§ 2.54 p.m.
§ Debate resumed on the Motion moved yesterday by The LORD PRIVY SEAL (LORD SHACKLETON), That this House takes note of the White Paper, Britain and the European Communities: An Economic Assessment (Cmnd. 4289).
§ VISCOUNT WATKINSON
My Lords, it is rather a responsibility to resume this great debate after the long and expert discussion that we had yesterday with so many penetrating contributions from so many noble Lords; but I have at least one cheery recollection. It is exactly a year ago that I was asked to address the British Chamber of Commerce in Paris on a businessman's view of Britain's entry into E.E.C. Together with my French business friends and colleagues I felt very 1138 gloomy at that time about the prospect of any progress in Europe for Britain. What an immense and beneficial change has come over the European scene in this twelve months! In these circumstances we should obviously be crazy if we did not seek to press our application to join E.E.C. Yet—and many noble Lords with great expertise and knowledge said this yesterday—we all know that when the negotiations come to the crunch it will not be an easy task to secure a conclusion acceptable to Britain and to the E.E.C.
I want to make a plea this afternoon that when the negotiations come—and I was delighted to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, that they are now likely to come in the summer—we concentrate them as much as possible on the practical and industrial aspects of enlarging the Community. As did many other noble Lords, I should declare my position. It is that I hope as much as any that we shall succeed. That is a view that I have held since I was a member of Mr. Macmillan's Cabinet.
My Lords, if it be true that some of the emotion that surrounded past discussions of Britain's membership of the E.E.C. has now evaporated, this may be a better basis on which to face what may be the last chance for the Community and for Britain to come together. Because many of the political barriers have fallen, perhaps the business facts of the case are now easier to assess. I believe that it is in the British interest, and very much in the British interest, to highlight these industrial and practical facts because they suggest quite plainly not only that Britain should enter the Community but that the Community itself badly needs the accession of industrial strength that would be provided by Britain's entry. To start with the one basic business fact that matters: the Community is there. It is a sophisticated market of nearly 300 million people. It is 25 miles from us at its nearest point. I have always felt that however much we may try to ignore it, it cannot go away. We cannot ignore it because although only some 20 per cent, of our exports at the moment go to the E.E.C., obviously it is a growth area. If we are to maintain our export figures—and this, I believe, will not be so easy as the months and years go by—we need this growth area, and we 1139 need to have it on the best terms we can get.
I think it fair to say that the converse is also true. From the point of view of the Community it could be said, and fairly said, that in terms of international business the E.E.C. is not, in its present form, a large enough trading unit to form a satisfactory base for maximum technological growth, particularly in a situation where, as the noble Lord, Lord Natham, said, large transnational business groups are becoming increasingly dominant. Proof of this is to be found in NATO, as some noble Lords said yesterday, and in the general field of European technological development. Perhaps the Concorde is a good example. Neither Britain nor the Community could have got into the supersonic air transport market by themselves. Together they not only have got into it but have a chance of establishing a commanding lead over the U.S.A., if only all concerned will not lose their nerve at this stage.
Yet even on a joint basis this project has still been a heavy burden on the resources of the Community plus Britain. I think it worth noting that when we try to assess the value of the Community plus Britain we are assessing the vulnerability of the Community without Britain. Even an enlarged Community would still not form a large enough base for the most advanced technological ventures; for example, a massive thrust towards space exploration. So I believe that if one examines the problem from the basis of advanced technology, arguments about whether the Community is ready for Britain or whether Britain is ready for the Community are really completely irrelevant. If European industry is to flourish and expand, if it is to match the drive and marketing expertise of its chief competitor, the United States, it is inevitable that the Community must enlarge itself to include Britain and probably, I hope, other EFTA countries.
So, my Lords, as a background to the discussions when they start, I hope that the British will remember that it is the successful solution of the technological and industrial growth problems that matter to the future prospects of Frenchmen, Italians, West German or Englishman. Those are the things that matter rather than, perhaps, an argument about the price of butter or the rules of some 1140 supranational political authority. While these matters have to be discussed and will present great difficulties, if one can look at the proposition in terms of what it means to people; in terms of industry; in terms of incomes; I think it becomes a much more logical and attractive proposition. I hope, therefore, that the Government will see that this consideration is very firmly in the minds of those who have to do the negotiating.
