Monday, October 27, 2008

Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges Speech – 20 years on

On September 19th 1988, Margaret Thatcher lit a candle in Bruges which to this day has not been extinguished. In a speech to the College of Europe, she proclaimed: “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”

This is the central tenet of what became known as the ‘Bruges Speech’, which, two decades on, remains a seminal text for British ‘Euro-sceptics’. And doubtless it will continue to be so until the nation is liberated from

This evening the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven OM will be the guest of honour at a dinner commemorating the 20th anniversary of her speech, and there will be contributions from the Lord Tebbit and Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic. His Grace was invited, but, owing to the lack of a corporeal presence, was unable to accept.

He does, however, wish to send his best wishes to the Great Lady and also to the Bruges Group – the think-tank which was founded to work towards the realisation of Margaret Thatcher’s vision for the EU.

Doubtless there will be a few complaints from Cranmer’s communicants at Conservative HQ or those who join us from Parliament’s servers, with warnings that ‘banging on about Europe’ will do nothing to win the Conservative Party the next general election, or that it will cause divisions within the Party which will ‘turn the voters off’.

Well, Cranmer says phooey. Yes, he knows that is not the most eloquent of words, and that it falls far short of the standards he set himself in his magnum opus, but he is sick and tired of the tedious micro-management of nuanced policy shifts which get swamped by big media events like the foot and mouth, bird flu, global warming or the credit crunch, only for Prime Minister Brown - like Prime Minister Blair before him – to arise from a near death experience (with the unparalleled genius assistance of the Lord Mandelson), and watch a thirty-point lead in the polls to be eroded back to single digits.

The thought of a fourth Labour victory is too depressing to contemplate.

The Conservative narrative must be changed to incorporate some big, unforgettable, media-dominating headlines which can sink into the national consciousness over the next year. There is no point delaying such announcements until nearer the election, for there will be no time to expound the details, and no time for the electorate to grasp the vision or believe it were possible.

And so the Lord Tebbit articulates one such policy: David Cameron must promise a referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union.

Simple, straightforward, democratic, and popular. The Conservative Party would win one of its largest majorities ever, and could remain in office long enough to implement a generation of transformative and regenerative policies.

Just think of a Conservative Party articulating the Thatcher conviction – authentic, courageous, visionary, and inspirational. The manifesto is written:

‘The first guiding principle is this: willing and active co-operation between independent sovereign states is the best way to build a successful European Community.

‘To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardise the objectives we seek to achieve.

‘Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality.

‘Some of the founding fathers of the Community thought that the United States of America might be its model. But the whole history of America is quite different from Europe.

‘People went there to get away from the intolerance and constraints of life in Europe.

‘They sought liberty and opportunity; and their strong sense of purpose has over two centuries, helped create a new unity and pride in being American - just as our pride lies in being British or Belgian or Dutch or German.

‘I am the first to say that on many great issues the countries of Europe should try to speak with a single voice. I want to see us work more closely on the things we can do better together than alone. Europe is stronger when we do so, whether it be in trade, in defence, or in our relations with the rest of the world.

‘But working more closely together does not require power to be centralised in Brussels or decisions to be taken by an appointed bureaucracy.

‘We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level, with a European super¬state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.

‘Certainly we want to see Europe more united and with a greater sense of common purpose. But it must be in a way which preserves the different traditions, parliamentary powers and sense of national pride in one's own country; for these have been the source of Europe's vitality through the centuries.

‘If we cannot reform those Community policies which are patently wrong or ineffective and which are rightly causing public disquiet, then we shall not get the public's support for the Community's future development.

‘What we need now is to take decisions on the next steps forward rather than let ourselves be distracted by Utopian goals. Utopia never comes, because we know we should not like it if it did.

‘Let Europe be a family of nations, understanding each other better appreciating each other more, doing more together but relishing our national identity no less than our common European endeavour.

‘Let us have a Europe which plays its full part in the wider world, which looks outward not inward, and which preserves that Atlantic Community - that Europe on both sides of the Atlantic - which is our noblest inheritance and our greatest strength.’

It is the stuff of greatness: it could be the foundation of a new era of Conservative inspiration and leadership.

On the other hand, they could continue talking about ‘being in Europe but not run by Europe’ (while ‘ever closer union’ continues apace), sharing the proceeds of growth (in a recession), adjustments to capital gains tax (while house prices plummet), fixing Britain’s ‘broken society’ (while Parliament legislates for fatherless children), improving standards in education (while truancy and exclusion rates soar), bringing back matron (while people die for want of drugs), or the importance of societal cohesion (while local authorities are at breaking point coping with uncontrollable immigration).

Or they could even ape Senator Obama and just talk about the need for change.

That seems to work.

But without a vision, the people perish.


Blogger Griz said...

Excellent stuff, I agree.

