Saturday, 9 July 2016

No EU deception by Heath

It may be of little use to convince Eurosceptics, but there is more evidence that Edward Heath was unapologetic in promoting the (then) European Community as more than a mere common market. From the entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

For his maiden speech on 26 June 1950 Heath chose a European theme that flowed directly from his own experience before, during, and immediately after the war. He remained loyal to the theme of a united Europe for the rest of his life. In 1950 the Labour government decided not to take an active part in the Schuman plan, which led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. Heath criticized this caution as a lost opportunity. Although he was at all times ready to argue the case for Europe on economic grounds, he never concealed either in this speech or later his own personal conviction that the essence of the case was political. In his memoirs he wrote that 'the raison d'etre of the European Union is political, to integrate Germany into Europe, using its powerful geopolitical position for the benefit of our continent as a whole' (Heath, 144). Nearly fifty years earlier his maiden speech foreshadowed this emphasis.

He was convinced that the nation-state was dead, as he said forcefully to Ken Clarke. The latter recollected this in Radio 4's Archive program which celebrated Edward Heath's centenary today.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

Jeremy Clarkson always struck me as a Tory of the Attila the Hun tendency, so it is surprising to find him a spiritual descendant of Edward Heath: "Isn't it better to stay in and try to make the damn thing work properly? To create a United States of Europe that functions as well as the United States of America? With one army and one currency and one unifying set of values?"

I do not believe even Heath would go as far as endorsing an EU army!