§ 2.52 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR rose to move, that this House approves Her Majesty's Government's decision of principle to join the European Communities on the basis of the arrangements which have been negotiated. The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I rise to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. I am very uneasily conscious that on the last occasion when this subject was debated, since it fell to my lot to reply to the debate, I inflicted what I fear was an unduly long speech upon your Lordships' House. I hope to-day to atone for my misdeeds by speaking at a much shorter length. We debated this question without commitment on July 27, and the course of that debate will be fresh in your Lordships' minds. This, and the preponderance (as I think I can say without being unduly controversial) of your Lordships in favour of entry on the terms negotiated, which was overwhelming and I might say almost unprecedented in a matter of this importance and this degree of controversy, not only relieves me of the task of making a lengthy speech to-day but inspires me with the hope that your Lordships will give an equally overwhelming vote when the time comes to call the Division on Thursday.
§ But opinions are not merely to be counted. Even in a democracy, we have a right to ask that they should sometimes be weighed. I mean no disrespect at all to those who, in July, exercised their undoubted right to speak against entry when I ask your Lordships to reflect for a moment upon the immense weight and range of authority, in your Lordships' recollection, standing on the side for which I now speak: the nationalised industries, so far as they are represented in this House; the agricultural industry, represented by the National Farmers' Union; the motor industry; private industry, again, so far as it is represented in this House; all the professional diplomats who spoke; each of the three ex-Chancellors of the Exchequer; if he will allow me to say so, the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition; all the non-Government lawyers on the subject of 530 sovereignty, if I discount my own deeply held conviction on the subject; the professional economists; some of the right reverend Prelates, the leaders of the Church of England; spokesmen for overseas aid—I think of the noble Lord, Lord Walston—and the regions (thinking of the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth); and, in spite of the general attitude of their Party, some of the Ministers in the previous Administration, who might be expected to know best what terms they would have been prepared to recommend to their colleagues.
§ The debates in July—debates in both Houses of Parliament—are so fresh in your Lordships' minds that I do not wish now to do much more than to recapitulate what seem to be some of the salient points in favour of entry.
§ I start with the basic assumption upon which my own support for the Motion is based. For 25 years, at least, successive Governments of this country, of opposite political persuasions, have failed to break decisively through the vicious circle into which our economy appears to have fallen. They have tried private enterprise, in which I believe; they have tried Socialism, in which the principal Opposition Party believes; they have practised a middle way, in which I believe all of us up to a point believe. But having started in a position at the end of the war when almost all their potential competitors outside the United States of America were in a position of considerable handicap by reason of the physical destruction and the loss of their manpower compared with ourselves, we have found ourselves gradually but decisively overhauled and then passed.
§ My Lords, I have spoken of the last 25 years: but I wonder whether I should not have spoken also of the past 50 years, including the 25 years before that. I grew up as a young man in the 'thirties, and I suppose, like all others who grew up in that period, the economic facts of that time have left a lasting impression upon my mind and upon my political thinking. I remember two things of relevance to this debate. The first was the inadequacy of the machinery for international cooperation which was available to cope with what was undoubtedly an international problem; and the second was that although we insisted, and rightly 531 insisted in the context of the time, on defending our industry with a high, or relatively high, tariff wall, in one industry after another the United States, at that time suffering from unemployment and stagnation even more than ourselves, was able to compete with us precisely because of the restricted nature of the base upon which our home market was built as compared with theirs.
§ The last two successive Governments of this country, starting, as I have indicated, each from opposite political philosophies, but each in their way beginning without, I think, any predisposition in favour of entry, came to the conclusion as the result of their experience in Government that one reason at least for our comparative failure was that we were seeking to build on an economic base altogether inadequate to meet the demands of the most modern industry: and each in their turn became persuaded that the true interests of this country—I ought to say, perhaps, the true interests of Europe, and possibly even of the world—lay in the direction of our entry into the Community if proper terms could be negotiated.
§ I do not think, again, that I am being unduly controversial by saying that to each Administration at the outset of their negotiations it was made clear that adherence to the Treaty of Rome was a condition of success in the negotiations. It was made clear to each, though each was, and I think is, critical of the Common Agricultural Policy—as most people here are—that at the stage of the negotiations for entry we should have to accept it as one of the facts of life. Indeed, from one point of view the existence of the Common Agricultural Policy is one of the most powerful arguments for entry of all. It shows clearly what will happen in a Community in which we are not represented at the stage of decision making. The same thing was made clear to us in relation to value added tax. Here the attitudes of the two Parties are not identical. That to which I belong has embraced the value added tax, for reasons which we shall discuss in due course, as being in itself desirable; the other has not. But to both it was made plain that a condition of entry would be the adoption of such a tax in the event of entry.532
§ We now have to make up our minds and signify by our votes whether we are to join or no. It is at least noteworthy that none of those who spoke against entry in July seemed to be influenced by the terms negotiated. Their objection was, I believe, in every case to adherence to the Common Market as such, though their reasons differed and were in some respects inconsistent. But the conclusion was common to them all: they would not have joined on any terms; they would not have joined then and would not join now, on any terms, whatever they may have been. This was the stance of the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, and also of the noble Lord, Lord Blyton, of the noble Lords, Lord Soper, Lord MacLeod of Fuinary, Lord Granville of Eye and, so far as I understood, of the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, and others. It seemed to be the stance of my noble friend Lord Lauderdale. My Lords, they are fully entitled to their view, which I shall seek very shortly to criticise, but let no one delude himself into the false belief, as I believe it to be, that the terms negotiated could have been better or that the chance will recur to negotiate better terms. That I believe to be pure illusion. It is now or never: it is these terms or it is no terms. These are the only safe assumptions for the House to make in reaching its conclusion.
§ Some, at any rate, of the arguments against entry seem to me to be illogical. It is of course true—and it has been recognised from the start—that some prices, including most food prices, will rise, though as a result of a rise in world markets the rise due to the Common Market will be less than we expected. But the test is not whether the price of individual items goes up, but whether our standard of living—that is the relationship of real incomes compared with real prices—rises, is stable or declines. The same can be argued in relation to the cost of contribution to the Community's budget and to many of the other arguments presented upon the other side of the case. It is true of course that the removal of our own tariff barriers will cause our industries to compete on equal terms with Europe, but they will have to compete on equal terms with Europe in all the markets of the world in any event, and in Europe and in our home market 533 competition will exist without free access for us to the European home market if we remain excluded. The fact is that the Communities are there and the Market is there: they are there to stay. With us outside it will always be a potential threat to our interests. With us inside it will be an opportunity in which we shall have every chance to participate.
§ Since we last debated this matter, a new factor has been introduced into the equation, and that is President Nixon's new financial and economic policy. In a sense, of course, that has always been present as a potentiality, but now at least we must reckon as a matter of urgency with the possibility that the extent of American engagement in Europe and the outgoing nature of her external economic policies, if not actually coming to an end, may be entering upon a period of drastic revision. There is no country in the world, I believe, which is more liable to suffer as a result of monetary or international financial anarchy and nationally based autarkic trading policies than our own. If in July the arguments for entry were overwhelming—and I myself thought them overwhelming—surely the events of August drove the lesson home more inexorably than the warmest advocates of entry could have wished. Surely, too, this was even further emphasised by the invitation extended to the Chancellor of the Exchequer by the Finance Ministers of the Six to join their discussions—an invitation which would surely not have been extended if Britain had not been a candidate for entry—and the very good use which my right honourable friend made of the invitation when he attended.
