we have existed as a Party.

        It was Disraeli who said: “I assume also that no great power
        would shrink from its responsibilities … if that country from a
        perverse interpretation of its insular geographical position, turns an
        indifferent ear to the feelings and fortunes of continental Europe, such
        a course would, I believe, only end in it becoming an object of general

        “So long as the power and advice of England are felt in the
        Councils of Europe, peace I believe will be maintained, and maintained
        for a long period.”

        And, of course, that is right. We are inextricably part of
        Europe. Neither Mr. Foot nor Mr. Benn nor anyone else will ever be able
        to take us “out of Europe”, for Europe is where we are and where we have
        always been.[fo 1]

        It is a fact that there has been peace in Europe for the last
        quarter of a century, and for that alone I am grateful; that my children
        have not been embroiled in a European conflict as were the children of
        the previous two generations.

        Nor do I think that we should take this peace too much for
        granted, for it has been secured by the conscious and concerted effort
        of nations to work together.

        We are part of Europe. It was Churchill who, at the Congress of
        Europe in 1948, said: “The movement for European unity must be a
        positive force, deriving its strength from our sense of common spiritual

        “It is a dynamic expression of democratic faith, based upon moral
        conceptions and inspired by a sense of mission …”

        And as Harold Macmillan, who made Britain’s first application
        to join the Community, said: “We are European, geographically and
        culturally and we cannot, even if we would, disassociate ourselves from
        Europe”.[fo 2]

        That vision of Europe took a leap into reality on the 1st of
        January 1972 when, [ Edward Heath] Mr.
        Chairman, due to your endeavours, enthusiasm and dedication Britain
        joined the European Community.

        * The Community gives us peace and security in a free society, a
        peace and security denied to the past two generations.

        * The Community gives us access to secure sources of food
        supplies. This is vital to us, a country which has to import half of
        what we need.

        * The Community does more trade and gives more aid than any group
        in the world.

        * The Community gives us the opportunity to represent the
        Commonwealth in Europe. The Commonwealth want us to stay in and has said
        so. The Community wants us.

        Conservatives must give a clear lead and play a vigorous part in
        the campaign to keep Britain in Europe to honour the treaties which you,
        sir, signed in Britain’s name.

        We must do this, even though we dislike referenda. We must
        support the [ Harold Wilson] Prime Minister
        in this, even though we fight the Government on other issues.

        We must play our full part in ensuring that Conservative
        supporters say “Yes to Europe”.

        In particular, there is a duty on Conservative Members of
        Parliament who believe in and voted for Britain’s continuing membership
        of the Community to play a leading role in their own constituencies
        during the campaign.

        Members must give a lead both by their words and by their
        example.[fo 3]

        I note that a few left-wing politicians have been talking as if
        this campaign is about whether we should JOIN the European Community.

        It is not. We have been members for two and a half years.

        It is a question of whether we should leave.

        But for Britain to leave would mean denouncing a Treaty.

        Britain does not break Treaties.

        It would be bad for Britain, bad for our relations with the rest
        of the world and bad for any future treaty on trade we may need to make.

        As Harold Macmillan said recently: “We used to stand for good
        faith. That is the greatest strength of our commerce overseas. And we
        are now being asked to tear up a Treaty into which we solemnly entered”.

        The choice is clear.

        We can play a role in developing Europe, or we can turn our backs
        on the Community.

        By turning our backs we would forfeit our right to influence what
        happens in the Community.

        But what happens in the Community will inevitably affect us.

        The European Community is a powerful group of nations.

        With Britain as a member, it is more powerful; without Britain it
        will still be powerful.

        We can play a leading role in Europe, but if that leadership is
        not forthcoming Europe will develop without Britain.

        Britain, if she denounced a treaty, cannot then complain if
        Europe develops in conflict with Britain’s interests.[fo 4]

        It’s up to us to tell our people what is at risk in this
        referendum. We have no reason to feel complacent. We must tell them of
        the advantages of Britain’s membership, not simply in general terms, but
        how it has helped their area in particular.

