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A terrible frivolity

In a few weeks the D-Mark will be dead and the European Union will have greatly deepened. Watching from the margin, the British people have been let down by one dominant trait of their political class, irrespective of party: chronic inconsistency over half a century

By Hugo Young   October 1998

In July 1961, when Harold Macmillan first announced that Britain would investigate terms for its entry into the Common Market, one man who favoured the decision was Enoch Powell. A year later, Powell entered the cabinet and thus became a fully acquiescent member of the team collectively responsible for negotiating, with ever more urgent anxiety, to get in. He didn’t last long, resigning from his ministry in outrage at the replacement of Macmillan by an unelected politician, Lord Home. But it is one of the choicer ironies of the history of Britain-in-Europe that for Powell, who became the refulgent prophet…

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