Richard North, 01/11/2012  

Catholic Herald 034-gty.jpg

I happened on this cutting recently (above), as one does, from the Catholic Herald archives. It is dated 1 November 1940 – exactly 72 years ago to the day … but sort of relevant in the light of yesterday's debate.

In terms of timing, the Catholic Herald article comes in the wake of the Italian invasion of Greece, whence in the name of "European Solidarity", we are told that the primary aim of the Axis Powers consists not in conquering the whole British Empire east of Suez piece by piece, "which is impossible".

The real aim - understood throughout the continent - "is to win strategic victories and seize strategic points such as Egypt and Gibraltar, and possibly Iraq".

This, though, is merely “the stage for setting up a grand council of European solidarity to force peace on Great Britain”. The whole tone of Axis propaganda, says the paper, is now moving along these lines of "Europe for the Europeans without British interference".

Following in the footsteps of Witterings from Witney, who has already trawled Hansard, and offered his views on the debate, I must do likewise and refer to the remarks of Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston. A europhile to the hind teeth, he has recently been to Berlin and, fortified with that experience, expresses his fears that Mr Cameron "will isolate himself even more" if he attempts to veto the EU budget settlement.

This actually tends to confirm that which we have been saying for months, that the mood amongst the "colleagues" is of some antagonism towards the UK, brooking no interference in their move towards further integration. One might even say that the policy is now moving along these lines of "Europe for the Europeans without British interference".

What comes round goes round. Last time, though, we ended up (with a little help from the United States), invading Europe and joining the Common Market (with a little help from the United States). With George Osborne saying: "We'll only do a deal if it's good for Britain", what are we going to do this time?

Certainly, we are not going to take Europe by storm this time - not with Nick Clegg ridiculing David Cameron's plan for repatriating powers as a "false promise wrapped in a Union Jack", dismissing it as "nonsensical" and "wishful thinking".

Perhaps when the "colleagues" start saying openly again "Europe for the Europeans", Mr Cameron will take the hint and put in his papers for an Article 50 withdrawal.


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