The lies and false promises of the EU dream are brought crashing down, replaced by a quiet confidence in the collective strength and fortitude of the British people.
All the more surprising then that this barnstorming speech was made by a LABOUR MP more than 40 years ago.
Peter Shore was addressing the Oxford Union just prior to the 1975 European referendum.
But the issues he addresses have such a contemporary ring he could have been speaking today – the problems which existed then are the same problems which exist today.
Stepney MP Mr Shore, later Baron Shore of Stepney, was a political pragmatist in some ways, being a leading light of the emerging Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament before switching to a firm belief in the need for a nuclear deterrent.
However, his belief that Britain was better off outside the EU – or EEC as it was – never wavered.
EU demolishing lines from his powerful speech include:
‘They tell us what generations of English men have built is not worth a DAMN!”
“Britain for the first time has a written constitution …which no-one in Britain has had any hand in shaping – the constitution which now guides and binds the British Constitution is the Treaty of Rome.
“Don’t tell me that doesn’t matter to you because if that doesn’t matter to you then something terrible has happened to the British people.
“It is precisely those powers of deciding your own laws which is the very heart of your own democracy.
“And if you don’t think that matters then by God you are a strange generation.”
He goes on to point out that senior policy-makers framing the fledgling but already controversial Common Agricultural Policy are unelected and adds that Britain was paying out to prop-up European jobs while getting a pittance back in return.
He said: “This is not a treaty which is in any way a fair and equal treaty – it is not negotiated it is accepted.”
Later he speaks of Donald Stokes, boss of car-makers British Leyland, who placed full page newspaper ads saying access to the common market in Europe would see the British marque dominating the continent.
In fact British Leyland’s cars were trounced by German and French marques like BMW and Renault and the nationalised company collapsed a decade later.
Mr Shore correctly predicts the threat saying: “We are under great threat, we are in peril.
“No longer can they tell the British people about the goodies that lie in store, that won’t wash, because the evidence will no longer support it.
“So the message that comes up is fear, fear, fear.
“Fear that we won’t have any food.
“Fear of unemployment.
“Fear that we have somehow been so reduced as a country that we can no longer totter about in the world independently as a nation.”
The EU was of course known as the European Economic Community or EEC in 1975 – the EU not being formally ratified until 1993, upon which the EEC was re-named the European Community.
However , the over-arching aims and intention of all the EU bodies remained largely the same as they had been in 1975.
The 1992 Maastricht Treaty, from which the EU sprang, simply enshrined those ideas – including a single currency, freedom of movement – in a legally binding document.
Peter Shore’s political career was impressive by any standards though he failed spectacularly when he stood in the Labour leadership elections alongside Michael Foot in 1979.
He remained a staunch Eurosceptic as far as Britain was concerned until the end of his life – although he was not against the EU per-se, just Britain’s membership of it.
His argument, as detailed in his book Separate Ways, was that EU membership made economic and political sense for some countries, just not the UK.
He was described in an obituary by the Conservative journalist Patrick Cosgrave as “Between Harold Wilson and Tony Blair, the only possible Labour Party leader of whom a Conservative leader had cause to walk in fear.”
Mr Shore died in 2001.