Cameron: "What kind of Europe do we want?"
Angela Merkel: "The task of our generation is to complete economic and monetary union, and build political union in Europe, step by step. That does not mean less Europe, it means more Europe. If the euro fails, then Europe will fail.
David Cameron: "Change brings opportunities, an opportunity to begin to refashion the EU so it better serves this nation’s interests and the interests of its other 26 nations too. An opportunity, in Britain’s case, for powers to ebb back instead of flow away, and for the European Union to focus on what really matters. That is the kind of fundamental reform I yearn for, and I am determined to do everything possible to deliver it."
If these statements are not mutally exclusive, there is certainly a chasm between them of the order of that which separates heaven from hell. Chancellor Merkel helpfully confirms that the ECSC/EEC/EC/EU project was and is about political union; not mere matters of trade, as we were told in 1973. She also succinctly confirms the Monnet/Schuman doctrine of the incremental fusion of nation states. 'Fused’ is the word Monnet used in 1952, and is wholly consistent with the language of EU treaties. For this to be achieved without the peoples of Europe realising what was happening, the plan was to be accomplished in successive steps. Each was to be disguised as having an economic purpose, but all, taken together, would inevitably and irreversibly lead to federation.
After Europe’s coal and steel production were pooled, Europe’s atomic programmes were to be co-ordinated. Then would follow the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Market. After this would come the single currency, and so on. The anti-EEC leaflet of the 1975 referendum plainly set out the dangers of such a federation, warning: ‘The fundamental question is whether or not we remain free to rule ourselves in our own way... the Common Market...sets out by stages to merge Britain with France, Germany, Italy and other countries into a single nation... our right, by our votes, to change policies and laws in Britain will steadily dwindle.’ Hugh Gaitskell uttered the same warning at the 1962 Labour Party Conference, when he spoke of ‘the end of Britain as an independent nation state... the end of a thousand years of history. You may say “let it end” but, my goodness, it is a decision that needs a little care and thought.’
It would be easy to confuse Gaitskell with today's 'xenophobic right-wing swivel-eyed loons'. But successive European treaties have shown that his fears were not without foundation. The question for Mr Cameron is what will he do if France and Germany proceed (as they will) with 'more Europe'? Eurosceptic-sounding speeches are all well and good, but there comes a point when the rhetoric is devoid of credibility. The Prime Minister is not stupid: he knows that 'for powers to ebb back instead of flow away' will require the unanimous consent of 26 other nations. That means a further amendment to the Treaty of Rome, and so a new EU treaty. And he is pledged to put any further treaty to a referendum of the people. Hmm...