§ Some fears have been expressed on behalf of the regions if we entered. But, for what it is worth, my own judgment is that the regions are precisely those parts of the country which stand most to gain from entry and most to lose by the failure of our application. This opinion coincides with that expressed by my noble friend Lord Polwarth in July and is reinforced by my own experience in the North East in 1963. Not only are all, or most, of the existing Six committed to regional policies of their own which would preclude any interference on their part; not only are the regions precisely those parts of the country possibly likely to be able to claw back part of our con- 534 tribution to the Market budget for our own advantage, but my own experience has been that it is precisely these areas of the country where employment is lowest that are most sensitive to general improvements in trade and demand and most vulnerable to periods of stagnation or decline. If we are right in our belief that entry will be the signal for economic advance, we must also be right in our belief that, given even equality, far more the preferences they are in fact given, the places where the upsurge in economic activity which I confidently believe will follow entry will be most felt will be the regions; and, by contrast, the places which would feel most disastrously the loss of confidence, the depression, the hopelessness of failure and the absence of job opportunities would be the regions, too.
§ My Lords, I come to another argument on which I hope it will not be thought that it ill becomes me to comment, but it is an argument which can be put from either side of the political fence. Therefore I feel I must seek to deal with it in principle. There are members of my own Party who feel that entry might prejudice the future of free enterprise. There are members of the main Opposition Party who are concerned for the future of a thing called Socialism; and at least since 1950, when the matter was first debated, opponents of the Market have been arguing that the future of this thing will somehow be put in jeopardy if we do not join the Communities.
§ It is not for me to speculate on either of these things—what free enterprise in the abstract or Socialism may be. It is notorious that the definition of Socialism differs from individual to individual and from group to group. But surely one thing is clear. If and in so far as the original premise of my argument is correct—and that was that one reason at least for our poor performance over recent years has been that we were endeavouring to plan over too narrow a base—it must be right for those who believe in either form of economic arrangement to support entry into a Community the size of which is large enough to enable their policies to take place with whatever hope of success their intrinsic merits may have, and not to condemn this country to plan on a scale, and on a base, which ensures failure for 535 economic policies whatever their intrinsic merits might otherwise have been. Quite certainly this has been the view of the vigorous Socialist Parties in the Six which regard the somersaults and doubts expressed in this country by opponents of the Market with something like amazement bordering on incredulity. No one can guarantee that all the members of the Ten (if ten is the right number) will have Socialist Governments simultaneously, any more than they can guarantee that they will have Conservative or Christian Democrat Governments simultaneously. But it must be clear that under whatever Governments the warring principles inherent in our admittedly mixed economy will have a field to operate in which offers some prospect of success in place of the certainty of failure.
§ My Lords, I concluded my speech in July by pointing to a wider hope, the hope of a Europe in which her ancient peoples, still preserving their national identities and individual sovereignties, could work together without in future having to submit their children once in every generation to the Moloch of European conflict, which twice in my lifetime has agonised the people and destroyed the physical beauty of our common European homeland. I still believe that that aspiration is one of the most important factors favouring our adherence.
§ But there is another and cognate point of a more mundane character that I should like to stress in concluding this afternoon. In the first fifteen years of its existence the Community of Six has really succeeded only in laying the groundwork of economic co-operation, and even so has benefited disproportionately to the performance of those outside. But in the next ten years, with the groundwork already laid and a Community of Ten and not merely Six, the potentialities for growth and stability of a comprehensive industrial policy are, surely, infinitely more exciting, given, that is, a state of world trade at least not in stagnation or recession. And even if, by any ill-chance, the prospect that we have to face is in truth one of world conditions not actively favouring expansion, how very much better the nations of the Ten will be placed to respond to the challenge of those conditions, and how very 536 much more unenviable will be the lot of those nations condemned by necessity to be outside their circle, or, still less, condemned by their own choice to exclusion from the magic circle of those concerting their policies for mutual advantage!
§ My Lords, I have said this is the moment of decision, in which all must stand up and be counted. For my part, and that of my colleagues, the choice is a simple one. It is a choice between the opportunity for greatness renewed, and the certainty of frustration and decline. My Lords, we opt for greatness.
§ Moved, That this House approves Her Majesty's Government's decision of principle to join the European Communities on the basis of the arrangements which have been negotiated.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ 3.15 p.m.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, much has been said about how my noble colleagues on this side of the House should or should not vote, and I propose to state what together democratically we have agreed. I, as Chief Whip, have asked those who support the Labour Party, and all it stands for, to go into the Lobby on Thursday night against the Motion which the Lord Chancellor has moved. Some will vote in that sense because they are convinced, as I am, that the cause on which Her Majesty's Government are embarked is wrong for Britain and for the majority of the British people. There are others who for months, if not years, have declared their faith in the E.E.C. concept. If that still be their belief then I do not expect them on this quite unique issue to think and speak in one way and vote in another.
There are others, however (and they may well be more right than the rest) who say that being inside or out of the Community is of itself less important to the individual than the economic and social policies which are pursued by the Government of the day. Those of that mind within my Party I hope will also support the official Opposition on Thursday. There may be others, though their numbers I fear are limited, who may yet change, or who have not yet made up their minds on the merits of the case. Those I hope to convince.
537 May I say just a few words about this phenomenon of mind-changing. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor in his speech on July 27 went so far as to say that no member of a previous Administration which agreed to negotiation could retain a shred of personal honour unless he remained of the same mind on this issue. The noble and learned Lord was much more restrained in his language to-day, but I hope he will agree that to make, as he did then, a simple sweeping unqualified denunciation on an issue so complex and embracing such a range of human behaviour is far below the standard which he set himself to-day. After all, if we are talking of mind-changing. the Prime Minister has achieved a considerable intellectual somersault on this question of a free vote, yet I do not question his integrity.
Many people have changed their minds on this issue and often for a complex of honourable reasons. There has clearly been much mind-changing in the general public. At first there was a quite overwhelming majority of people against entry. Then there seemed to be a movement towards entry. More recently that trend has been reversed. The noble and learned Lord claimed this afternoon that the weight of opinion—those, he said, who should know best—were for, whereas, presumably, the less-informed were against. This analysis is scarcely borne out by the two equal columns of university economists, one column for and the other against, whose names appeared in The Timesthe other day.
The claim which the noble and learned Lord makes is sometimes specifically made about the business world: those who really know, it is said, are solidly for entry. Yet, setting aside the propaganda, the facts appear to be different. It was a columnist in the Financial Timeswho wrote:The C.B.I. has made much of the fact that, of the 1,000 odd answers this invitation invoked (i.e. invitation to express an opinion) some 90 per cent. favoured entry into the E.E.C. Yet it would surely be more realistic to argue that the main significance of the out-turn lies in the huge size of the abstentions, no more than a tenth of the membership having been sufficiently enthusiastic about entering the E.E.C. to stand up and be counted.The City Editor of the Daily Telegraphalso had some relevant words on this same point. In an article on October 4 538 he said that two questions were put to senior executives of Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds. To the first question, "Are you personally in favour of Britain's joining the E.E.C.?", the overwhelming majority answered, "No". To the second question, "Do you think it will be in the interest of the U.K. and of this company?", the answer was overwhelmingly," Yes ". But what seemed certain is that there is no real, grass roots feeling for entry; the gut reaction is entirely against it, and we must all know this. What genuinely concerns me about the affirmative answer to the second question quoted by the Daily Telegraphis the belief that G.K.N. will benefit from this mystical factor, the so-called dynamic effect of entry. But how can one get a dynamic society of reluctant and suspicious individuals?
