190 years of The Spectator
4 June 1975
At no time during the campaign have the opponents of our membership of the EEC been remotely as unbalanced, as hysterical or as deliberately personally insulting as those in the opposite camp. Naturally, as in any vigorously fought campaign, there have been some fibs and half-truths on both sides; and each partisan has looked eagerly at evidence which may have several possible interpretations in order to find material that will support his cause. But nothing on the anti-Market side has even begun to equal the tirade of personal insults, and the sickening appeal to fear, that has characterised everything the pro-Marketeers have done.
More: though the pro-Marketeers of both parties have, in every major House of Commons debate in which they needed support from waverers, stressed that the object of negotiations with the EEC was to see whether a deal advantageous for Britain could be done, and though they insisted on our ability to go it alone if necessary, their current emphasis is on the weakness, poverty and inability of Britain. Never has the country seen so systematic a campaign of denigration of its people and their capacities by so many senior politicians.Our ability to survive and grow strong again depends above all on our ability to rediscover our sense of ourselves, our sense of who and what we are; and it is impossible for us to achieve that recovery within the maw of a European bureaucracy bent on turning our eyes in on the cape of a continent, and away from the perspectives of the wider world.
An affirmative vote on Thursday is, in the strictest sense of the world, a suicidal vote: it would be one in which the great Island Race voted to end its own existence.