Have just come across this Hansard report on Margaret Thatcher’s archive (having seen references to it elsewhere) – http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/108234. It from PM’s question time and deals with issues to do with Europe, the single currency, reform of farm subsidies and the invasion of Kuwait – 21 years ago and yet so much that is debated still has relevance today.
Whatever your political viewpoint, I urge you to read this (despite it being quite long, representing 1.5hrs of debating time) because, as Mark Twain apparently said: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
I was particularly struck by Tony Benn’s comments (considering his modern incarnation as an elder statesman), the intervention of Dr David Owen (considering the current policy of the LibDems), the comments about the European Central Bank, the role of the EU Commission, the risks of and to a single currency, the need for democratic accountability, the need to reform the CAP, the movement of people in Europe, the need for large transfers of money to support the poorer regions of the EU, the principle that governments should not bind future generations.
Finally I was amused by the objection at the end that the House had spent five hours the previous day discussing dogs but only one and a half discussing an Inter Governmental Conference – it does make you wonder at our priorities then and now.
Feel free to comment (politely).
Huw – thank you highlighting this debate. I can only suggest that the quality of debate has declined since then. I suspect that we may each have taken heart from different sections of the report, but it was so impressive to see how much, as a debator, it counts to be totally in command of your brief. Not only that, but the vision to embrace it’s implications.
Thank you Paul – glad you enjoyed – have to say I was amazed by the level of detail the PM was expected and able to cover in 2hrs of questioning (in those days PMQs happened twice a week). The thing I found interesting was that so many of the comments about currency union seemed so prescient (apparently Jacques Delors has now admitted the “the sceptical Anglo-Saxons” were right after all to question how exactly such a thing would work without a central treasury and unified tax policies). Can’t say I took much heart from any of it though – “told you so” is not a policy – as for the continued existence of the trade distorting, corruption feeding, cash consuming CAP – well, I think my views on that are probably self evident.