I must say that I do not think they will get much help in this area from the White Paper which we are discussing this afternoon. I understand only too well that White Papers tend to come along, and once you are "stuck" with a White Paper you can hardly suppress it, and presumably have to publish it. But I do not think it is unhelpful to say that if I had to select an industrial background paper I would follow many other noble Lords in preferring the recent C.B.I. publication, Britain in Europe, to the economic assessment in Command 4289. I see all the difficulties and I accept that probably there is a necessity for a White Paper, but I doubt the wisdom of its production in this form at this time. As we all know, White Papers have to deal with the ascertainable facts. They are produced by very able and eminent people who will not go beyond the ascertainable facts, and who probably should not do so. What I am trying to put forward, my Lords, is that what we are really dealing with in negotiating Britain's entry into the E.E.C. is a matter of economics and industrial judgment—one might almost say "hunch".
This judgment must be based on the facts I have tried to outline, and surely what matters in these negotiations is the future of the people who live in Europe and in Britain. It has to be judged by their technological strength, their marketing ability and by the financial viability of this new grouping if we can bring it about. As many noble Lords said yesterday and as I think that we are all agreed, on this basis the logic of the thing becomes very difficult to refute. Once we move on to problems of food prices and supranational authorities, some kind of Common Market Parliament and all the rest, there are many difficulties. Surely what really matters is just the simple question: can we create a kind of new industrial unit so that within that unit there will be enough orders for 1141 its industries to build its standard of living quickly enough to provide the amenities and benefits which the future generations will demand? So, my Lords, I hope that this will prove to be a problem more of trade and less of terminology. It is a problem, and I think one should say again that it is a problem set in a world of giant economic power groupings, with businesses that are going to grow transnational, whether we like it or not. You have only to talk to friends in Europe to see how worried some of them are about the penetration of American transnational companies into Europe.
The answer to all this is to have a big enough unit of our own, and I would go so far as to say that if Europe in its new form—the form in which it could be if Britain entered—does not match this technological and industrial challenge, then Europe will not become either a political entity or an industrial entity; it will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of some other Power grouping—and we can all make our guesses about what that Power grouping may be. It is my view, rightly or wrongly, that the Europe of the Six is not viable. Perhaps Britain in the long run is not viable in this new world of great Power industrial groupings. But certainly Britain, plus the Six, and perhaps plus some EFTA countries is a very different story.
My Lords, I should perhaps disclose an interest. To speak personally for a moment, I am connected with a company which has six factories inside the Community. They are all growing fast; the markets are the fastest growing markets that we have in the whole world. I have excellent relations with my French, Belgian, German and Italian colleagues. I remember with great pleasure my experience of working with European colleagues in the European Ministers of Transport Conference. Incidentally, I am not sure whether many of your Lordships know that we have been a member of this European body for many, many years, and it has always worked very happily together. Certainly I found that my European colleagues in NATO were easy to work with and were practical-minded men. So I believe I may say, as no doubt may many other noble Lords, that from my practical experience I think we shall find Europe a good place in which 1142 to do business, and Europeans good colleagues with whom to do business.
I believe that there is an exciting new break-through for Britain if we can join, and thus enlarge, the Community. Although I am one who would like to see our trade ties with North America and Australia strengthened, I still have to say that I do not see any other opportunity that ranks as high as that which is 25 miles away from us, in Europe. So whatever the eventual price of Britain's entry seems to be, it is in this area of business judgment that one has to look for the offsetting advantages to the cost which is only too clearly set out in the White Paper in brackets which I think are somewhat unrealistic, but I accept that they have to be. This is not an easy task for any Government. I believe that a lot more education has to take place on both sides of the Channel if correct judgments are in the end to be made.
In conclusion, may I put three questions to the Government which I hope are constructive? First, will they try to develop the more positive side of the argument, perhaps in collaboration with the C.B.I.? It is not for me to speak for the C.B.I. but, as many noble Lords know, following the publication of their paper the C.B.I. are now having meetings up and down the country to discuss it. I checked with the C.B.I. this morning and I understand that those consultations are going well and are throwing up large majorities of businessmen who are in favour of going in on the hard practical facts that I have indicated. This might be the basis for publishing a further White Paper which would have to contain an element of judgment. I know this would be difficult, but I think it would at least do something to counterbalance the present one.