I do not propose to dwell unduly upon the economics of this matter. If there is one thing which has emerged during the debate it is that the alleged economic benefits were over-stated at the beginning by the Marketeers and they have anxiously shifted their argument to the alleged political advantages. If there had been evidence that growth was easier inside the Community, then we should surely have been presented with that evidence. Nothing of comparative growth rates, past or current, suggests that Community membership is the secret of economic growth. Indeed, Japan's record alone suggests the opposite.
The noble Lord, Lord Stokes, to whom I listened with great attention then and to whom I shall listen again, said in the last debate what the situation was as he saw it. He gave us a superb demonstration, if I may so, of his gift of optimism. But even while he was speaking, more and more foreign cars were being registered in this country. The percentage of foreign cars registered here was once 5 per cent. It went up to 10 per cent.,15 per cent., and the last figure I have is just over 20 per cent. Some say it will reach 25 per cent.—one in every four or five cars made abroad. The noble Lord speaks engagingly of accepting the challenge of the European manufacturers to-morrow when we go into Europe, but what I cannot understand is why he cannot accept their challenge to-day and reverse this trend of which I speak. To-morrow, when the tariff walls are down, his men will want more pay 539 because the Government propaganda says they can expect it in Europe; they will want more holidays because that is what they are told is the reward of E.E.C. membership; they are led to believe that the fringe benefits will be better—and added to all this will be the undoubted increase of the cost of living as an impetus to wage demands. The noble Lord may have faith that his level of production will rise, but what is absolutely certain is that his cost of production will soar much more. I wish him well, in or out, but optimism in this matter is not enough.
And, incidentally, one other point. New Zealand, per capitaBritain's best customer, imported over 25,000 cars from us in the first six months of this year. The noble Lord's own products were up 25½ per cent. That is one country, a British country, about one-tenth the size of E.E.C. It is not only size that counts. Does the noble Lord really think that he will maintain that business when we have succeeded in damaging their export trade? Supposing the noble Lord offsets his losses in New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries by increased exports to the E.E.C.; just supposing that, unlike most football teams, he plays better away than he does at home; it is a sobering thought that if the motor-car industry sold an extra 700,000 or 1 million motor cars, more than half the entire production of the motor industry, to Europe, they would still only just make good the balance-of-payments damage done by the E.E.C. levy system, Brussels budget payments and other consequences of entry.
However, as I have said, the main argument of the Marketeers is now more political. They say that the price of butter and pluses and minuses in trade are sordid considerations against this great opportunity of wielding more influence in world affairs. They now put the "louder voice" argument. But if E.E.C. is to have a louder voice in world councils, whose voice is it to be? Is it to be the French or the British voice when dealing, for example, with Middle East affairs or relationship with the United States of America? Is it to be the German voice or the British voice when we decide about talks with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? 540 How can the noble and learned Lord who sits upon the Woolsack argue that sovereignty will be unimpaired if we have this much-vaunted unity against the world?
That there could be in theory a super-State, equal if not superior to either the United States of America or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is undoubted; but there are many who listen only with amusement to my noble friend Lord George-Brown when he asserts that Britain under present leadership, which has already agreed to swallow without quibble or qualification the Rome Treaty, the C.A.P. and the V.A.T., is going to dominate them when we go in. The fact is that the Government in particular and the Marketeers in general have been entirely unclear about how they are to combine the merits of unimpaired sovereignty with this unity of voice and action. That is so with regard to political institutions and it is so with regard to economic considerations as well.
What is their attitude to the Werner Plan? The noble and learned Lord said absolutely nothing about that. When they are asking for our vote on Thursday, will noble Lords be voting for or against a common currency? There are obvious and enormous advantages to a community in having a common currency, but this one provision could have more impact upon our lives and social arrangements in the United Kingdom than any other single commitment to the E.E.C. If there is to be a single currency with the control of money supply at Brussels; if there is a Community central bank and its policy settled by one of the bureaucratic bodies on the Continent; if there is to be harmonised taxation, then to claim there is effective sovereignty here is to mislead our people. The more our people ponder over these problems, the more clearly will it be seen that the political case for entry is weaker even than the economic.
The political argument for our E.E.C. entry rests on the doctrine of size—what the noble and learned Lord called the wider base. If we belong to a bigger community, shall we be more influential, or more stable, or more efficient? There is room for doubt. Much recent experience suggests otherwise in both political and commercial life. I mention only the federal rebuffs in South-East Asia, in Central Africa, and in the Caribbean.
541 There is also an increasing view in industry that a bigger firm is not necessarily a stronger or more stable firm. The noble Lord, Lord Crowther, who is to speak later I see, might or might not support this view. The logic of figures is often upset by the factor of human relations.
We have to consider these matters more and more in terms of the individual. I have already said that we cannot hope for a dynamic society if the individuals therein are reluctant and suspicious. We cannot liberate new energies unless there is a genuine desire in the heart of each individual to put more into his or her effort. That is what the free society is about. The great need to-day is for more democracy, not less. The need to participate in decision making is more and more widely recognised. Yet Her Majesty's Government are deliberately opting to transfer more and more decisions to Brussels and to a political structure which has been described as the least democratic and the most bureaucratic in the world. I have for long sympathised with those Scots who have argued for greater devolution of political and economic decision making to Scotland. I completely fail to understand how those like Mr. Grimond can reconcile greater devolution to Scotland with support for the transference of effective power from London to Brussels.
And this proposed transfer by legislative action by the State will be aggravated and intensified by the boardroom decisions of individual companies. I dealt in July with the observed tendency of economic effort to concentrate near the centre and I will not deal with that at length, though I have read since of a survey by the Guardianof company investment intentions which shows how many firms are waiting till we are actually attached to the E.E.C. before they invest—and then the investment will be on the Continent. My Lords, the Clydeside workers get angry enough about Whitehall. What are they going to say—and do—as they see the centre of economic gravity shifting further and further away from their homes and the places where they hope to work?
My Lords, the noble Earl, my noble friend, Lord Longford, in the July debate touched on what I agree with him is one of the most important aspects of the whole 542 issue when he related it to the prospect of World Government and world peace. He spoke with great force and much feeling of the deep, traditional attachment of the Labour movement to international ideals, and he urged his friends to hold to those ideals. My Lords, in opposing this Motion I hope I am doing just that. The noble Earl said that if we could not achieve World Government then a regional grouping was the next best thing; but there is no experience to support this. The two most powerful groups, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, have not led us very far towards World Government. Neither the one union of States nor the other enjoys that quality of life which the Labour movement set out to achieve.
The noble Earl would be less than fair, to himself as much as to others, if he claimed that he was more of an internationalist than those of his friends who oppose this Motion. I have always wanted and still want the greatest possible social, cultural and commercial interchange with other countries. I agreed and still agree with Ernest Bevin when he said that we should be able to go down to Victoria Station and book a ticket to where the hell we liked. Of course, in the event, not the train, but the aeroplane and air transport with which I have been concerned for most of my adult life have made possible tremendous developments in international and especially European intercourse. In or out of the E.E.C., we must do more to facilitate international travel and communications. Of course we should do even more to free trade between European nations. At one time the tariffs between us were around 40 per cent. and now the average is around 7 per cent. One more Kennedy Round and the noble Lord, Lord Stokes, will have all he wants.