        Every region has received some help and the amounts vary from the
        large to the very small. For example: Training and retraining some
        153,000 unemployed persons, in assisted areas, including schemes for
        young persons under 25 years, women over 35 wishing to return to work
        and men over 50 + £34,269,000. Training and retraining 24,500 unemployed
        in Northern Ireland = £7,752,000. Grants to British Steel Corporation
        for research into the monitoring of effluent from steelworks = £122,366.
        Loan for the construction of a new North Sea oil fired power station at
        Peterhead = £10,400,000. The National Coal Board has received loans of
        £19 million for the modernisation of collieries. Even a grant for the
        expansion and re-equipment of a Stilton cheese factory at Mastington in
        Derbyshire—there seems to be no danger of us losing sovereignty over

        In two years we have received grants and loans totalling £290
        million from the Community. What better evidence is there that the
        European Community is actively helping us here in the four corners of
        Britain with our problems. There is bound to have been some tangible
        benefit in your area.

        Whether it be a £7 million loan for building a second Dartford
        tunnel under the Thames, or £27,500 flood prevention embankments on the
        river Lurgg in Hereford. Let us make sure that the electors know of
        these benefits and where they come from.

        During the coming weeks we are going to hear a number of myths
        and scares from some anti-marketeers. It is a myth that our membership
        of the European Community is to blame for the sharp deterioration in
        Britain’s trade balance with the Community nations.

        The truth is that some goods would have cost us much more if we
        had not been in the Community.[fo 5]

        Food, for example, made up more than 50 per cent of our deficit.
        This is because as food prices for certain items such as cereals,
        started to rocket on world markets we switched to cheaper European

        Oil, 11 per cent of our deficit with the Community; because we
        are short of refining capacity in Britain we have to import oil products
        from the Community. We would have had to have done so whether we were
        in the Community or not.

        Similar considerations apply to chemicals and plastics, iron and

        It is a myth that the Community is simply a bureaucracy with no
        concern for the individual.

        The entire staff of the Commission is about 7,000—smaller than
        that of the Scottish Office.

        It is a myth that our membership of the Community will suffocate
        national tradition and culture.

        Are the Germans any less German for being in the Community, or
        the French any less French? Of course they are not!

        It seems to me to display an amazing lack of self-confidence in
        Britain on the part of some people, that they think that, whereas no
        other nation in the Community has lost its national character, Britain
        in some way will.

        These points and others must be answered—on the public
        platform—on the doorstep.

        When referendum day comes there may be some who do not want to
        vote. But no one can opt out of this decision. It is a decision that
        will affect us all. It is a decision that will affect future
        generations.[fo 6]

        It is a decision in which all should participate to secure our
        future in a free society.

        We must act to defend our children’s future as those generations
        before us acted to protect ours.

        For hundreds of years the peoples of Britain have been writing
        history. Do we want future generations to continue to write history or
        are they simply going to have to read it.

        If we fail, they will read how we broke faith with both the
        present and the past.

        If we fail and the British people vote ‘No’ to the European
        Community, they will read how there was a defeat for co-operation
        between nations, and how there was a victory for the tribunes of the

        They will read how extremism won over commonsense. For it is
        purely common sense to belong to a community working together in peace
        on economic and political issues that concern us all.

        It is purely commonsense to have access to secure sources of food
        supplies, when as a nation we have to import half our food.

        It is surely commonsense to belong to the Community that is the
        largest trading and aiding unit in the world, and play our part in that

        It is surely commonsense for Britain to continue to play a part
        in the Council of Europe.

        It is purely commonsense that we should now listen also to the
        Commonwealth—those Nations who twice this century, have come to
        Britain’s aid to defend democracy in Europe.

