•THE British establishment is quite prepared to doctor the record when it suits them – last week’s Hillsborough revelations showed that. It can be decades before the truth is dragged from our political class.
There is no subject on which this is truer than Britain’s membership of the European Union.
Whether it’s Whitehall suppressing key papers or British governments of all stripes issuing misleading statements and using weasel words, we now know that key information has long been suppressed.
This matters particularly now because EU Commission President Barroso has announced he wants to see a new EU Treaty within two years. This Treaty would create a European Federation and wrest control from the UK of a series of powers that Brussels would never relinquish.
The polling evidence suggests more than half of us want to leave the EU. Even more want a referendum to give us the chance to have our say. The Daily Express has taken a courageous stand on this great issue, putting enormous pressure on the Government.
And in the end David Cameron is going to have to offer this country a referendum. But I want to make sure that we are asked the right question and I want you to help me. History warns us that this is far from certain to be the case.
For my sins I know how the political class operates – and co-operates – in Brussels and London. They may offer a referendum but on a question that suits them and is designed to produce the “right” result. I believe they will try to repeat an old trick.
To help remove the scales from our eyes I am publishing a pamphlet – A Referendum Stitch-Up? – into what happened in the Seventies. My parents’ generation was led to believe it was voting to stay part of a “Common Market” or free trade area. It was not. Harold Wilson’s government claimed: “No important new policy can be decided in Brussels.”
Behind the scenes the Foreign Office had already told it that “Community law” would “prevail over conflicting national legislation”.
Both statements could not be true. They were contradictory. We have learnt to our considerable cost that it was the “censored” one – the one withheld from us – that was accurate. The Conservatives and Liberals of the time co-operated in the deceit.
What we were in fact voting for was to remain in what economists call a “customs union”.
In the EU, being part of a customs union means everything has to be “harmonised”, ie made uniform. That is what the European Union has been busily doing for decades.
It gives rise to a range of laws from environmental regulation via common employment law to unrestricted immigration, with its resultant welfare costs.
In the past few days plans have been presented to create a federal state of Europe, with a common treasury and a single budget.
Alongside this legislative overlordship come the practical costs. In trade we run a deficit of £50billion with the EU when we run a surplus with the rest of the world.
Europe grows relatively poorer as each new member joins (wait for Turkey: the coalition and Labour all want to add another 70 million people) and becomes more of an economic backwater in terms of world trade as growth switches to such countries as Brazil, China and India.
Worse still, for the privilege of having to implement all these regulations, Britain has to pay the EU a gross contribution of more than £50million per day.
Yet the Prime Minister says we must stay in at any cost. It is clear that the political class is trying to mislead us again.
They suggest that a straight “in or out” referendum question should be replaced by a complex question offering a third way: continuing as part of the single market without full political union.
In short, we are being presented with a recycled version of what we thought we were getting in 1975.
But just like then, there is no third way. My research explains why any apparent renegotiation of membership terms can only be a mirage.
With the design of the EU as it is meaningful renegotiation is neither possible nor credible. In fairness to the EU elite they have never tried to hide this.
A binding commitment to “ever closer union” was there at the start and they constantly repeat it.
But the same cannot be said of the British establishment: ever since the membership and referendum debate of the Seventies it has tried to hide this fundamental commitment. And the leopard is not about to change its spots.
WE ARE committed by treaty to make progress towards an ever-closer union. Until the treaties are repealed by British law, this remains a statement of fact.
What I am afraid of – as we increasingly win the argument about how the UK’s membership is damaging rather than beneficial – is that the British establishment will appear to renegotiate, come back claiming to have got “not all we want but enough”, fix the wording for a referendum into a leading question and win by fraud – all over again.
In contrast with nearly 50 years of lies and half-truths from successive governments, I believe you are entitled to hear the truth about what the EU is and where it hopes to go.
There must be no more stitch-ups. It is time for our political class to be honest with the people and for the people to have their say.