For certain functions I have always argued for federalism: from 1948 onwards I was asking for an international atomic energy agency, and we still need it. In the 1950s I was asking for international collaboration in aircraft production. Federation in that function has gone a very long way indeed and almost every month has seen the process extended, but it has not been and is not dependent upon E.E.C. entry. Also in the 1950s I sat with the noble Earl, Lord Longford, 543 on a Commision which worked out practical details for a United Nations peacekeeping force. More than ever I am sure that we were right, he and I, in a partnership which I treasured, in seeking a world authority with these peace-keeping powers. But is the noble Earl really convinced that this is the objective of the E.E.C.? Valuable and essential as it is to those who now compose it, the Community is not a step necessarily towards World Government. It looks to many more like nationalism writ large. The internationalism which makes sense to-day treats the world as one whole. All the scientific and technical know-how supports this argument. By the end of the decade we shall be taking supersonic transport for granted. By the end of the century the space shuttle will be an established fact. With the S.D.R. 's paper gold we are at last evolving a rational, genuine world reserve currency.
It is the implications of all this that we should be studying and our national genius should be guiding its consequences. The pace of events call be quicker even than we know. But in the meantime, my Lords, we should hold fast to proven friends and trading partners. It was Winston Churchill who once said that he did not propose to win that war in order to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire. In fact we all hoped and expected to see military victory lead to a new and stronger British Commonwealth of Nations. If this motion goes through, and the statutory consequences follow, we shall see the Commonwealth go out, not with a military bang but with a legislative whimper. I, for one, just could not bring myself to vote for a course of action which puts up unnecessary harriers between us and those who fought by our side from first to last when we were struggling for survival.
I know there arc honest men who honestly argue that once inside the European compound we can still help our traditional partners. But why do we want to do it that way? Why not do it the other way round? Holding fast to that which is good, that remarkable, world-wide and English-speaking but multiracial association, why cannot we continue the trend of increasing cooperation with Europe, without the poli- 544 tical and economic penalties which this Motion involves? That we now need a new impetus, a new spirit, a new dynamic if you like, I readily agree, though what defeatist of which Party at the last General Election said that that spirit could he found if we signed the Treaty of Rome? Given that spirit, and building upon economic and political foundations much wider than one part of one Continent, I am totally convinced that we can yet prove worthy of our traditions. And, believing that, I ask the House to vote "Not-Content" on Thursday.
§ 3.37 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, I suppose that for me this speech ought to be a sort of swan song, if not indeed a Nunc Dimittis, for it now looks pretty certain that by January,1973, despite the croakings of our old political raven, Mr. Enoch Powell, who after all has, so to speak, his own beak to grind, we shall have joined the European Economic Community. That is something which, as your Lordships know, I have been working for many years, and the economic and political reasons for which I have developed so many times, both in private and in public since the conference at Messina in 1955 that your Lordships will certainly not want me to bore you all over again. As a matter of fact, I suspect that the electorate in this country is now being rather bored with the arguments for and against. The noble Lord, Lord Beswick, made considerable play with the various polls that have recently been taken. For me the one significant poll is the one which he himself quoted; that is, that when asked a straight question: "Irrespective of your own feelings on the subject, do you think that joining the Community would be in the interests of the nation?" a very considerable majority of the electorate replied, "Yes". Well if that is so, then it is quite clear that the Government are taking the country into the Community, not perhaps with the enthusiastic support but at any rate with the willing consent of the British people. I think it is very difficult to deny that particular argument.
I should very much have liked to argue with the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, some of the major points he made; namely, that for instance forming a large Community in Western Europe is not 545 necessarily a step towards World Government. That may be so, but I am quite convinced in my own mind, and have always argued, that it is certainly a step towards the constitution of a World Authority, which is a rather different thing. First, we must have Europe as a region, and then we must have a Europe which is composed of regions. Apparently the noble Lord did not think we could go in for regions, but of course we can. Why should Scotland be considered a miserable outpost not worthy of any support when we think of the millions being poured into Southern Italy, the great steel works at Taranto, and so on? Why should we necessarily assume that the same kind of regional policy will not be pursued if we come into the Community when it is being actively pursued in the Community at the present time?
Anyhow I believe that Parliament will shortly, by a considerable majority, approve of our entry into the Community. The possibility that Parliament will, during the coming year and having taken this decision, reject the necessary enabling legislation, I exclude. It seems to me that the efforts of the Labour Party leadership to achieve this end—that is to say, to reject the legislation—are Party politics, not untouched, I fear, by a certain demagoguery, undertaken with the sole, though I admit in the view of the Party the no doubt laudable, object of increasing the possibility of its return to power at the next Election.
No doubt the Commons majority in favour of any particular piece of enabling legislation may be small, or even very small, but it will be pushed through even if the Government have to risk unpopularity by using the guillotine. Of that I am certain. Once the major decision to joint the Communities has been taken by Parliament on the terms negotiated by the Government, it would be childishly irresponsible for the same Parliament to reject the legislation required for putting these terms into effect. During the coining year, the anti-Marketeers will no doubt have a field day, denouncing this, denouncing that; pointing to the evidently evil consequences of the value added tax, or the Fishing Agreement, whatever that may prove to be. But all this will be done in the hope that one or more of their predictions will come 546 true by (shall we say?) 1975 and that they can then point to the correctness of their opposition. Of course there will be some things—there may be many things—which will prove to be unpleasant as a result of our joining the Community, but the British people in 1975 will look to the results and in the end they will judge them, I am sure, as a whole. What exactly these results will be, no economic pundit—not even Professor Kaldor—can predict. What they might have been if we had not joined is something we can safely leave to the Opposition to develop in the autumn of 1974.
As a matter of fact, all the probabilities are, I suggest, that by 1975 membership of the Common Market, once accomplished, will simply not be a political issue, any more than it is an issue in those countries which are members of it to-day. Our political leaders in the middle 'seventies, if things go reasonably well, are far more likely to look back on the passionate pronouncements, both of some of the more enthusiastic Marketeers and, more especially, perhaps, of the anti-Marketeers, with a certain amazement and wonder what the fuss really was all about.
But not even the Opposition, supposing they return to power, will take us out of the Communities once we are in them, always supposing that the whole construction does not disappear as a result of some great internal or external disaster. They could if they wanted to, of course, although the operation, doubtfully legal in itself, would mean repealing all the legislation which will shortly be passed., and largely smashing up our own commercial and economic system, to say nothing of convulsing Europe.
What they might try to do, as I think has already been announced by Mr. Callaghan, is to try to re-negotiate certain features of the terms of our accession of which they initially disapproved, or which have been shown to be unduly onerous with the passage of time. Why not? This seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate proceeding, and indeed I think it is one which the present Government might well consider in a few years' time; that is to say, even before the Labour Party comes back into power—if it ever does. There are, for instance, features of the Common Agricultural Policy which 547 might indeed be modified—and I hope will be modified—more especially perhaps as a result of some major deal between an extended E.E.C. and the United States of America, which, as we all know, is impending. But, as we all know again, decisions already taken by the European Economic Community can only be modified or reversed (we have agreed to that) by common consent, and although we might well suggest that they should be so modified or reversed—and perhaps in return for agreement on our part on some new policy which the others would be arguing—the whole thing would have to be negotiated. In other words, we shall not be able to insist that any modifications of our existing obligations should come about simply because Mr. Callaghan does not like them. For by that time in all probability we shall be part of an established and very powerful group, and expected to behave as such. Moreover, it will be in our own interest to do so.