My second question is: will they try to encourage a continuing dialogue between industrial spokesman in Britain and Europe to highlight the fact that from an industrial and economic point of view we really are necessary and complementary to one another? My third question is: in the final balance sheet will they make sure that the long-term industrial and commercial advantages are given full weight, however difficult it may be to quantify them? My Lords, I sincerely hope that this time we shall pull it off. 1143 May I wish those who will be concerned with the negotiations all success. It is going to be a very difficult task for whoever does it, but an immense amount hangs on the result. I hope that it will not be thought improper of me if I say that whoever is concerned, civil servants or Ministers, we wish them well in a very difficult and testing task.
§ 3.8 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, BOARD OF TRADE (LORD BROWN)
My Lords, I am going to make a rather earthy and possibly unimaginative speech because I propose to single out a particular aspect of our debate and concentrate on it. Some very good contributions were made yesterday. For example, I have in mind that of the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale, on ports. I am not going to fall to the temptation of following up what he said, and I hope he will accept my apology for that. My selected target is what is referred to in the White Paper as the dynamic effect on our industry and commerce if we enter the Common Market. I welcome the fact that the noble Viscount, Lord Watkinson, took up this subject also. I think it is one worth concentrating on.
For obvious reasons, it has been impossible to quantify this effect. I am glad that the attempt was not made, at least for the moment, for I have a constant fear of economists who out of a whole field of variables select those few that can be quantified and base predictions on them, leaving completely out of the equation many more important variables, and reaching quite disastrous results at times. It is a good thing, in another way, that we have not got a quantification in front of us, because if there had been a prediction, the danger would have arisen—it has occurred in our society before—that many of us might have stood back waiting to see whether the prediction came true or not, failing to realise that there was a challenge to be met and predictions would not obviate the need for facing that challenge. In other words, international trade is not a new spectator sport for Britain.
Entry into the Common Market in business terms is an opportunity not only for British industry and commerce but, also, I would suggest, for people in every walk of life. I am sure that unless the 1144 whole conception of facing this challenge bites pretty deeply into our society we certainly shall not make the best of this opportunity. I think that we are going to enter in due course, after a lot of hard bargaining. It is not too early, therefore, to begin talking about some of the necessary steps which I think will have to be taken if we are to exploit the opportunities which entry will open up for us.
First, I welcome the robust attitude which the C.B.I. have taken, and I hope that their determination will be reflected in the attitude of every British company. Several noble Lords—Lord Jellicoe, Lord Gladwyn, Lord Watkinson and others— have paid tribute to the assessments made in the C.B.I. Report and have drawn attention to the fact that their results differ from those of the White Paper. These two studies were conducted independently. All their estimates depend on the assumptions which were made and the statistical methods used. There seems little point in arguing whether or not those assumptions and methods were realistic. Every reader can reach his own judgment. For my part, I think it is useful, in this highly uncertain field of economic prediction, for the public to have before them several independent estimates, and I greatly welcome the work which the C.B.I. has done. I feel that at this stage it would be unfortunate, for many reasons, if pressure were brought on Her Majesty's Government to try to make predictions which rest on dubious or uncertain assumptions. It would be better for these assumptions to be made by others from an independent point of view. We may be able to advance further into this field when we know a little more about the facts. It is very difficult to make predictions based on how industry and commerce are going to meet the challenge.
Perhaps I may at this early stage reply to some of the specific questions put by the noble Viscount, Lord Watkinson. He suggested first that we should develop the positive side of the discussion with the C.B.I. Certainly I think that this is necessary; indeed, it has already started, when the Board of Trade met the C.B.I. recently. He also suggested that we should try to arrange opportunities for a continued dialogue with European businessmen. Personally I should very much welcome this. I know that it took place between the countries of the Common 1145 Market when they were in their formative stage and it is highly important. I will certainly bring this to the attention of my colleagues in the Government. The noble Viscount also suggested that we should see that due weight is given to the advantages of the dynamic character of the Common Market arrangements. I am going to try to do this this afternoon. All of us must face up to this and try to speak of these advantages, especially in the face of the rather positive statements made about the disadvantages.
Perhaps I might attempt to illustrate the magnitude of the opportunity before us by looking at some samples of the experience of some of those countries already in the Common Market. In the ten years from 1958, the French share of the German import market increased from 7½ to 12 per cent., aided by two devaluations of the franc. British exports to Germany over the same period, despite an impressive increase in absolute value, did not quite maintain our share of about 4 per cent. The noble Lord, Lord Macpherson of Drumochter, referred to these figures yesterday. If we look at manufactured goods alone, so as to exclude French agricultural products, which we could not hope to match, we see that the British share of German imports fell from 9 to 6 per cent., whereas the French share increased from 13 to 16 per cent.
