When the facts change, I change my mind. what do you do, sir?by Michael Meacher / July 20, 1998 / Leave a comment
Published in July 1998 issue of Prospect Magazine
Like most members of the Labour party, I voted no in the 1975 referendum on membership of the common market, as we then called it. We regarded it as a rich man’s club, a protectionist racket run for the benefit of the bosses and against the interests of the workers and the third world. It was emphatically not part of the new world economic order of which we dreamed. As a result, I campaigned enthusiastically for the party policy adopted in the early 1980s of immediate withdrawal.
Now, of course, I have changed my mind. Otherwise I would not be a member of the present government. But despite what some of my left-wing friends might think, I have not changed my views just to get a job in government. Nor have I recanted solely because the anti-Europeans-John Redwood, Tony Marlow, the late James Goldsmith -are such an unappealing group. I now believe that the European Union provides an essential forum for the pursuit of progressive politics. The nation state, the crucible of left-of-centre politics, is no longer powerful enough to deliver our goals.