        Not one of them now want us to leave. The Commonwealth wants us
        to stay in. Britain has made a vital contribution to the past. She has a
        contribution to make to the future. It will be bigger in Europe than

        • Tom Tom

          ITN Archive: News at Ten, 16 April 1975

          Reginald Bosanquet

          The Common Market referendum: the Cabinet tomorrow
          decides whether or not more than a million British citizens living
          overseas will be allowed to vote. It’s understood the Government is
          against letting them vote in the referendum for fear that fraud could
          upset the results.

          The new Conservative Leader, Mrs. Thatcher and her predecessor,
          Mr. Heath, appeared together on the same public platform for the first
          time tonight since the party leadership changed.

          The occasion was the opening at a hotel near the Commons of a
          campaign of the Conservative Group for Europe to keep Britain in the
          Common Market.

          Mr. Heath chaired the meeting and opened the proceedings by
          welcoming Mrs. Thatcher. Then he went on:[fo 8]


          Now we are entering on a further phase. That of the
          referendum. The party has made its view clear, that it is opposed in any
          case to a referendum as a constitutional device. We regard it as
          abhorrent. We also regard it as unnecessary. We regard it as part of a
          party political manoeuvre, but if there is to be a referendum then we
          are going to throw everything we’ve got into the task of winning that


          Mrs. Thatcher had some kind words to say about Mr.


          [ Edward Heath] Mr. Chairman
          and colleagues. It is especially appropriate that we should open the
          Conservative campaign to keep Britain in Europe under your Chairmanship.
          Because you have done more than anyone else for the Conservative cause
          in Europe, and to see that Britain’s place is in Europe. Naturally, it’s
          with some temerity that the pupil speaks before the master, because you
          know more about it than any of the rest of us. I think there are four
          main reasons for Britain staying in the community. First, the community
          gives us peace and security in a free society. The peace and security
          denied to the past two generations. Second, the community gives us
          access to secure sources of food supply. And this is vital to us, a
          country which has to import half of what we need. Third, the community
          does more trade and gives more aid than any other group in the world,
          and fourth, the community gives us the opportunity to represent the
          Commonwealth in Europe. A commonwealth which wants us to stay in, and
          has said so, and the community wants us to stay in and has shown it to
          be so.

          • Tom Tom

            1975 May 19 Mo

            Margaret Thatcher

            Speech in Hendon (European Referendum campaign)…………..

            To leave such a Community would not merely be a leap in the dark, it
            would be like a leap overboard from a secure ship into dark and
            unchartered waters.

            Is Britain really in such a strong economic position that we can
            afford to jump overboard into the cruel and choppy sea?

            That is not to say that if we stay in Europe it will all be plain
            sailing. It will be hard work. But at least there is a better chance
            that we will eventually make it to harbour.

            But so out of touch with reality are the anti-marketeers like Mr.
            Benn that they seek to prove that by throwing ourselves into the dark,
            unchartered waters, that there will be more jobs available.

            There is no evidence of this whatsoever. Indeed all the evidence
            is to the contrary. A poll has just been published by the Opinion
            Research Centre which shows that of the large sample of firms
            questioned, three quarters expected they would suffer at least some
            harm, 41 per cent of them a lot of harm, while only 6 per cent expected
            to benefit.

            Forty one per cent expected to invest less in Britain after
            withdrawal, only 5 per cent to invest more: 51 per cent expected to
            employ fewer people in Britain, only 5 per cent to employ more.

            The evidence is clearly that if we leave the Community, there
            will be fewer jobs. But the dangers do not end there. To come out of the
            Common Market could lose us influence and standing, not only in Europe
            but in the Commonwealth as well. Some 22 of the developing countries of
            the new Commonwealth have obtained agreements with the European
            Community, giving them virtually free access to the Common Market. How
            many of them, if forced to choose between these advantages and their old
            links with Britain, would choose the latter rather than the former?[fo 7]

            And the older Commonwealth countries, Australia, New Zealand and
            Canada—not one of them believes that it would be in their interest or in
            ours, or in Europe’s, were we to withdraw from the Common Market.