I do not make these points in any way as a criticism of British export efforts in Germany. They are a reflection of what happens when others become part of a wider trading community of which the United Kingdom is not a member. The German import market is a very large one, and today every one per cent. share in it is worth over £90 million per annum. If we, after entry, take advantage of the opportunity and could increase our current 4 per cent. to, say, 10 per cent.—I would put that as a possible target over a few years—that would increase our exports by over £500 million per annum.
Smaller but similar opportunities can be hoped for in the other countries of the present Community. I must be careful not to mislead by giving these examples. The figure of £500 million extra exports to Germany is not a net addition to our balance of payments. German, French, Italian, Belgian exports will increase to our country. There will 1146 be possibly a loss of exports to Common-wealth countries because we shall lose some of our tariff preferences. All sorts of other circumstances will affect our imports and our exports, one way and another, as a result of our joining. Nevertheless, as a part of a larger market we shall have greatly increased opportunities for trade, if we can meet the challenge.
The main functions of business are the design, manufacture, and marketing of products or services. The main factors which affect these functions are the dynamism of management, the sophistication of the technologies which they employ, the flow of investment which they need to support these technologies, the enthusiasm of their marketing effort, and, very seriously, the relative wage rates in this country compared with other countries.
May I take some of these items and examine them in turn? I will start with the last item—wage rates. This subject is rightly causing most of us a great deal of anxiety at present. Some noble Lords may have been surprised to hear the figures quoted by my noble friend Lord Shacklelon in the debate yesterday which showed that the rate of increase of earnings in the United Kingdom has been generally less than in the Six over the last ten years. The problem is not one of the absolute level of wage rates. It is two-fold. First, it is the differential between our wage rates and those of other countries, particularly those of the Six when we enter the Common Market. Secondly, the problem is what you get for the rates which you pay. Is it possible that we can present entry into the Common Market as a challenge not only to management and technologists, but also to those who work on the floors of our factories? I think that we must certainly try to do so. It will be an immense psychological effort, but I think that we must try; and if we succeed it will have a great effect on our entry. Furthermore, we must remember that we are not alone in this problem. One of the major future problems of every industrially developed country lies in this area of industrial relations and wages. And this problem is one that will grow bigger, not smaller. But let us not exaggerate our plight: we must not be too gloomy, especially when we share the problem with others.
1147 Mr. Edison, of inventive fame, is reputed once to have said that if you make the best mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. I happen to think he was wrong, because it is the maker of mousetraps who has to beat a path to the doors of his customers. We have had to learn this. Nevertheless, I shall plagiarise Mr. Edison on more than one occasion in the course of my speech. And my first plagiarism is to suggest that if you have a bigger market for your mousetraps you have the opportunity— no more than that—to make them more cheaply, provided that you have the technical imagination. That is the commonplace argument for entry into the Common Market. It is a sound argument, because many consumer goods and consumer durables are going increasingly to be supplied by the big battalions in the future: and those who have not got the volume of sales to justify investment in high degrees of mechanisation and automation will not succeed. Entry into the Common Market will provide mass production opportunities, but only if companies are prepared to risk massive investment, based on the prospects of high sales volume.
But, my Lords, this is not the whole story. Industry does not produce capital goods, or industrial goods, or scientific goods, or many other forms of goods in great volume by mechanisation. It always surprises those totally un-familiar with industry to find the mechanisation and the automation in the factory making pharmaceutical pills or washing machines and the like: and to find when they go into an engineering factory where they might expect to see the hub of automation that it is not there, because they are making the "tens off" and "twenties off". I believe that we have a special genius for making "tens off" and "twenties off" in capital goods. It is born in the bones of the people of Yorkshire, the North East Coast and Scotland to tackle engineering jobs of that sort and I think that they are going to have a pretty good time in the Common Market if they stick to these native skills that they have exhibited so well in recent years in our capital goods exports.
