La República Catalana


Thatcher and the Bad English History with Europe/THATCHER I EL MAL ROTLLO ANGLÈS AMB EUROPA



Thatcher and the Bad English History with Europe


by Josep C. Verges

Thacher cameron_html_m7f0d340b


The Iron Lady in bronze in Parliament, between the great Thatcher and the worthless Cameron. Below: Two great Anglo-Americans Europhiles: Churchill with Macmillan.



The Iron Lady fought against statism, not only in Europe but mainly in Britain. Thatcher was not an anti-European like Cameron. She never got up from a table like Cameron. She never demanded a referendum on Europe like Labour’s Wilson and like the worst British Prime Minister -the list is long- now wants. The bad English history with Europe was only reversed by two Englishmen with an American mother. When they rose to power in 1940, Macmillan told Churchill: “You and I owe Hitler. He made you PM and me undersecretary. No power on earth, except Hitler, could have done either.” They were not little Englanders, rather pro-European.


Once Hitler was defeated, Churchill spoke out from the always democratic German-speaking Zurich in 1946: There is a remedy which would make all Europe as free and as happy as Switzerland is today. We must build a kind of United States of Europe. The first step in the recreation of the European Family must be a partnership between France and Germany. The structure of the United States of Europe, if well and truly built, will be such as to make the material strength of a single state less important. Small nations will count as much as large ones and gain their honour by their contribution to the common cause. Great Britain must be the friend and sponsor of the new Europe and must champion its right to live and shine. Therefore I say to you: let Europe arise!” But Labour won the postwar general election and boycotted the precursor European Coal and Steel Community. Macmillan saw clearly that Britain had made a mistake as he said in 1951 when the Conservatives returned to power: “There would be a European Community which would dominate Europe. If we stay out we risk the German domination of Europe which we have fought two wars to prevent.” But when replaced an aged Churchill he refused to take part in the creation of the Common Market. Foreign minister Macmillan did send an observer to Messina, where the 1957 Treaty of Rome was being drafted, but wrote in his diary: “The Foreign Office is, from the time of Bevin (Labour) and Eden (Conservative), hostile to the European movement as a Churchill stunt!” When Britain walked out of Messina in late 1955 Macmillan admitted that they wanted a two-speed Europe: “We could not join so long as a proper relation could not be established between the inner and outer circles.” When he became Prime Minister Macmillan was too late and De Gaulle vetoed Britain. Ten years later another Conservative, Heath, finally joined in 1973, but the insular vaudeville continued and only two years later Labour’s Wilson held a referendum where the yes won at the cost of splitting Labour. As Labour’s Gaiskell argued: “It does mean the end of Britain as an independent European State. It means the end of 1,000 years of history.” Thatcher was a politician who avoided British insularity on Europe. She was concerned about other issues such as the threat to peace of communism and the threat to growth of statism that was suffocating industrialized economies. She won both battles. Communism is no longer an alternative nor is state ownership of the economy. But she left unresolved the question of Europe that still divides the Conservatives. Britain wants to be and not to be in Europe. Maybe independent Catalans will find ourselves out of Europe with the British, they because of little Englanders and we because of Spanish fascists. But before making new alliances with the English we should remember their bad history with Europe and with Catalonia. Better we look, as the pro-European Churchill did, to the free and happy Swiss with their Thatcherite ideal of freedom.


(“Thatcher i el mal rotllo anglès amb Europa,” by Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 1 May 2013)


Thatcher i el mal rotllo anglès amb Europa


per Josep C. Vergés


MacChurchill_html_555300cbDos grans europeistes angloamericans: Churchill amb Macmillan. Primera foto: La Dama de Ferro en bronze al Parlament, entre la gran Thatcher i el no res Cameron.



La dama de ferro va lluitar contra l’estatalisme, no només a Europa sinò principalment a Anglaterra. Thatcher no era antieuropea com és Cameron. Mai es va aixecar d’una taula com ha fet Cameron. Mai va exigir un referèndum sobre Europa com va fer el laborista Wilson i com vol refer potser el pitjor primer ministre -la llista és llarga- anglès. El mal rotllo anglès amb Europa només fou trencat per dos anglesos de mare americana. Quan el 1940 arriben al poder, Macmillan li diu a Churchill: “Tu i jo som deutors d’Hitler. Ell t’ha fet primer ministre i a mi director general. Cap poder terrenal, excepte Hitler, ho hagués aconseguit.” No eren insulars, sinó europeistes.


