Leave voters in the 2016 Referendum knew exactly what they were voting for and why: to bring back political control of making legislation to the British Parliament from the European Union Government in financially wasteful and grossly underused three European capital buildings in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg!
The European Economic Community (EEC, better known as the Common Market) which I and others supported joining in 1973 had much to commend it. However, the overarching aim of the founders of what subsequently evolved into the European Union has always been to obtain full political, not just economic, integration by creating a federal Europe. When the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland joined the Common Market in 1973, it was reasonably expected that electors would subsequently be given the right to decide at the ballot box whether or not they wanted any further progress towards economic and particularly political integration.
Conservative British Prime Minister John Major ardently refused to hold a referendum before the Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7th February 1992, which created the European Community from the EEC and which from the time of its coming into effect on 1st November 1993 opened the way for European Monetary Union and greater use of qualified majority voting under the Lisbon rules.
Eventual British entry into the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in October 1990 went well, judging by the need within two years to suddenly withdraw on 16th September 1992, now notoriously known as ‘Black Wednesday’, when interest rates were caused to rocket by currency speculators taking advantage of the problem of keeping Sterling within narrow exchange rate limits at a cost to the Government of at least six billion pounds, whilst the speculators made over a billion pounds from British tax payers’ money!
Now that a majority in the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, Sir John Major argues the case for holding another referendum before finally leaving the EU, contrary to his view before joining and which began the movement to create a United Kingdom Independence Party.
British Prime Ministers Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain were both active supporters of appeasement with Nazi Germany and are now considered by some referendum Remain supporters to be good role models for Theresa May to follow in her Brexit negotiations, justifying her increasingly unfurling even more of the white flag of surrender to wave to the European Union in Brussels and not forgetting also the other two official EU staffed capital buildings that British tax payers money is helping to maintain, vastly underused, in Strasbourg and Luxembourg!
The date specified by the European Union Government of October 2018 for Brexit negotiations to be to concluded, allegedly to allow sufficient time for ratification by each of the other member countries before Great Britain and Northern Ireland leave the European Union on 29th March 2019 at 11 pm GMT, just happens to be the 80th anniversary of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain capitulating to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s demands for the immediate annexation of the majority German speaking Sudetenland border region of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany. The annexation was part of the Munich Agreement signed in October 1938, which also led to the expulsion of Czechoslovaks from the Sudetenland and created a British made refugee crisis!
In March 1939 Adolf Hitler reneged on the Munich Agreement by invading the western half of Czechoslovakia, which was surrounded by the Sudetenland, resulting in Nazi Germany immediately acquiring control of 70 per cent of Czechoslovakia’s iron and steel making and electricity generation capacity, substantially ramping up Germany’s capacity for and speed of rearmament!
The Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919 formally ending the First World War, required Germany to demilitarise the Rhineland and border next to France. Had re-militarisation of the Rhineland on 7th March 1936 been resisted by the allied powers, including the United Kingdom, as provided for by the Treaty of Versailles, the pre-requisite for Nazi Germany to invade western countries, with the subsequent sending of the British Expeditionary Force to France on the outbreak of war in 1939, followed by the retreat from Dunkirk in 1940 and subsequent five years of austerity, could have been avoided.
Compare and contrast the two photographs showing British Prime Ministers offering greetings prior to their negotiations: Neville Chamberlain being greeted by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler during their second meeting, held at Bad Gothstein on 24th September 1938, which resulted in the Munich Agreement being signed during their third meeting; and (above) Theresa May with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker outside 10 Downing Street, in preparation for commencing Brexit negotiations.
Appeasement has much to answer for throughout history!