            But say the anti-marketeers, if you vote No in the Referendum,
            you will get back your sovereignty. The truth about sovereignty is that
            in the European Community each of the member states continues to enjoy
            all its individual traditions—constitutional, administrative, legal and

            What it believes to be its vital national interests are
            safeguarded in principle by a right of veto, and in practice by a
            continuous process of compromise and accommodation.

            Naturally, any international treaty or agreement or convention
            involves some derogation of sovereignty in the juridical sense of the

            This is true of the principles ambodied in the Charter of the
            UN—as it was of the former Covenant of the League of Nations. It is
            truer still of such institutions as the GATT and NATO. The issues
            involved and the obligations undertaken through membership of these
            organisations, which have existed since the 1940s, are at least as
            far-reaching as those under the Treaty of Rome.

            That Treaty carefully defines the areas of economic and social
            policy where decisions are pooled. Such areas cannot be extended without
            unanimous agreement of the member states. Within these areas the main
            responsibility rests with Ministers of democratic countries. In our case
            with British Ministers responsible to Parliament at Westminster.


            • Tom Tom

              The Single European Act (1986)

              The Single
              Act, signed in Luxembourg
              and The Hague and came into force on 1 July 1987, was the first
              modification of the
              fundational treaties of the European
              Communities, that is to say, the Treaty of
              Paris in 1951 and the Treaties of Rome
              in 1957………………and which Prime Minister signed it ?

              • dalai guevara

                Bingo Tom, thanks for this back catalogue of noteworthy detail. Now, perhaps some of this will require a repost when certain history deniers on the DT and other places dare to show their faces.

              • Daniel Maris

                Excellent stuff – just as I remembered it. Thatcher was rabidly pro-Euro integration.

                Sadly the EU argument at the time got lost in a bigger argument about Britain’s direction. It was a time when Trade Union leaders were challenging the constitution and in that context, as we can see from the speeches, Thatcher was able to paint it as a left v right issue.

                Personally I think Thatcher was always a very shallow thinker (and a shallow patriot) , which is why she was so easily bamboozled by the Europhiles into signing up to things she later realised were not of her own volition.

                Anyway, all history – we are where we are. Cameron is taking us nowhere – just a PR man for an Eto-Harrovian movement: “we were born to rule” movement.

                Let’s have some serious debate about where we want to be. I am happy to say if as a country we were to vote now to stay in the EU – when it is crystal clear it is a political superstate project (unlike back in the mid 70s when that was not so clear) – then I would fully accept it. I would say, fine – let’s try and make this superstate work as a democracy with a unified centre of representative government and a single political culture at the federal level. If we could make it an English speaking political culture all the better!

        • Noa

          Could you not have provided a link to these page consuming speeches?

    • Daniel Maris

      That’s all true I am afraid. Thatcher in particular was originally a Euro-enthusiast and signed up to the single market – probably the most significant act of “cultural” federalism possible.


    He doesn’t need the trust of the EU diktatorcrats, nor of his own MPs. He needs the trust of the British people, and he has lost it and will never regain it. It is beyond him because he does not trust the British people.

  • MirthaTidville

    ` I am calling a referendum on our continued membership of the EU`….That`s all you need to say Dave if you are tuning in…..Your future as PM should be then fairly assured

    • Russell

      Only if the referendum is an in/out and before 2015!

      • LondonStatto

        Do you want to stay in?

      • MirthaTidville

        Quite right… thats what I meant and should have said


        Agreed. It would have to be In/Out before 2015 or it would not be worth a fig.

        • francbanc

          There was no referendum in the manifesto. Why wouldn’t it be after 2015?

          • francbanc

            What’s more, it happens to be a coalition and it wasn’t in the agreement.

          • barbie

            Because it looks ever increasing likely Cameron won’t win the next election. So what he says is futile.

  • EJ

    It’s not enough. Mark my words.

