Cameron to Tory MPs and cabinet ministers: oh, all right, 1975 rules apply

June 9, 2015 at 1:09 am (David Cameron, democracy, Europe, Guest post, history)

Back to 1975 and Wilson’s handling of the the Common Market referendum: this is what, apparently, Cameron has now backed down and  agreed to:

Vick E Morris's photo.

From the school of offending almost everyone, a Jak cartoon from 1975, showing the curious array of parties supporting withdrawal from the Common Market, the precursor of the European Union. The cartoonist Jak was pretty right-wing, I understand. One could draw a cartoon showing odd bedfellows for staying in the Common Market also.

All of the main parties allowed their MPs to campaign whichever way they liked and there were cross-party campaigns on either side, much as we saw in the recent Scottish referendum campaign. At the front of this – imaginary – march we see left-wing Labour MPs including Michael Foot, Tony Benn and Peter Shore, happily linking arms with Enoch Powell.

Note, also, that the SNP was then anti-Common Market. I think all of them had the wrong political line on this issue but I should point out that they never did march – or share a platform – with fascist opponents of the Common Market [JD adds: I think Michael Foot *did* share a platform with Enoch Powell, but I may be wrong: readers are encouraged to research this].

For an independent, left-wing campaign to stay in the EU!


  1. John R said,

    • John r said,

      Btw, one of the other people sharing the platform with Enoch Powell in the photo was the left leader of the TGWU, Jack Jones.

  2. Mike Killingworth said,

    Who’s that in the middle of the front row?

  3. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    I campaigned with the T&G NO. And we were proven to have not lied unlike those who said it was just a trade deal.
    It is now a corrupt gravy train for idle politicians sucking up taxpayers money for their fancy lifestyles. All so predictable.

  4. caseypurvis said,


  5. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    David. Check out Shiraz Socialist latest post on the EU. Some photo on the links to take you down memory lane including our Enoch.

  6. John R said,

    Back to the present.

    I’m not aware of the views of Jeremy Corbyn on whether or not to leave the EU but in 2011 he did defy the Labour whip to vote for a Referendum on the issue. So I’ll take a guess that he’s going to take the “traditional left” view that the UK should leave.

    It’s unlikely that we’ll see him share a platform with Nigel Farage but who knows? After all, it’s still pretty bizarre to see a shared anti Common Market platform with (Spanish Civil War socialist) Jack Jones and (Rivers of Blood Tory) Enoch Powell in the photo I linked to above.

    Btw, John McdDonald MP has recently up a Radical Labour website where one of the first articles is an anti EU one by Kevin Hopkins MP.'s%20time%20to%20walk%20away.html

    • John R said,

      To be fair, the Radical Labour site I mentioned also has a left case for voting “Yes” to the EU article by Luke Cooper.'yes'%20and%20a%20proposal.html

    • Jim Denham said,

      According to this evening’s Radio 4 PM programme’s report on the GMB hustings in Dublin, at which all the candidates (ie including Corbyn) were present, they all said they were in favour of staying in the EU.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        Not surprising the bigger the fiddle the less accountability. Corbyn would be at home.

      • John R said,

        I’ve no doubt that what you say about the Radio 4 PM programme is correct, Jim.

        However, in the Guardian report (15:22) of the same hustings it said this –

        “Q: In what circumstances would you advocated a no vote in the EU referendum?

        Corbyn says he is concerned about attacks on workers conditions. And he is concerned that the EU is getting closer to Nato. And he is concerned about how the EU is imposing austerity on Greece.”

        That comes across to me as a Morning Star critique of the EU and why the UK should leave but there is no report here of Corbyn either saying Yes or No to the EU.

        The GMB is a (critical) supporter of staying in the EU(1) and this might well have played a part in how Corbyn put his view across. I don’t know (obviously) but I’d be curious to see what he would say if there was a direct Yes or No question put to him.

        (1)”GMB is at the forefront of the European trade union campaign to balance the social and economic dimensions of Europe and ensure a future for our European Social Model, which – though under threat – remains Europe’s proudest and most popular achievement.”

  7. Steven Johnston said,

    To be fair the right-wing labourites, Dennis Healey did also recenlty say the UK should leave. Though I accept his opinion no longer counts.

    But having a vote on staying in or out of the EU, for socialists, is a bit like having a vote if Salford is part of Manchester or should become a seperate city.

    Though I’d laugh if the far-left campaign to stay in for a socialist Europe or opt out for a socialist UK and have to share a platform with the right who argue for a freer market outside of the EU or one inside it.

  8. Jim Denham said,

    That guy who used to be Alan Thornett on the EU referendum on why you should vote YES and why that does not contradict everything they’ve said for the last two decades.

    “SR has not yet taken a view on this. In my opinion, however, the right way to vote in this referendum will be Yes.”

    • Jim Denham said,

      Thornett’s change of heart is welcome but politically bizarre: here’s his previous ‘line’ on the EU, expounded in the course of a debate with the AWL:

      • dagmar said,

        Maybe Thornett’s change of line on the EU is just a reflection on how far away his pointless grouplet has moved away from what actually is, and also – more importantly – what *they considered to be* revolutionary socialism?

        Are they not all leftish social democrats now?

        (And no, Jim D, I am not saying that to argue for a yes vote means you a) are either a vaguely left social democrat, or b) not a revolutionary socialist; merely trying to point out that the UK Mandelites seem to be throwing their baby out with their bathwater. They’re welcome to throw them away, obviously, but not in my direction, please).

  9. Steven Johnston said,

    Re the EU imposing austerity on Greece, yes, they are but only in the same way a Doctor imposes medicine/treatment on a sick patient. What option does the Dr have? They did not cause the illness, so I would be unfair to blame the Dr…or the EU for austerity. If Greece left the EU their own government would have no choice but to impose austerity on thier own people.

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      Steven. Greece imposed austerity on themselves. The so called left in power are negotiating with the powers they claim imposed austerity while they collect their salaries.
      This mob of leftie shysters will collapse into the dustbin of history.

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