27 October 2008 at 09:25  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Your Grace,

I hesitate to quibble with a matter not germane to the content of Your Grace's post, but the peerage of the United Kingdom knows of no person by the style and title of Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. It does, however, know of a person by the style and title of Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincoln. The comma is all important. The designation "of Kesteven" comes after the title but is not of the title. It appears in the letters patent by which Mrs Thatcher was raised to the peerage but it is not part of the style and title by which her Ladyship is now known. A contrast may be drawn with, say, Baroness Jay of Paddington, of Paddington in the City of Westminster. The first "of Paddington" is part of the title: her Ladyship is properly known by the style and title of Baroness Jay of Padddington, the better to distinguish her from other, more ancient baronies of Jay.
The mistake is one that has been repeated ad nauseam in relation to Lord Mandelson, of Foy in the County of Hereford and of Hartlepool in County Durham. His Lordship goes by the style and title of Lord Mandelson and nothing more.

I have the honour to remain, etc.

27 October 2008 at 09:42  
Anonymous No shortage of fools said...

Why didn't Maggie give us a referendum then?

27 October 2008 at 09:46  
OpenID curly15 said...

Excellent article, we need a spirit of John Bright, as articulated by Bill Cash today.

27 October 2008 at 09:46  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Joseph,

His Grace thanks you for your perception and dedication to the accuracy of honorific minutiae.

He shall leave the post as it is, as testimony to his fallibility and fallenness.

27 October 2008 at 09:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace.
I and the rest of the country with the few exceptions of head teacher Brown & his staff of creeping lap dogs thank you for your clear guidance on the jabberwocky known as the EU. One can only pray that the esteemed Mr Cameron is among your many admirers & readers.
We the people have had enough of this adult nursery with broken promises and smug politicos feeding us rubbish & expecting us
to swallow it, we DEMAND our right to vote on issues that affect us,
we DEMAND our constitutional rights, we are supposed to be a democracy, there it has been said.
Now before the stasi come to kick down my door, having read this from their snoopmobile or whatever
what is left to say but, Cranmer for P.M. Your obedient servant.

27 October 2008 at 10:37  
Blogger Timothy Belmont said...

Dear Archbishop,

Wonderful blog and my kindest wishes and compliments are extended to Your Grace.

Lady Thatcher is probably my top political hero(ine).


27 October 2008 at 10:44  
Blogger McKenzie said...

As it has been stated many times before, you cannot slide a cigarette paper between any of the main political parties. You are all talking the same arrogant crap and ignoring the very people that you are supposed to be representing. In such a climate it only takes a very small occurrence to swing the needle of popularity in either direction: braking wind could lose an election.

You Tories are more arrogant than most and this will be your downfall. I do not relish another term under this brutal and oppressive regime, but the idea of handing over the gravy jug to you lot does not turn me on either. I think you will need to wake up to this fact and understand that unless you start listening to the people, and show that you are listening with visible feedback, we will be inclined to stick to the devil we know.

You are going to have to re-write the whole Wealth of Nations mentality handbook before I accept the fact that you are not just waiting to have your turn in the Pirate Ship and set off plundering and robbing the rest of us. We are about to descend into major hard times, and the idea of a bunch of arrogant toffs lording it over the rest of us while we scrape our eekage out of Gradgrind's utilitarian charity pot is not a model that I would like to try and sell at the moment.

Excellent speech though Cranmer! It will cut it with the semi educated and above, but the any who are voting below this level will I think be less than impressed. They have a gut instinct about jungle survival, and bags of hot air do not feed the cubs.

27 October 2008 at 11:04  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

I tell you what. she would never have led us in to where we are now. She would have taken strong action years ago to avoid what we now have.

I do miss her. I have never known the country in such safe hands.

God Bless Her.

27 October 2008 at 11:09  
Blogger Captain Haddock said...

Are all your correspondents as mawkishly sentimental about the old bird as these few seem to suggest? Surely the present crisis has underlined just how wrong she got it on some pretty vital things.

27 October 2008 at 11:15  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Like what.

27 October 2008 at 11:36  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

27 October 2008 at 12:36  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Your Grace we don’t have the Conservative party of the 80’s anymore, we have a sometimes slightly right of centre consensus group hug that twitters on about placebo issues like the environment, and all things green and PC. The Tory party under Cameron is simply too afraid of the criticism, and lacks the confidence to deal with the outpouring of splenic vitriol that would emanate from the chattering MSM classes to be truly Tory. The Tory front bench is fully committed to the EU agenda and any expectation that the next conservative government will withdraw the UK from the EU is just self-delusion.

We see the parallel in the US election, the one thing the evangelicals could have expected from a Bush administration was the repeal of Row V Wade, it hasn’t happened and they rightly feel betrayed as they do on not having morning prayers re-introduced into schools. By the way your conclusion about numbers of Protestants vs. Catholics voting for Obama only works if you strip out the Protestants Black population, it’s a fudge. The point is a future Tory government will not give us a referendum on EU membership, and any expectations in that direction will also be betrayed. Labour and Tory today are shades of Grey, driven by focus groups and marketing polls neither are driven from principles but the desire for power and membership of the political class system.

27 October 2008 at 12:58  
Blogger Dave said...

Your Grace,
Interesting wording of the referendum question-
" whether the UK should leave the European Union."

Is that a better way to go than "Whether the UK should stay in the EU"?

As with all referendums (das?)the trick is in the wording of the question.

If the UK governemnt keep on giving powers to Brussels at the current rate, it will be impossible to leave, I fear.