Derrotat Hitler, Churchill crida des de la sempre democràtica Zurich de parla alemanya el 1946: ”Tenim a mà una solució que pot fer tota Europa lliure i feliç com Suïssa és avui. Hem de construir com uns Estats Units d’Europa. El primer pas per a recrear la família europea ha de ser la col.laboració entre França i Alemanya. L’estructura dels Estats Units d’Europa, si es fa bé i sòlidament, serà tal que la força material d’un sol Estat perdi importància. Les petites nacions comptaran igual que les grans i se sentiran orgulloses de la seva contribució a la causa comuna. Gran Bretanya ha de ser l’amiga i patrocinadora de la nova Europa i liderar el seu dret a viure i brillar. Per això us dic: Europa aixeca’t!” Però els laboristes guanyen les eleccions de postguerra i boicotegen la precursora Comunitat Europea del Carbó i l’Acer. Macmillan veu clar que Anglaterra s’equivoca com diu el 1951 quan els conservadors tornen al poder: “Hi haurà una Comunitat Europea que dominarà Europa. Si no hi entrem correm el risc del domini alemany d’Europa que hem lluitat en dues guerres per evitar.” Però quan a l’envellit Churchill el substitueix Eden, aquest rebutja participar en la creació del Mercat Comú. El ministre d’afers estrangers Macmillan aconsegueix enviar un observador a Messina, on es redacta el Tractat de Roma de 1957, però escriu al seu dietari: “Afers Estrangers, des de l’època de Bevin (laborista) i Eden (conservador), són hostils al moviment europeu, que veuen com una maniobra de Churchill!” Macmillan reconeix, quan Anglaterra abandona Messina a finals de 1955, que ells volen una Europa de dues velocitats: “No podem entrar mentre no s’estableixi una relació correcta entre els cercles interior i exterior.” Quan Macmillan arriba a primer ministre ja ha fet tard i De Gaulle veta Anglaterra. Deu anys després un altre conservador, Heath, aconsegueix entrar el 1973, però segueix la comèdia insular i dos anys després el laborista Wilson fa un referèndum on guanya el sí, però divideix els laboristes. Com diu el laborista Gaiskell, Europa “vol dir la fi de Gran Bretanya com un Estat europeu independent. Vol dir la fi de mil anys d’història.” Thatcher fou una política que va esquivar l’insularisme anglès sobre Europa. Ella estava preocupada per altres temes com l’amenaça per la pau del comunisme i l’amenaça pel creixement de l’estatalisme que ofegava els paisos industrials. Va guanyar les dues batalles. El comunisme ja no és cap alternativa i la propietat estatal de l’economia tampoc. Però va deixar sense resoldre la questió d’Europa que segueix dividint els conservadors. Anglaterra està i no vol estar a Europa. Potser els catalans ens trobem amb els anglesos fora d’Europa, ells per culpa dels insulars i nosaltres per culpa dels franquistes. Però abans de fer noves aliances amb els anglesos recordem el seu mal rotllo amb Europa i Catalunya. Millor, com l’europeista Churchill, mirem els lliures i feliços suissos, ideal de llibertat realment thatcherià.


(“Thatcher i el mal rotllo anglès amb Europa,” per Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 1 maig 2013)


1 May 2013 - Posted by | News comment/Comentari al dia, Politics/Política | ,


  1. A lot of food for thought in this. I see that you are keeping an eye on the UK! What I know about the European Union is from Alan Milward: that idealism fo the pan European type wasn’t a part of any of the formers of the union: that it was forced by economic need etc…. His – I’ve not got the title at hand – is a very good study.

    Note from the editor:I’m not so sure that there were no ideals in Europe, but I did want to point out that two Anglo-Americans favoured European integration and also that Thatcher was not anti-European, rather anti-Statism which is not quite the same.


    Comment by James | 1 May 2013 | Reply

  2. With the European Union at a crossroads, what direction will it take? Will the whole European project unravel under the weight of the Eurozone crisis, or is this the beginning of the end for true national sovereignty on the continent? Is it time for the U.S. to end its never-ending support for “ever-closer union” in Europe?


    Comment by Wilson Peters | 22 May 2013 | Reply

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