YP Letters: Our economy has changed since 1975 vote over Europe

From: John Van der Gucht, Cross Hills, North Yorkshire.

Theresa May at this week's Tory conference.

AS a Christian, divine intervention in the form of Neil McNicholas must bring some comfort to our beleaguered Prime Minister over her travails with Brexit (The Yorkshire Post, October 1).

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I do not recognise the halcyon vision of our sceptred isle in the 1970s recalled by Fr McNicholas.

The argument for going into the Common Market in 1975 was economic, the referendum confirmed we were staying.

Since then our economy, after many trials and tribulations – the Thatcher years, Black Wednesday – has indeed grown. Due to globalisation it has become intricately woven into the wider EU economy – take 
the automotive industry for example.

Unravelling this complicated relationship cannot be achieved by just walking away. There is going to be collateral damage.

We are never going to have our cake and eat it, especially when the PM has just turned her back on one of the four freedoms enshrined in the EU – freedom of movement.

From: Roger Backhouse, Upper Poppleton, York.

I HOPE sermons by Neil McNicholas are more truthful than his latest article. He is wrong to say Harold Wilson ‘conned’ us into voting to join the Common Market in 1975. The British Parliament under the Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath voted to join the Common Market (EEC) in 1972 and Britain joined in 1973.

The 1975 referendum was Tony Benn’s idea. It was about whether Britain should remain in the EEC, not whether it should enter. People voted two to one to remain. I was not impressed by arguments for the EEC and voted to leave.

If people thought this was only about membership of a customs union, then they didn’t listen. At an anti-Common Market rally in March 1971, I heard Labour MP Peter Shore warn that a European super-state was the intention. Others repeated that message, mostly but not only on the left of British politics – dismissed as old-fashioned by the Establishment.

In 1986, under Margaret Thatcher, the Single European Act was signed creating the European Community. The Maastricht Treaty was signed under John Major formally creating the EU. Each stage in Britain’s accession came under a Tory government. Three Prime Ministers got it wrong so why should we trust the Conservatives now? Thank goodness Gordon Brown kept us out of the euro disaster.