Sunday, 5 February 2017
Ken Clarke on the EU
I had made a mental promise not to bang on about Brexit until there was a surge in public opinion agreeing with Tim Farron that a third referendum was necessary. However, I could not resist commenting on Ken Clarke's historical perspective on the drift in both major parties on the subject of the European community since he entered parliament. (You can see and hear the clip from Radio 4's The Week in Westminster here.) He saw himself as one of a group of "Young Turks" seeing the European Common Market nations thriving economically while Britain, clinging to its imperial past, was in the doldrums. It was pure self-interest, with no mention of the political dimension. He did not acknowledge those fellow Conservatives (like Heath, Macmillan and Churchill), let alone leading Labour figures Tam Dalyell and Denis Healey, who had seen war service, vowed "never again" and saw the Treaty of Rome as a means to bind the nations of Europe together.