It is worth revisiting Thatcher. In her speech in the Hague on May 15th 1992, Thatcher forewarned:
“Imagine a European Community of 30 nations, ranging in their economic productivity from Germany to Ukraine, and in their political stability from Britain to Poland,
—all governed from Brussels;
—all enforcing the same conditions at work;
—all having the same worker rights as the German Unions;
—all subject to the same interest rates, monetary, fiscal and economic policies;
—all agreeing on a common Foreign and defence policy;
—and all accepting the authority of an Executive and a remote foreign Parliament over "80&% of economic and social legislation".
Mr Chairman, such a body is an even more utopian enterprise than the Tower of Babel.
For at least the builders of Babel all spoke the same language when they began.
They were, you might say, communautaire.
Mr Chairman, the thinking behind the Commission's proposals is essentially the thinking of "yesterday's tomorrow".
It was how the best minds of Europe saw the future in the ruins after the Second World War.
But they made a central intellectual mistake.
They assumed that the model for future government was that of a centralised bureaucracy that would collect information upwards, make decisions at the top, and then issue orders downwards.
And what seemed the wisdom of the ages in 1945 was in fact a primitive fallacy.
Hierarchical bureaucracy may be a suitable method of organising a small business that is exposed to fierce external competition — but it is a recipe for stagnation and inefficiency in almost every other context.
It can collect and use only a fraction of the information that the market picks up, and acts upon minute by minute — and so it gets it wrong.
The top cannot be sure that its orders are carried out by the bottom.
And the organisation as a whole has no feedback that would indicate whether it is performing well or badly.
Such flaws might be of minor importance in a monastery where, after all, the wishes of the monks are not the criteria of success.
In a Government, however, they produce the economic chaos and alienation we saw under communism.
Yet it is precisely this model of remote, centralised, bureaucratic organisation that the European Commission and its federalist supporters seek to impose on a Community which they acknowledge may soon contain many more countries of widely differing levels of political and economic development, and speaking more than fifteen languages.
"C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la politique."
The larger Europe grows, the more diverse must be the forms of co-operation it requires. Instead of a centralised bureaucracy, the model should be a market — not only a market of individuals and companies, but also a market in which the players are governments.”
Britain has far more in common with America and Canada than with France or any other European country besides Eire. We live today in a global village where Britain’s financial services hub – the City of London – transacts massive trades every minute far bigger than most of the EU members’ GNP’s.
With Britain’s skills and ferocity as an innovator, the future of Britain lies in communications, technology, the service sector and finance. Switzerland has managed outside of the EU. Now it is time for Britain to negotiate a new place in Europe and a new place for itself in the world.
NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) is a far more comfortable fit than any top-down, rigid European economic strait-jacket. It is time for the English-speaking world to unite and benefit from its unsurpassed nodes of power across the globe which it has used successfully in the past to promote economic success and democratic steadiness the whole world has benefitted from.
Thatcher’s words were prophetic. If the euro fails or not, she was right back in 1992. Yesterday’s tomorrow is yesterday’s news.
It is time to smash down the old way of thinking about the world as economies governed by geographic proximity. Time to tame the Chinese dragon with a new, reinforced, modern interpretation of the special relationship.
Cameron has done well. He should be applauded for his stubbornness. His critics were calling him Neville Chamberlain before he left for Brussels this week. They are not sniping anymore.
Dominic Wightman is Editor of the Westminster Journal