One can live in hope
word ver= spalin.
She gets in everywhere

27 October 2008 at 13:32  
Anonymous Miserable Sinner said...

Mr. Recusant:

I am very conservative, and this will be the first Presidential election in my adult life in which I will not vote. Both candidates are unworthy of the honor.

Roe v. Wade, if overturned, would simply return the question of abortion rights to the 50 individual states. Some of them would outlaw all or nearly all abortions, a few would probably allow it for the full nine months. If I had to predict how things will go, I would predict a gradual chipping away at the "right" to a late-term abortion as medical science develops its ability to keep the very pre-term alive. I doubt that Roe v. Wade will be overturned within the next 30 years.

The public (state) school system in the USA is probably in its death throes. 49% of kindergarten-age children in the USA are now non-white, and most whites are only happy to send their children to a public school if it is at least 75%, and preferably 95% white, with white teachers and a white principal. The current mortgaqe mess is to some degree tied to the school situation, as many middle-class people bought a far larger and more expensive house than they needed to get into a school district that they hoped would stay overwhelmingly white at least until their youngest child graduated at age 18. Increasingly, the middle classes are forming small parochial schools, or small groups of cooperating "home-schoolers" who take turns teaching various subjects to each others children. The American population is aging, and fewer and fewer people care what happens to the public (state) schools, except to the extent that it might have an effect on their property values.

Morning prayers in the public schools were an anachronism held over from the olden days when public (community) schools were organized and funded by groups of parents in lightly populated areas who typically either were all of the same denomination because they were all Methodists from Wales or Lutherans from Germany. If the parents WERE of different denominations, they tended to settle on religious content based on what is sometimes known in America as Homogenized Protestantism. Atheists and agnostics were few and far between in most areas, and tended to keep their mouths shut. In heavily Jewish areas, I think there was a lot more of an effort to stick with the OT in morning assemblies, but in other areas, Jews often said nothing, either because they were such a tiny minority, or because their children were being given a free education through high school even though their Russian or Lithuanian parents were illiterate. If your child is the first in the family to get an education, you are able to overlook quite a bit, and probably lack the confidence to criticize the establishment when you can't even read the notes and letters being sent home.

By the 60s, people were no longer as willing to compromise, and school prayer was outlawed in 1964, I believe. Since then, Nativity Pageants and even Christmas carols have been gradually eliminated from many schools, to the point that many Christians no longer want their children to be educated by the state. I certainly would NEVER want some agnostic state teacher rolling her eyes and sarcastically spouting an all-inclusive state-approved "prayer" in front of my children or grandchildren.

Eventually, we'll probably end up with some sort of voucher system. The teachers' unions are hanging on for dear life, and endlessly claim that if the state schools got the funding that the prisons get, every child graduating from high school would be a Nobel Prize Winner. But as the state schools are increasingly non-white, they are less and less able to compete with private schooling or home schooling. The state schools are in a downward performance spiral, and there is no way that they will be able to pull out of it. I've heard white people with kids in the state schools say that they feel that they have to defend their decision to enroll them there whenever they cross paths with home schoolers and private schoolers.

Even though I capitalize Miserable Sinner, it comes up on the blog comments in all small letters. And now I notice that none of the other posters have capitalized names. The archbishop has his ways of keeping us humble, I suppose.

27 October 2008 at 18:16  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Good.Many of my American friends are voting for the first time in years.

28 October 2008 at 02:34  
Anonymous Global Communism said...

Kick the door in Generals, History Beckons.
Bring down the Communists New World Order.

28 October 2008 at 05:00  
Blogger Tomrat said...

Your Grace,

There are, most likely, several reasons why Call Me Dave and the Bory's have not promised a referrendum on "the question":

1. An early announcemnet that the Bory party will promise a "referrendum" on EU membership status (personally I find it silly to talk in such nebulous terms as "in" or "out") will enable a very EU-philic BBC, C4 and all its guardianistas a ready line to build up negative opinion of both the Tory's and misinformation on leaving the EU costs (with little given to the benefits).

2. They is little or no difference in political opinion between the 2 groups, NuLabour and the Bory; in naive black and white terms this amounts to whether we want a fiscal autocracy or a social one - either way we get an autocracy which has the same negative impacts just vented in different ways on the inidividual.

3. The Bory party's swathe of EU-philes hold dominion over the party politic as a whole; this is further strengthened by the presence of Bory MEP's and other EU-mouthpieces would quicklly jump when they realised their jobs and pension was threatened.

I think Call Me Dave will wax lyrical about greater autonomy but his guff wont contain any real substance or ideas regarding policy.

The acid test will be to see how much more we start to see people like Ken Clarke; George Osbourne is damaged goods now and it will become increasingly likely he will be replaced before time with someone like this rabid europhile.

That will tell us more about Dave's "EU" credentials.

28 October 2008 at 09:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cranmer Ridley Latimer and all of The Reformation would deplore the apostasy and return to a " Treaty Of Rome " under any form of disguise .
Yet they would concur this is only what scripture foretold and must be .
May I suggest a website ?

28 October 2008 at 21:34  

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