Saturday, 20 July 2024

Against the EU, For a Free Europa: Towards a Nation-state centred policy on Europe

THE NAME ‘National Liberal Party’ gives some indication of our poltical roots. Indeed, our ideology consists of a unique fusion of Progressive Nationalism (sometimes called ‘Green Nationalism’) and traditional Liberalism. It should be noted that our form of Nationalism shouldn’t be confused with those bigots, racists and right-wing imperialists who claim to be ‘Nationalists’. And our Liberalism shouldn’t be confused with the Politically Correct busy bodies who seem to want to dictate to everyone how they should think and act.

In this excellent in-depth article, Glasgow-based Andrew Hunter explains the NLPs opposition to the centralist, bureaucratic and increasingly totalitarian EU. He also looks at our alternative to the EU – a Free Europa.

IN THE recent local council elections in England the UK Independence Party, (UKIP), caused a political upset by gaining around 23% of the vote and having 147 councillors elected. Now, of course, it remains to be seen whether or not UKIP will be able to build on this success or if this seeming electoral breakthrough will ultimately be a flash-in-the-pan. There is definitely an element of UKIP’s vote being a protest by traditional Conservative voters against a Tory party leadership that they feel are pursuing a markedly un-traditional course. The media have also built-up UKIP’s chances and have virtually endorsed them as a “safe” protest party. Beyond the issue of Britain leaving the European Union, UKIP’s policies are not well known and the party and its new councillors will be subject to a level of scrutiny as never before. Prior to the poll attention was drawn to what many trade unionists saw as UKIP’s pro-boss and anti-worker stance on industrial relations.

With UKIP’s recent success and with opposition to Britain’s membership of the EU growing generally, now is a good time for national self-determinists to assess their stance on the EU and to decide how exactly we would like to conduct our relations with our neighbours on the continent.

THE EU has its roots in the ruins of Europe following World War Two. The politicians to which it fell the task of re-building the nations of Europe were determined to avoid any further conflicts and thus decided to link German coal production with French steel making so that neither of those two countries had the means to make war on the other. This formed the basis of the European Coal and Steel Community which included another four countries in addition to France and Germany. There then followed the Council of Europe, largely concerned with the protection of Human Rights and then the European Economic Community, which was set up by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Britain remained outside of those bodies and when the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan applied to join the EEC in 1961 its application was famously vetoed by France’s President General De Gaulle in 1963. De Gaulle is said to have feared American influence in Europe operating through the agency of British membership and it was not until ten years later that Britain, along with Denmark and Ireland, joined the EEC. Norway had also been due to join at the same time but its citizens rejected EEC membership in a referendum.

The Labour government under Harold Wilson re-negotiated British membership of the EEC between April 1974 and March 1975 and put what it described as “Britain’s New Deal in Europe” to a referendum in June 1975. The government sought to re-assure voters that remaining in the EEC was in the best interests of the UK and that Parliament would not lose its sovereignty. In a booklet sent to every household in Britain, the government sought to counter fears on the issue: “The British Parliament in Westminster retains the final right to repeal the Act which took us into the Market on January 1, 1973. Thus our continued membership will depend on the continuing assent of Parliament”. The campaigns for and against remaining in the EEC were cross-party and saw some interesting alliances, for example, both Margaret Thatcher and Roy Jenkins campaigned for a “Yes” vote. Mrs Thatcher was later to become personified as an arch “Eurosceptic” while Roy Jenkins in 1977 as the President of the European Commission in a speech launched what ultimately was to become the Euro. The outcome of the referendum was heavily in favour of remaining in what was then sold to the British public as being merely a favourable trading arrangement. ‘Nationalists’ who warned that continuing to be a member of the EEC would result in the loosening of UK links with the Old Commonwealth countries, the gravitation of industry to the Benelux countries and the eventual loss of sovereignty were unsuccessful in persuading voters and lacked the financial resources that the “Yes” campaign could muster.

During the 1980s and 1990s the “European Project”, the term which enthusiasts for a centralised Europe use, gathered steam. In the mid-80s the European Commission under Jacques Delors set a target of achieving a single market by 1992. This was to be achieved by the removal of barriers to the movement of labour and capital between member states and the hope of enthusiasts for political integration was that these measures would eventually take on a political dimension. In 1985 the European Community, (as it was by then known), adopted the golden stars on a blue background design for a flag with the number of stars increasing as new members joined. In 1987 the Single European Act made the creation of a European Union a goal of member states and the Maastricht Treaty to create the European Union came into effect in 1993 though not without opposition with Danish voters initially rejecting the treaty and only accepting it in a second referendum after being granted monetary opt-outs and the previously strongly Euro enthusiast French and German electorates being split on the issue. Britain had already opted-out of monetary union and the social policy aspects of the treaty. In 1995 the Schengen pact opened-up the internal borders between many EU states and in the late 90s the road towards eastward expansion of the EU to embrace former Eastern Bloc countries got underway. The close of the century saw the Commission shaken by scandals involving fraud and mis-management.

Moving into the twenty-first century, 2002 saw the introduction of the Euro. Attempts to adopt an EU constitution were halted by rejection in referenda in France and the Netherlands. In recent years the worldwide financial crisis has rocked the EU economy with economically weaker countries such as Greece and Cyprus having to receive bailouts from the European Central Bank and the citizens of richer countries such as Germany becoming discontented that their taxes should be used to fund these bailouts. In the UK opposition to remaining in the EU continues to grow. With austerity and cut-backs in public services many people are asking why Britain should be continuing to contribute billions of pounds a year to the EU, (e.g. figures given in a December 2011 article on the Campaign for an Independent Britain website put our net contribution to the EU at £6.7bn per annum).

So how should the EU be viewed by genuine nationalists i.e. believers in the nation-state and what could be our alternative to it? One of the most obvious failures of the EU is that its efforts at central planning have been damaging to Britain’s economy. The opening up of British waters to continental fishing boats has devastated our fishing industry. The cost to British business of complying with EU regulations is estimated at £19bn a year. Across the EU we have the ridiculous situation that the more economically successful countries have to subsidise less successful. The free movement of labour from the lower-wage eastern European countries to the west has led to the depression of wages and conditions. The influx of eastern European workers has placed enormous strains upon local services. Overall, the EU is a hugely expensive bureaucratic regime that does not bring any benefits that we could not get by each individual member state agreeing to trade and assist each other where mutually beneficial. The billions of pounds that every year we send to Brussels could be better employed here in the UK to assist our farmers and fishermen and re-build our manufacturing base.

Historically however, culturally and geographically, we obviously have far more in common with our neighbours on the continent that we have with, say, the Far East. The world has changed considerably since Britain’s entry to the EEC in 1973. Back then foreign holidays were for most Britons still a relative novelty and our love affair with wine and continental cuisine was in its beginnings. Arguably cookery programmes and budget airlines have done more than anything else to promote understanding between us Britons and the peoples of the continent!

With the yoke of communism removed from the peoples of Russia and the other former Warsaw Pact countries the scope for European co-operation is massive and could potentially free Europe from dependence on the old superpower of the United States and the emerging one of China.

Would it not be better to have a Europe of free nations working together where needed but at all times retaining their independence and national and regional cultural identities?

• Sources:

The Daily Telegraph 4 & 5 May 2013.

BBC NewsA Timeline of the EU

Britain’s New Deal in Europe HMSO 1975, reprinted by We demand a referendum 2012.

Europe A History by Norman Davies, Pimlico, London 1997.

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