THE YEAR 1972 saw the House of Commons commit Britain to joining the European Economic Community, the pre-runner of the European Union, by 309 to 301 votes. Since 1972 the controversy around Britain’s membership of the EU has never ceased or faded away.
Every day sees further introduction of EU directives and regulations, all intended to further entwine and entangle Britain into political and economic integration with the EU. For example, British law addressing street pedlars and beggars from the 19th century is scrapped as EU directives overturn protective legislation in favour of unbridled aggressive door to door sales techniques.
The fortieth anniversary of then Prime Minister Edward Heath’s drive to Europe, supported as now by politicians from all parliamentary parties, was the only alleged triumph of Heath’s brief but brutal premiership. Unfortunately it is a “triumph” we are still suffering from.
Look at other dates in 1972 and we see a very different vibrant working class compared with today, dealing with attack after attack.
In January, the first national miners’ strike since 1926, followed by a state of emergency in February. In March and April the Transport and General Workers Union are fined tens of thousands of pounds by the National Industrial Relations Court (NIRC) over secondary picketing in Liverpool docks.
ON 21 July five dockers are jailed for contempt of court for refusing to lift secondary picketing, and released on 26 July as millions of workers take supportive strike action.
In September the TUC suspends any union registered under the Industrial Relations Act. In November the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers is fined by the NIRC for refusing a scab a union card. The AUEW responds by calling its million strong membership out on strike.
Set against those tidal waves of class battles, the actions of treacherous MPs providing the majority for the passing of the European Communities Bill, may have slipped past the attention of Britain’s organised workers. But 40 years on the deindustrialisation of Britain, the fragmentation of union and nation, the destruction of independent working class and trade union organisation, the loss of sovereignty and national independence, plus Britain’s perilous finance situation, cannot be ignored and must be firmly laid with Heath and those Quisling-like MPs.
The rise of the European Union and the decline of British working class clarity and political acumen are linked. We should mark the fortieth anniversary by reasserting our determination to take Britain out of the European Union, break the chains and reassert our class and national independence. ■