    The problem for Cameron is that he has lost the trust and support of conservative voters and now there’s no going back. They are expecting nothing more from this much-hyped speech than further Cameron flannel and obfuscation – and that’s exactly what he’s going to give them.

    Conservative voters have marked Cameron as a Europhile Trojan horse who will say anything to shut them up and fob them off. That he still thinks he can get away with this illustrates the levels of his contempt.

    Meanwhile the hateful meddling of sinister unelected EU bureaucrats continues unchecked and more and more of the dregs of Europe cram their way in to our buckling island. Soon hundreds of thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians will be invading these shores.

    Cameron is UKIP’s greatest gift.

    • Russell

      .As a former Tory voter (all my long life) I sincerely hope that the Tories (and Labour/LibDems) get wiped out in the EU MEP elections, with UKIP getting every seat.

      Then and even then only a maybe, Cameron will understand that he hasn’t
      got a clue as to what the majority of the UK electorate want..

      • Noa

        Russell and EJ. Duly seconded.

    • barbie

      Read Telegraph tonight you will see the wet rag says there will be no repatriation of powers, interesting reading, what will Cameron say now?

      • fred smith

        It’s not just the wet rag. Anybody who knows anything about the EU can see that membership of the EU involves commitment to ‘ever closer union’ and that its purpose and always has been. It didn’t start off as a trading arrangement which has become corrupted and can be reformed. It’s fundamentally a political project dedicated to creating a single European state which you either want to go along with or not.

        The Conservative line of moderate euroscepticism has always been a fraud.

    • Noa

      Cameron has now got his orders on what suits him from Obama; watch him as he leaps up for a biscuit from his master’s hand.

      • telemachus

        As well ha should
        Our special relationship is predicated on our in to Europe
        Thank God for common sense

    • telemachus

      This of course is music
      UKIP wallets will gift the country a decent administration in 2015 to get us growing again and bring us full employment

  • ButcombeMan

    Article 50. Is the process laid down in the Lisbon Treaty.

    You fail to mention it, so I suspect will Cameron

    You are not telling readers the truth, and if he similarly fails neither will he.


      Why indeed is the Spectator not mentioning Article 50?

    • Bluesman


    • telemachus

      Mattereth not
      Under the Vienna convention articles 54 & 56 all treaties have the facility to withdraw

      • ButcombeMan

        It emphatically DOES matter. Article 50 is part of the rules that govern how the EU works. The UK should stick to the rules.

        The Spectators failure to inform readers is -well-spectacular-.and very suspicious indeed/


      Would the Spectator like to make a comment about Article 50? It is, after all, the ONLY means of repatriating powers. Why are you persisting in the fiction that ButcombeMan keeps exposing as such?

    • Its_not_craig

      OK then. Let’s rise to the bait.

      What about Article 50?

      Let’s assume that a) Cameron approaches the British people with a referendum; b) That referendum decides to withdraw; and c) Cameron accepts the decision of the referendum.

      None of these things are certain to happen. There is no precedent; as in 1975 we decided to stay in the EEC. But let’s say they each do.

      Cameron would need to approach the EU to ask for withdrawal and negotiate it’s terms as Article 50 requests. The clown has no concept of what he wants that negotiation to include and neither will his speech in 2 weeks time. Even if he did; his amateurish negotiating up to now and ridiculous past ‘veto’ have all but destroyed any strength in any future negotiation. The negotiation has to have qualified majority agreement from EU leaders. Our Prime Muppet doesn’t have that from even a large minority.

      That negotiation has a 2 year time limit after which withdrawal can be…withdrawn. Do you seriously believe this current government of clowns could negotiate anything within 2 years?

      My point is this. Withdrawal might be a s super-duper idea. But don’t pretend that it will allow this Country to leave with any position of strength retained. Cameron’s child-like Foreign policy and utter inability to grasp strategy has seen to that.

  • Steve Tierney