What is really important, even now, is to consider how the Community is going to work when we do join it—and on that, with your Lordships' permission, I will speak for a few moments. It could work out badly; it could even not work at all. Just conceivably it might revert to being a simple Customs Union, all attempts to create a monetary or an economic union being abandoned. Some people might say, "Why rot?" If, for instance, the Common Agricultural Policy is abandoned they might say, "So much the better for us". If there is not even a Common Commercial Policy we might perhaps play our own game and try to revive the idea of a special relationship with America in some extended free trade area.
My Lords, I fear that these are the pleasant dreams of ancient Britons which can easily turn into nightmares. For if the Community for some reason or other fails to function, there will surely be a return to economic nationalism in Western Europe, common external tariff or no common external tariff; and no doubt with increasing protectionism in the United States of America all the prospects everywhere in the Western World would simply be for severely directed economies, whether of the Right or of the Left, run perhaps 548 by such potential marshals as Mr. Enoch Powell or Mr. Ian Mikardo. We do not have to be very imaginative to figure out what this might imply for Germany, or for that matter even for Italy, in order to realise that there could only be one inevitable residual legatee—the Soviet Union. Anglo-Saxon optimists might indeed imagine that in such distressing circustances they could always join up with the United States. Unfortunately, there is no reason whatever to suppose that the United States would have us. They might conceivably maintain us as a kind of "air strip one", nestling under their remaining slightly tattered nuclear umbrella, but that they would agree to our becoming in some way part of the United States, or indeed even a component part of some Atlantic federation with its headquarters in Washington (which is much the same thing), I believe is out of the question.
There is no escaping the logical conclusion. When we join the European Economic Community we shall, if we and our partners want to maintain our independence, our free institutions, and our way of life, be compelled to do cur utmost to make the Community work democratically and gradually to develop an economic and monetary union based on Parliamentary institutions, to say nothing of setting up some suitable machine for conducting Western European foreign policy and defence. This, after all, is the declared intention, the declared objective, as I understand it, of the present leaders of France and Britain, and indeed of the leaders of all the Western European democracies concerned.
How, therefore, do we propose to go about it, to achieve it? Apparently, if our leaders are to be believed, by maintaining the so-called "Luxembourg compromise" of January,1966, whereby any member of the Council of Ministers may block any decisions of the Council, even should he be in a minority of one, merely by asserting, without necessarily making any attempt to explain his reasons, that it would be contrary to the vital interests of his country. This is a perfect recipe for stagnation. For, if maintained, it will mean simply that no progress towards an economic union, still less of course towards a monetary union, which, I repeat, both our leaders have laid down as our objectives, will be possible at all.
549 Nor is this formula for failure accepted by the Governments of Western Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium. It is not even accepted by the followers of M. Valery Giscard D'Estaing and the Independents in France, to say nothing of the French Radicals and Socialists and Centre. Doubtless it was necessary for the Government to accept it, if only to persuade M. Pompidou, still encumbered by his ultra-Gaullist majority, to be reasonable over the famous "terms ". Doubtless, too, it will not be possible, once we are in the Communities, for ourselves and our partners to change it without the willing acceptance of France, of course. But the Giscardians have already published an excellent plan showing how the Luxembourg compromise could be modified so as at least to permit progress towards an economic union without causing distress to any save the more violent nationalists; and we must all hope, therefore, that we shall, as soon as practicable, move in the same direction as that favoured by all the more intelligent and forward-looking political groups in France, and indeed in Europe. I urge all your Lordships who are interested in the subject at all to read this statesmanlike document which I have in my hand, though I hesitate perhaps to ask the noble Marquess who is to wind up what he thinks of it, because I already know exactly what he would reply.
There is another field where real progress could, with good will, soon be made, even if for a time we have to stagger along in the E.E.C. on the basis of the "Luxembourg compromise". I refer of course to foreign policy and defence. For quite soon the Governments will by the force of things have to decide what they propose to do with the Western European Union. As your Lordships know very well, this body still functions. The Council of Seven Ministers, the purpose of which, under the modified Treaty of Brussels is still in principle to harmonise Western European foreign and defence policies, still meets. Most of the powers conferred on the organisation under the Treaty have, it is true, been effectively transferred to the Council of Europe, or to O.E.C.D., or to NATO. But there remains a perfectly good Secretariat and a Council of Deputies in London, and another Secretariat and a 550 most active and useful Parliamentary Assembly in Paris.
Moreover, the Treaty of Brussels itself is something which all those who know anything about it admit should be preserved, since not only is the operative clause—the so-called casus fœderis—muchmore tightly drafted than the corresponding one in the North Atlantic Treaty, but the Brussels protocols, which, among other things oblige Germany not to make nuclear bombs and oblige Britain to maintain her forces in Germany, are obviously of the highest international importance. And how are you going to preserve the Treaty if you destroy all the machinery set up under it? In all logic, therefore, the W.E.U., whose membership, once we join the E.E.C., will largely coincide with that of the extended Communities, ought to become, as it were, the foreign political and defence wing of the Communities, those other candidates for membership of the Communities who are prepared to accept political obligations also becoming members of the two bodies—that is to say, an extended W.E.U. and an extended E.E.C., working in close harmony until such time as they can actually be merged on the establishment of any real European authority.
However, as your Lordships are also aware, the Six, since The Hague Conference of December,1969, arc establishing or have established their own machinery for harmonising foreign policy (though not, as yet, defence) under what is known as the "Davignon" procedure. The Six Ministers meet twice a year to discuss certain major topics of foreign policy, and their meetings are followed at a discreet interval by meetings of the so-called "candidates". There is no secretariat, and any progress can, in practice, be registered only at meetings of the Political Directors of the various foreign ministries who indulge periodically in a sort of nationalistic ritual dance, with their cards held closely against their chests.
It is obvious, my Lords, that this dual system cannot go on for long after we join the E.E.C. Of course, if we do not join we shall be excluded from any consultations among the Six. So the choice, if we do join, will lie either between extending and reinforcing W.E.U. or merging the latter in Davignon. One of the difficulties of this last solution is that 551 the Parliament of Europe—that is to say, the Parliament of the E.E.C. and of the present Six—does not discuss defence, and deals with foreign policy only to a very limited extent, and that under the Brussels Treaty the Ministers nevertheless are bound to submit a report of their activities to the Assembly. On the other hand, if any progress is to be made under the Davignon proposals, even ministerially, it will clearly be essential for it to be provided with an adequate international secretariat, and the simplest way of achieving this would be to take over the perfectly adequate W.E.U. secretariat and gradually build up on that. An alternative is to base all defence on a thing called the "Eurogroup "in NATO. But that does not include France and does include Greece and Turkey, and it would be rather difficult therefore to imagine that that would be a basis of European defence.
And yet there never was a moment when it was more necessary to coordinate all the policies—not only the economic policies—of the Western European democracies. The Americans are in all probability quite soon going to withdraw a very considerable proportion of their forces in Europe. Let us hope that this will indeed represent a balanced withdrawal; but unfortunately there is no guarantee that it will. One thing which stands out a mile is that if the European members of the Alliance are going in any way to fill the gap in conventional armaments left by the American withdrawal they will have to streamline their own defensive efforts, standardise their armaments and thus make a great concerted effort, quite conceivably at less expense to the taxpayers of all the countries concerned. Nor can they much longer delay tackling the overshadowing question, which is really the basis of all this, posed by the existence of the separate nuclear strike forces of France and Britain. I do not want to go into that now boot that is at the back of everything that will shortly be under discussion.
