E.P. Thompson & the 1975 European Referendum

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2016 by kmflett

E.P. Thompson & the 1975 European Referendum

It is unfortunately a good bet that even if you are interested you haven’t heard of of Lexit, the left leave campaign for the June 23rd Referendum.

With both Tony Benn and Bob Crow sadly dead and Jeremy Corbyn supporting ‘in’ the Lexit campaign lacks a figurehead that will attract media attention.

Back in 1975 it was rather different. The socialist historian E.P. Thompson was given space in the pre-Murdoch Sunday Times to present the case for leaving what was then the EEC.

I’ve already posted about the lighter hearted aspect of Thompson’s remarks: the Euro-stomach.

He also however made some very serious points.

Thompson argued that ‘going into’ Europe was humbug for four reasons:

1. He argued ‘we are there already’ Britain is part of Europe as commonly defined.
2. Secondly he argued that the 1975 EEC was not Europe. It should also include ‘Warsaw, Prague and Belgrade
3. He noted that the Common Market defined Europe at its ‘crassiest’ level ‘a group of fat rich nations feeding each other’
4. He suggested that the EEC defined ‘introversial white bourgeois nationalism’ as internationalism

This was then not in Socialist Worker or the Morning Star but the Sunday Times.

He went on to suggest, returning to his earlier theme that the Euro-Stomach would soon find the need to ‘Euronate’ and this would be done over the British working class.

Unfortunately E.P. Thompson died aged 69 in 1993

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