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Monday, March 03, 2008

The never-never

Just finished "Never Again", Peter Hennessy's history of Britain between 1945 and 1951. This is in the same week that the clamour is rising once more for a referendum on membership of the EC.
The Labour government of the time kicked into the long grass the idea of membership of what was then the Iron & Steel pact between France and Germany because they didn't want to return to where they'd just finished a war, they were too preoccupied with the problems of the pound, they were committing themselves to a war in Korea and, to quote Ernest Bevin, "the Durham miners would never stand for it." How quaint that sounds now.
France and Germany were in such disarray that they just got on with it. That's the way it is with positive action. Having no choice concentrates the mind wonderfully. Ever since then it seems that every time a nation is asked to vote on membership they vote against. Somehow it's the posture that can never be proved wrong.