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In the 1975 European Referendum the pro-European side started the campaign at a two to one disadvantage in public opinion. Britain had only been a member for two years. Harold Wilson was determined to avoid a split in the Labour Party and was a tactition of proven experience. There was a very real possibility that… » read more

Posted by Tom Spencer

‘Brentrance’ not Brexit

Some neologisms are helpful if they pin down meaning that needs tighter definition. Some are just sneaky. I have always disliked Brexit it gives a simple word to the previously unthinkable act of withdrawal from the EU. It sounds perfectly normal as in a fire exit or a motorway exit. However it has come to… » read more

Posted by Tom Spencer

Two Hundred Years of Europe

My wife’s family always kept a picture of the Emperor Napoleon on their downstairs loo. This was a practice which I do not follow, feeling it to be vaguely anti-European. In fact I should have recognised it as a tribute to the closeness in personal time of the Battle of Waterloo. Liz’s father had married… » read more

Posted by Tom Spencer

The Lawson Mistake

  One can see why Conservative Euro-sceptics might be reluctant to let Nigel Farage lead the Out campaign. The man is not sound. He is not properly house-trained. He is capable of ill-advised jumps in policy designed to attract the attention that UKIP needed to maintain its upward direction. However despite his time in the… » read more

Posted by Tom Spencer

Maria, who died in November, was a radical Greek aristocrat. As a child during the war she was permanently marked by her experiences in German-occupied Greece. She opposed the Greek Junta passionately. She went to the extent of talking to the PLO in the shape of the “Jackal” about providing military training for young Greeks… » read more

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A senior European figure, commenting on David Cameron’s demeanour during European Councils, is reported to have said “He is just not interested”. Margaret Thatcher, John Major & Tony Blair, whatever the other distractions of their premierships, were keen followers of the European debate. Only Gordon Brown, in the terminal stages of his decay, can be… » read more

Posted by Tom Spencer

In May of 2011 Wilfried Martens, President of the European Peoples Party and the Centre for European Studies, opened a CES Conference in London. He was asked about the future for European integration. He quoted George Herbert to the effect that “Storms make oaks take deeper roots”. I admired the elegance of the response, but… » read more

Posted by Tom Spencer