Quite apart from all this, the European Security Conference is fast approaching, and in the light of that it would be, to say the least, highly dangerous for Britain, France and Germany to try to achieve a detente by their individual efforts. For if we do the Soviet Union— 552 and I must revert to this factor—will be in the magnificent position of playing us all off one against the other; and we surely do not want that. It is not as if the achievement of a genuine détente, as suggested by our sentimental pro-Soviet factions, would be impeded by the gradual emergence of some political entity in Western Europe. What would indeed be impeded thereby would be Russian hegemony over the whole of Europe. It is, on the contrary, only by forming some such entity in Western Europe that we can gradually create a wider Europe in agreement with Russia herself. Would the Government accept this as a valid objective and one governing their whole approach to a European Security Conference? It would certainly encourage many of their friends in Europe if they said that they did.
My Lords, I hope that in the few minutes available I have at least demonstrated how political events now clearly discernible on the horizon reinforce the general economic and social case for joining the Community on the terms negotiated by the Government, which are obviously very similar to the terms which would have been negotiated by the Labour Government if they had been in a position to do so. I naturally rejoice that the opportunity for doing so will soon present itself. More than ever I feel that there is at least a chance of gradually enlarging the bounds of the nation State and thus permitting the emergence of that new post-industrial society which so many of the younger generation in all Western lands now obscurely desire, even if they are at present unable to translate their ambition into any comprehensible programme for reform. What we can do and should do, my Lords, is to give them the tools, and then we can safely let them finish the job. As soon as possible, therefore—and not waiting for a year or so until we become a full member of the Community—the Government should come out with imaginative proposals for forming that entity in which they, as indeed the great bulk of intelligent opinion in this country, have come to believe. It is for them now to give the lead for which all Europe, for which even France, is waiting. It is for them to regard our future with clear eyes and a stout heart; to translate intention into action, and to 553 explain the resulting policy to our people and the world.
§ 4.2 p.m.
§ LORD ZUCKERMAN
My Lords, as this is the first occasion on which I have risen to speak in your Lordships' House I crave your indulgence for my maiden speech. I intend to avoid the controversial aspects of the matter before us and to concentrate on one issue which I hope is common ground—even if the goal to which it points is unequivocally on one side of the debate. My concern is with the better prospects which would be opened un for science-based industries if we were to join the European Economic Community. For over 25 years I have been involved in one way or another, inside Whitehall and outside Whitehall, in the national effort to build up our scientific and technological resources. With the encouragement of successive Governments our record has been one of considerable success, but only, I fear, success in absolute terms. British scientists have been responsible for advances in knowledge totally disproportionate in their significance to our numbers; but relative to the growth of science-based industries which have taken place in other countries of the world, and relative to the changes that have taken place in the content of science and technology, we have slipped back, not advanced. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has put this point much more forcefully than I could have done.
At the end of the 'thirties, before the Second World War, we were in the forefront of most branches of science, and our industrial strength was pre-eminent. These things are no longer true. We can no longer cover by ourselves the scientific and technological waterfront. The applications of modern technology, particularly in the fields of electronics, telecommunications, aeronautics and nuclear power are immensely costly—indeed, so costly that we have had to reduce our own effort well beyond the limits of our technical competence. Over recent years we have embarked on vast projects, not only in military but also in the civil field, which have then had to be cancelled or abandoned for lack of resources and of potential sales. It is not that we lacked the technological expertise. That we did not. By the standards set by the Powers which now lead the world we were just 554 too small, too isolated. Our weakness has inhibited us from entering some technological fields where our knowledge and competence were, at the start, every bit as good as that of the two major Powers by which these fields have now been monopolised.
My Lords, in a competitive world we shall not be able to maintain, leave alone improve, our standard of living without economic growth. Growth is dependent on many factors, of which one of the most important is technological innovation, the development of new goods and new processes. The most glittering prizes have come from the more ambitious kinds of technological innovation—from computer science, telecommunications, the aerospace industry and from nuclear industry. These are the fields which are now transforming the future, but they are not necessarily the fields which are determining our immediate problems.
But in addition to the skill and experience on which it depends, technological innovation, if it is to mean anything, calls for considerable resources. Thus, tens or hundreds of millions of pounds may be involved in developing one new product, say an advanced computer or a new aircraft. Technological projects do not jump speedily from the drawing board to the ultimate user. New science-based developments almost inevitably cost more than their predecessors. The time to produce a new aircraft or a new communications network may be every bit as long as ten years. Alone, we do not have the wealth to set aside with no return for so long a time. And there is always a gamble in the development of new technological projects. Will it work? Will it sell? These are the questions which surround new projects.
No Common Market country by itself is any better off than we are—even though two of them already spend more public funds than we do on research and development. Large-scale developments should not be started without the assurance of considerable resources, and without at least the promise of large markets. But they are started without these things, and often in useless competition with each other. As a result—and here I include our own country—Europe is still wasting vast resources which it cannot conceivably afford. The civil nuclear industry is an outstanding example of 555 competition which can only lead to such waste. We would surely avoid some of the risks, and at least some of the frustrations of failure, if we were part of the larger economic Community. Obviously, we could not avoid all the risks, all the disappointments attendant on modern industry. The United States, the leading industrial Power of the world to-day, has had her fair share of trouble in putting new science to work through technology. Lockheed is not the only example.
I also realise, as the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, has observed, that it is not impossible for technological and industrial alliances to be forged with other countries whether or not we are Members of the Common Market. But experience shows that this is not easy to accomplish in advanced technological fields, particularly when we do not have a community of economic interests; but I believe firmly that the future of our more costly scientific industries would be far rosier if we were members of the Community.
If we were members of the Community we should surely find it easier to plan for the future of our aerospace and computer industries than we have been able to do on our own. There is little in our history of this subject of which we can be proud. Take one example. We are playing a small part in the development of the European airbus, but in a way only an adventitious even if important part. At the same time, it is common knowledge that when our full participation in the project was being officially sought we were urging the claims for a competitor British aircraft. In the end, our own project could not continue for lack of resources. But had it done so, and had our design gone ahead, we should have found ourselves fighting with the European companies for a part of what no one assumed at the time could have been a vast market. In retrospect would it not have been better if we had been fully behind the European airbus with all our resources, with all our experience, and with all our will?
The phrase "European Technological Community" was once on many-lips. We have not heard it for some time. But we do not need some new formal technological community on the model of the Iron and Steel Community or 556 Euratom. What we do need is to join our technological forces wherever we can with those of the Community. The arguments for closer technological cooperation were strong when the word "Community" was added to those of "European Technology". With increasing competition from the other industrialised countries—particularly the United States, and I would include Japan—they are even stronger today. Alone and separate, many European industries—and I am not talking here about the large international companies—will be picked off one by one. With the increased opportunities which the Community provides for planning the use of our joint and powerful technological resources, they will survive.
Britain has an enormous amount to contribute. The dangers we run if we stand alone become greater each year as other countries increase their technological power. If we are frustrated we shall have wasted a large part of the considerable capital which, over the years, we have poured into promotion of our scientific and technological resources, and will have neutralised what should be a powerful factor in our economic growth. The technologists of the European Community need our help. We need theirs. Without us they will go ahead, but more slowly. Without them we may go ahead, but we shall go even more slowly and stumbling on the way. I thank your Lordships for your forbearance in listening to me so indulgently on this occasion.
§ 4.12 p.m.
