SMITH: Modern, ‘woke’ lefties need a history lesson about UK’s Eurosceptics

in Op-Ed

The ‘progressive’ youth of today are constantly banging-on about lowering the national voting age. The thing is, most of them convey such a degree of ignorance and stupidity that they really aren’t the best examples of their beliefs.

I remember reading that not long after the European referendum in 2016, a number of Momentum supporters had referred to veteran Bolsover MP, Dennis Skinner, as ‘a Tory’ for voting in favour of Leave. Anyone with the most basic concept of Mr Skinner and his politics will know that that is a statement on a level of moronic that’s hard to reach.

Of course, the woke political activists – and even Labour MP Owen Smith – believe that Brexit is something cooked-up by right-wingers, which is why so many of UKIP’s vote at the 2017 General Election went to Labour. Obviously. But it’s not just instances like this that convey their ignorance, but ever since the end of World War II there has been a long line of Labour and left-wing stances against European integration, often in resistance of Conservatives pushing for it.

In January 1963, Tory MP Harold Macmillan saw the UK’s application to join the EEC rejected by French President Charles de Gaulle, a matter of months after Labour leader, Hugh Gaitskell, stating at their party conference in Brighton, that joining the European community would “end a thousand years of history”.

Skip forward twelve years, and Britain are in the EEC (taken in by Tory PM Edward Heath), but Harold Wilson is now in No 10 and honours his promise of a referendum on membership. At an Oxford Union debate in the June of 1975, Labour MP Peter Shore gives a barnstorming speech in-front of a glaring Heath, in which he said:


Therefore, now what do they say? What is the message that comes now? No longer to tell the British people about the goodies that lie there. No longer that. That won’t wash – will it? Because the evidence will no longer support it. So the message, the message that comes out is fear, fear, fear. Fear because you won’t have any food. Fear of unemployment.
Fear that we’ve somehow been so reduced as a country that we can no longer, as it were, totter about in the world independent as a nation.

In this mini history lesson for stupid lefties, this is perhaps the most glaring example they have missed is the excerpt from Labour’s 1983 General Election manifesto. Regardless of its electoral failure, Michael Foot was clear in his plan to get Britain out of Europe should he have been given the mandate to govern.


On taking office we will open preliminary negotiations with the other EEC member states to establish a timetable for withdrawal; and we will publish the results of these negotiations in a White Paper. In addition, as soon as possible after the House assembles, we will introduce a Repeal Bill: first, in order to amend the 1972 European Communities Act, ending the powers of the Community in the UK; and second, to provide the necessary powers to repeal the 1972 Act, when the negotiations on withdrawal are completed.

Labour Party manifesto, 1983

Whilst the Conservative Party has been rife with fissures caused by Europe ever since we entered the EEC under Heath, no Tories have ever formally formed a breakaway party off the back of it. In 1981, one of the key reasons behind four former Labour cabinet ministers’ decision to form the SDP was Labour’s European position, and in the opposite to the current left’s belief that anything Brexit is right-wing, veteran Labour MP Tony Benn stated in 1982:


I think the SDP really is a very right-wing party. In a funny way it’s more right-wing than Mrs. Thatcher because Mrs. Thatcher is an old-fashioned liberal, if you know what I mean, she believes in market forces and small government. But my knowledge and experience of the SDP is that they believe in a centralised system, they believe in a federal Europe in which we would only be a province under Brussels…

Quite the contrary to today’s belief that anything that supports leaving Europe is right-wing.

David Owen, now Lord Owen, rejoined the Labour Party in recent years and has shifted his opinion towards Brexit, supporting Vote Leave during the 2016 referendum campaign, alongside other prominent Brexit-supporting left-wingers such as Gisela Stuart, Kate Hoey and George Galloway.

All these examples show-up a large number of modern-day lefties as ignorant and moronic, but perhaps this final example is the most damning of all for them. Their martyr, their hero, has always been a prominent Eurosceptic, too.

Yes, old Jez himself.


We have a European bureaucracy totally unaccountable to anybody, powers have gone from national parliaments – they haven’t gone to the European Parliament, they’ve gone to the Commission and to some extent the Council of Ministers. These are quite serious matters

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party conference, 1996

Jeremy Corbyn has been a longstanding Eurosceptic and hasn’t been secretive about it either. Not only did he vote for leaving Europe in 75 before becoming an MP, but Corbyn also voted against the Lisbon Treaty more than once, defied his own party’s whip and voted for a referendum in 2011, and of course, during the 2016 campaign, disappeared on holiday and failed to show at any key Remain rallies or events.

What does this go to show about Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom? It shows that it’s not a case of us being left or right – we are just right.

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Jack Oliver Smith is the Editor-in-Chief of Type News

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Jack is the Editor-in-Chief of Type News. A journalist with interests in political campaign analysis and strategy, Jack has also worked for the US website New Media Central since 2016, reporting primarily on the developments of Britain's withdrawal from the EU and the Trump presidency.

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