In my present job I constantly visit small and medium sized exporting companies in the United Kingdom. Some of 1148 them—not all—impress me very greatly. They have youngish men either in charge or near the top. They make beautiful aesthetic goods, or complex electronic goods, or scientific goods, or ingenious goods which have found their own niche in the market. Those firms are going to do well if and when we enter the Common Market. I trace much of their success back to the period when we started increasing the number of trained engineers and applied scientists in our universities. At first when they emerged in small numbers they flowed into our big firms, but later they began to arrive in the small companies, and this is creating something of a revolution. Now they have reached a mature age, and some of them have started their own small technical companies. Others have reached high office in companies that used to be asleep. I have seen what really bright, analytical minds, employed with energy, can do to an old-fashioned company. And so have many Members of your Lordships' House. Such companies are already searching for growth. Their managers are quite certain that they will benefit from entry into the Common Market. So there is another point of optimism.
I have, however, one deep anxiety about many of these small companies, and that is that their sophistication in the fields of technology and marketing skill is often not matched by a corresponding insight into their own financial structure. Too often they will attempt to finance their own growth from their own cash flow, and this can be disastrous. They are too anxious to hang on to total 100 per cent. financial control. Many of them must be influenced to seek the help of our great financial institutions in capitalising themselves in a manner which will permit growth without hazarding their existence, so that in course of time they may become some of the great firms of this country and of Europe.
Much anxiety is expressed about managers today. There is endless comment on the effects of current rates of direct taxation on the enthusiasm with which managers and others go to work. There may be some truth in those comments, but I think there is a lot of exaggeration, too. What is very little commented upon is the relative size of the gross pay packet of British factory 1149 managers, British sales managers and British technologists as compared with the gross pay packet of those in similar positions in Western Europe. Admittedly, it is difficult to compare, say, the salary of a sales manager in a British company with that of a similar person in a French or a German company, because one can never be sure that one is comparing the same positions. Nevertheless there is growing evidence that in Western European countries the gross rates of salary are considerably higher than they are in this country.
I believe that the effect of this difference in levels of salary is a good deal more serious than any difference in relative taxation rates. Personally, I was never able to convince one of my subordinates in industry, when I was in industry, that it was not any good giving him a rise because taxation was so heavy that it would scarcely benefit him. That argument is overplayed. It has been used in some quarters as an excuse to underpay people. And if you underpay people who have serious responsibilities on their shoulders, then too much of their emotional energy has to be spent dealing with their own personal financial responsibilities. That is an aspect which will have to be looked at closely as we approach entry into the Common Market. Otherwise British companies are going to lose many of their best to Common Market competitors. A decade ago a high proportion of our graduates preferred not to go into industry. Indeed some referred to it as "the rate race". Furthermore, some parts of our industry were suspicious of graduates. Things are changing to-day, but it is still true of this country that the status of the industrial manager or the engineer or the salesman who works in industry is lower than it is in, say, West Germany or Japan or America. They do not get the respect from our society to which I think they are entitled. That is something else we must struggle to change. We need the support of the mass media in this struggle, and I am afraid we are not getting it. There are too many arts graduates connected with broadcasting and the Press and not enough industrial people to teach them the facts of life.
Now, my Lords, I am going to mount a hobby horse.
§ LORD BROWN
Sophisticated markets, such as those of Western Europe, are increasingly more interested in the design, in either æsthetic or in performance terms, of the products which they are offered. They are becoming correspondingly less interested in sheer price comparisons. Mr. Edison might well have said that if you design a better mousetrap your profit margin will be much higher than that of your competitor; you will attract a greater volume of sales; and you will be able to increase the sophistication of your manufacturing methods. My Lords, if, with entry into the Common Market, there were to develop a firm resolve in the majority of British manufacturing companies to place in charge of the design of the product an executive directly responsible to the chief executive, with the same status and salary as the men in charge of manufacturing and marketing activities, then I think we should have made a very important step in facing up to the challenge of entry to the Common Market.
I want to make a point of psychological importance about product design. Many manufacturing companies continue to refer to the function of product design as "research and development". Now you may say that this is merely a semantic distinction. But whilst admitting that research is one of the techniques used in developing new products, as it is in developing new markets or new manufacturing processes, the use of the term "research" instead of "product design" for this function leads to trouble. I have seen it. It results in waste because some of those employed in so-called research and development departments believe that it denotes on their part the right to spend their time searching for new knowledge or doing things which redound to their own self-reputation, instead of devoting their efforts to seeing to it that their firms products are better than those of their competitors.