§ LORD RITCHIE-CALDER
My Lords, it is my privilege and great pleasure to be the first to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman, on his maiden speech. He may know—and if he does not, he will learn—that with him on the Cross-Benches and me on these Benches I cannot, by the convention of your Lordships' House, call him "my noble friend Lord Zuckerman" but I can, and will, call him my friend, the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman. Our association goes back 40 years when he helped a brash young journalist to become a science writer, and he admitted that science writer to that remarkable coterie which he founded and chaired as a dining club, the Tots and Quots. This was a group of then young scientists, destined for eminence in the scientific world and, all of them, for key positions 557 as the "tame magicians" of the war, and none more spectacularly than he. In the post-war years he became a scientific Lord Burleigh, the indispensable servant of Governments and the confidante of those in high places. He was responsible for naming the club, "Tots and Quots", an abbreviation and inversion of the Latin tag, Quot homines; tot sententiae—many men; many opinions. I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman, that he will be at home here, for that might well be the motto of your Lordships' House. His maiden speech has revealed the exceptional qualities of his Lordship, with which most of us are already familiar: master of his subject, this or any other, cogent and forthright and, in the "with it" term, abrasive. Now that he has got his maiden speech over, we hope that we shall hear many more speeches from him, and we are delighted to have had him speak to us.
After such an excellent performance and such powerful arguments your Lordships may think it rather churlish of me when I say that he has not abraded my opposition to entry into the Common Market. I should like to pursue at some length the arguments on technological cooperation, but I will not deal with that to-day. My continued opposition is not surprising, because my gut reaction to the Common Market twelve years ago has now become a rational conviction, reinforced in the latter-day debates by the pro-Market arguments, and, my Lords, by the sort of people who make them. To begin with, I saw it as yet another aspect of the cold war. I count myself a European, but my Europe extends far beyond the Six, and with doors opening not only to the East but to the world community at large. I distrusted from the beginning the term "Common Market". I could not see the sense of taking in each other's washing, particularly as all the laundries would be owned by the same cartel. For all those years I have tried, as behoved a professor of international relations, to suppress my gut reactions and to try to find merits in the Common Market, even as a faute de mieux. I even tried to persuade myself that, with patience, it might become the means to more inspiring political ends. I have listened with great interest to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack and to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, 558 trying to hold out to us the great prospect of some kind of wider political significance and not the tawdry, if I may say so, arguments of the purely commercial and industrial aspects of the Market. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Common Market is no more than that—a market in which the hucksters and the horse traders are seeking their own gain.
It became more and more obvious over the years that the Market was increasingly a contrivance of the multi-national corporations who, without regard to social costs, could move capital and ultimately manpower and make their profits both on the swings and on the roundabouts. I am not suggesting that there was a great conspiracy, a combined takeover bid or the suborning of politicians: it is in the nature of multi-national capitalism and of the corporations, and they have been doing what comes naturally. Most of my pro-Market Labour colleagues believe that the only way we can control the operations of the multi-national corporations is by going into the Common Market and exercising political constraints. I beg to differ. It is they who will exercise the political constraints.
Great play—and increasingly so—has been made of the argument of economic growth. I recognise that to question economic growth is to commit a heresy. But some of us, and a growing number of young people, are beginning to have profound misgivings about the growth syndrome. Growth to meet growth, like meeting the real needs of a growing population, is necessary. A growth which exaggerates the demands for things that people never knew they wanted, and which certainly will not increase their happiness or satisfaction, is unnecessary and, I suggest, unworthy. Growth can be unhealthy. Growth out of hand is elephantiasis. Growth is cancer. Growth is pollution from the excesses of industrialisation. Growth is almost invariably at the expense of others.
This brings me to my personal impeachment of the Common Market. My abiding concern is with the Third World, which I have travelled and traversed for the past 25 years to see how science and technology, properly applied, could relieve the real needs of the disadvantaged peoples and reduce the dangerous 559 disparity between the growing prosperity, artificially devised, of the highly advanced countries and the proportional impoverishment of the under-developed countries. I say emphatically that anyone who says that the Comon Market will benefit the Third World is being either hypocritical or self-deceiving. The object of the Common Market, in the hard business terms on which it is based and which were evident in the negotiations, is to buy cheap and sell dear.
If any of our Commonwealth countries who may be tolerated as Associate Members expect to find solace in membership, they should consult the members of the French Community who have been admitted. They are still, as Associate Members, the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, the providers of cheap raw materials or, at best, of semi-finished goods. The terms which have been negotiated on products like sugar are only peripheral to the problems of the Third World. And I regard it as no better than cynical to say that out of the surplus wealth generated by such exploitation the Common Market will provide charity. The countries which arc discriminated against by adverse trading arrangements will be the political hostages of aid, as we have seen from the capricious behaviour of the appropriations committees of the United States Congress. I maintain that Britain's enlightened self-interest still lies in the Third World, and with our Commonwealth countries as the ports of entry to that Third World. By sharing our knowledge and skills we can generate our markets through encouraging the real growth—growth to meet the needs of people, not advertising-promoted growth—of prosperity in the wider world.
§ 4.21 p.m.
§ LORD HARVEY OF PRESTBURY
My Lords, with my experiences over the last 25 years, I take the opposite view to that expressed by the noble Lord who has just sat down. In both Houses of Parliament we have for the last decade been debating possible entry to the E.E.C. We have gone backwards and forwards with regularity, under different Administrations. I well remember that I supported the Prime Minister of the day in the vote in another place in 1967. For many reasons I did not enjoy doing so, but I did. I have no doubt that, had we 560 a Labour Government to-day, a debate would have taken place on the present terms. There is no question about it. I am satisfied that the terms arc reasonable, and in fact they are better than I thought they were going to be. They have been accepted by responsible Ministers of the Labour Administration—Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Lever, Mr. Roy Mason who is connected with the Mineworkers' Union, and the noble Lord, Lord George-Brown—and I accept their word completely. If the terms are good enough for them, they are certainly good enough for me.
We have heard a great deal about New Zealand. which I suppose is the dearest of all the Commonwealth countries. In many respects they are probably more British than we are ourselves. But we are assured by the Prime Minister of New Zealand that the terms are satisfactory. I know that the Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand does not agree, but Oppositions do not usually agree—that is happening in our country to-day. Furthermore, the New Zealand Dairy Board are satisfied, and in fact they will be better off with their guaranteed prices for dairy produce over the next five years. I have no doubt that in Europe, where the mountains of butter have disappeared in recent years and where there have been droughts and farmers going out of dairying, there will be a shortage of food and with a growing population and standards of living going up we may well need all the food that New Zealand can supply in the years ahead.
The West Indies, too, are satisfied with the terms. But I must say that I am not too happy about the arrangements for the fishing industry. Progress has been made, but I should like further clarification in that respect. It is an important industry to us and to the men who man our ships. Speaking in another place yesterday, Mr. Rippon said that Mr. Arnold Smith, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, thought that the Commonwealth would be more important if Britain went into the Community. That is the opinion of a Canadian who is not biased either way and who wants to see everything in the Commonwealth succeed. I must say that over the years—and I have had 26 years in the House of Commons—I have been 561 both lukewarm and enthusiastic about our going in, and in recent years I have found it rather difficult to make up my mind; but in the last year or two I have very definitely come to the conclusion that entry is the right course for Britain, and I completely support it.