I have had my little gallop. Suffice it to say that in my view investment of growing resources in product design and the correct positioning of the man in 1151 charge of this function in the organisation of the company may well be one of the determinants of our success in the wider markets which will be open to us after our entry into the E.E.C.
That brings me to a consideration of our financial and other services for which the City of London in particular is so justly renowned. All Governments since the war have tended to have much greater insight into the processes of manufacturing and exporting goods than into some of the operations concerned with the exports of financial and professional services. We in the Board of Trade are trying to put this right, and I greatly welcome the work of the Committee on Invisible Exports. They have done a great deal to evaluate the contribution which these exports make to our balance of payments.
It is necessary, but not easy to-day, to bring home more forcibly to the public at large the size and nature of this great contribution. It will be noted that the authors of the White Paper which we are discussing had some difficulty (as your Lordships will see if you look at paragraphs 91 to 93) in estimating what effect our joining the Common Market will have in the field of services. In insurance, banking, merchanting, commodity markets and portfolio management, the City of London can offer more than any other city in Europe. I should have liked to speak in detail about the services and their opportunities in the Common Market. But my personal experience in that field is virtually nil, or certainly very slight. I was happy to hear yesterday the excellent speech by the noble Lord, Lord Thorneycroft, and his insistence that the City and other firms were already very international in outlook. I hope he was not exaggerating. I also noted the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Plowden. He also sounded optimistic about the future of the income earning proclivities of these services in the Common Market.
Nor must we forget what we have to offer in the professional services provided by lawyers, accountants, actuaries, surveyors, management consultants, consultant engineers and so on. I hope that I am not being chauvinistic, but I believe that in these professions we have some things which are a little better than the 1152 services enjoyed from similar professions in Western Europe at the present moment. They are going to help us to earn our bread and butter and help our businesses in so doing.
Edison might have said that if you make the best mousetrap you still may not be able to sell it because of economic policies, such as a credit squeeze imposed on your market by anxiety about the balance of payments. If we enter the Common Market, there is surely reasonable hope that, because we have become a member of a larger economic bloc, we should at least be somewhat more insulated from the worrying and sometimes drastic effects of that unpleasant ebb and flow in our balance of payments which we have had to endure since the war. In the last week or so we have had a vision of how far monetary integration may go in the next decade in Europe. The Six have been discussing far-reaching proposals for economic co-ordination and monetary integration. We are following these developments with great interest and expect to play a full part in them as soon as we are a member of the E.E.C. We would be prepared to go along with the best of them in this field.
I have been speaking, perhaps rather selfishly, of the unquantifiable benefits which could accrue to this country if we can face the challenge of entering an enlarged market. Nevertheless, I believe that we shall bring some very substantial advantages to other members of the Community when and if we join them. We shall take in an extremely valuable heritage and a portfolio of scientific and technological development. This has already been much commented upon. But what is less often mentioned is the value to other members of the Community of our rather different business tradition in which I happen to be a believer. We have traded for a longer period in a wider range of countries in a wider range of goods than most individual members of the Community. We are highly experienced. We are, I think, also more relaxed in our dealings with each other and fairer to each other in business than many other nations. We are conditioned to a rather franker exposure of our individual businesses and our commercial affairs than others, although I was not always sure of this when trying to take the last Companies Act through this 1153 House. These different traditions will, I think, be of great value to the Community in many ways that are subtle and intangible, but are extremely important. I believe that we are admired for many obvious things among those whom we hope will become our colleague nations in the future.
There is one other intangible asset which was mentioned yesterday, but which I want to emphasise; that is, the traditions of our own Civil Service. I believe that its example will be of great assistance to our partners of the future. My period in the Board of Trade has convinced me that although this Service is not perfect and has faults, in general it is a series of truly admirable institutions.
The fact is that we do not have the alternative of staying as we are in this country, and I agree very much with the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Thorneycroft, in his excellent speech yesterday. He said that it was happening in front of our eyes; and several other noble Lords have already noted that the Common Market is like a magnet, attracting a growing array of nations into its orbit. These things are going on, and clearly we should enter only on fair and equitable terms. But I for one should not like to face my children in 15 years' time if. because we failed to grasp a fair and open opportunity, they are then struggling with the appalling difficulties of an increasingly isolated Britain. I believe that if the economic challenge of our entry is sufficiently understood, it will be met by dynamic changes in Britain which will produce results which will more than offset the price which we know we shall have to pay.