We cannot rely on the United States. They have their own serious economic problems, and since July, as was said by the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, they have imposed their 10 per cent. surcharge. Therefore we cannot expect any help there; and with their elections in the next year or two they will undoubtedly reduce United States forces in Europe. We have to accept these facts and make our fair contribution in both defence and economics. Trade with the Commonwealth is very important, but, however close the ties may be, the pattern of trade has changed over the years. That is certainly the case in Australia. I remember trying to sell British bombers to Australia some 15 years ago. I thought I had made some progress, but I did not get an order. In fact, apart from the Executive jet aircraft, Australia has not ordered a British aircraft for twenty years, since the Viscount. They could have done so, because there were good British aircraft, bath military and civil, available; but they are looking towards America and Japan for their trade.
When the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, said that in this decade we shall accept supersonic civil aircraft as a matter of course, I remembered that his Administration a few years ago sent a Minister to Paris and tried to cancel the Concorde. If they had succeeded we should not have had a supersonic aircraft. This joint effort could have been better organised and there have been many stops and starts, but I have great confidence that it is going to succeed. For reasons which we well know, it is very difficult to trade with Canada. Furthermore, many of the African countries have their own arrangements with the Community. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth is still important, and many of the countries are developing their own industries, though they are expanding more slowly than Europe and the United States.
The standard of living in the E.E.C. is certainly rising faster than ours; we 562 are about fifth in the league to-day. We tell ourselves that we have a superb Welfare State, but it is not the best, as it used to be; we are about fourth or fifth. The one item that gives me comfort is our invisible exports, which are making a remarkable contribution to our economy to-day. There are no materials involved—just brains, in the main—and I believe that if Britain goes into the Community the City of London and our institutions will have a great opportunity to expand their interests in Europe. In fact, I know that they will be welcomed. Of course the Community's common industrial policy will affect our manufacturers, whether we are in the Community or not, but, as a member, Britain will have a full say in determining and developing that common industrial policy. That is another reason why we should be in.
What alternatives are there? I can think of one. If British management and workers in industry got to their jobs at 7.30 in the morning and worked till 5.30 in the evening, without any industrial unrest, we could stay out of these arrangements and probably make a very good living, the same as Switzerland does. But we are not the same, and we have to be practical in what we are going to do. I have yet to hear a convincing alternative to our going into Europe. If we remain on our own—and our home market is small, in terms of world trade—trade with the Commonwealth will decline, relatively speaking, and trade with the E.E.C. from outside, which is at present increasing, will be vulnerable to future increases in tariffs. I know of one manufacturer of agricultural tractors who was building up a very good business selling them in Europe. He sustained his business without making any profit at all, after having paid the tariff. He is now losing money and that business will disappear, so those tractors will not be sold to Europe.
I said earlier that trade with the United States is uncertain because of the growing protectionism. Our own economy is too small to generate growth and to sustain the research and investment that is required. We cannot do it on our own. As a nation we rely heavily on trade, and nobody should despise the fact that, as a nation, we work for our living. But our industrial policy is bound to be influenced by the requirements of two giant markets 563 —Europe and the United States—and if we remain outside the Community we shall have no voice in determining what those requirements are. As regards the other trade associations, little encouragement has been given to those who pushed the North Atlantic Free Trade area. I have referred to the United States and Canada, and possibly Japan; but we have had no encouragement at all. The three other EFTA countries are also applying to go into the Common Market.
On regional development, we have problems in this country and I think there is a great deal to be gained for Scotland, the North-East and Wales by Britain going in. It is recognised in the E.E.C., just as it is in this country. In France, Germany and Italy, the outlying regions have benefited from E.E.C. membership; and one very good example is Sicily. I have been to Sicily a number of times in recent years, and I have seen enormous industries springing up in that island, which was sadly neglected for a very long time. There is now a semi-prosperity in Sicily. Many arguments are put forward about the old people in this country, and the effect that our joining the E.E.C. will have on them. The Government have given assurances—and I accept those assurances—that if the cost of food goes up the pensions of the old people will go up. money will be saved on farm subsidies, and that must be applied, or more if necessary, to helping the old people—and not only the old people, but those on social benefits.
On agriculture, I remember that over the years the farmers in my former constituency of Macclesfield were dead against our joining the E.E.C., but during the recent by-election, when I spent some time assisting my successor, I found the Cheshire farmers, almost without exception, seeing the benefits of our joining. Incidentally, canvassing during that campaign I called on hundreds and hundreds of homes, and what impressed me was the number of young people, from the age of about twenty-eight to forty, who are very anxious for Britain to join. It is not the older people or the very young, but those in that age group who see a real future for Britain in joining the Common Market. But membership will bring the farmer a higher income. It places a greater premium on efficient production 564 than the artificial system of subsidies: and let us recognise the fact that British farming is probably the most modern and efficient, certainly in Europe and probably in the world. We should more than hold our own with the European countries. The Community's common external tariff is also lower than ours, and also that of the United States. In fact, the E.E.C. give more in investment to the underdeveloped countries than others, and almost twice as much as the United States. Many people think that the French and other European countries do very little for the underdeveloped countries. They do a great deal, and a great deal more than most. We could well follow their example, and I am relieved to think that the underdeveloped countries will be encouraged as time goes on.
My Lords, for a number of years I have been connected with two foreign-controlled companies which have very large investments in this country, and I am satisfied from inquiries that I have made that if Britain joins they will probably increase their production and research in this country. We are well poised in relation to cost and brains to make a tremendous impact, and I can see an enormous future for Great Britain in the next ten years if we get our industrial problems straightened out. Here, I would say to many companies, management as well—they have got to pull up their socks and get on with the job just as much as the workers—that I can see an enormous future. If we miss it now, it may be too late. I hope that we shall pass the Motion here on Thursday with an overwhelming majority, to give Britain this great opportunity which it deserves.
§ 4.34 p.m.
§ LORD GEORGE-BROWN
My Lords, before I begin what I have to say I should like to refer to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman. One day this country will know what it owes to him, one of our outstanding scientists and public servants. In thirty years, or a little less, the papers will be published. In time of war, in time of peace, he is one of the greatest British public servants we have. Some of us sitting on these Benches know how much we owed to him in our time as an adviser, as a gadfly, if he will let me use that term; and one can only guess at what those who conducted the war effort owed to 565 him. He and I have a noble (I use the word advisedly) connection. It may be that only he and I know quite what that means. I can only say, speaking for myself, that it is a wonderful joy to have him in the House and to hear what he has had to say, and I am so glad that for once I did not have to correct him; he had got the answer.
I listened also with great interest to the speech of my noble friend Lord Beswick. My Lords, I can never understand why those who are against joining the rest of Europe in an effort to make it more integrated and more united have to be so very gloomy—gloomy, that is to say, about us, and so optimistic about the rest of Europe. You get the impression that from here on nothing is going to happen except that we accept all that the rest of Western Europe say. I would tell my noble friend that that is not the impression I get of what the chaps on the Continent think may happen. I got two main points out of what my noble friend had to say to us. I got it very clearly that he, he said, has always asked for much more than is involved in this; he always wanted the ideal. I have been so long a trade union official that I have come to be a little suspicious of the fellow who always wanted the ideal but was never willing to accept what was available. My noble friend's second point was that unless I and my friends can prove to the nth degree that there is no risk, then he would prefer to withdraw into his igloo. He must speak for himself, and I accept that that is how he feels. But I am bound to say that if the Ancient Britons (the even more ancient Britons than he seeks to present himself as) had taken that view, I doubt whether we should be enjoying the place in the world, the standard of living—even the place in the world, even the standard of living—that we are enjoying to-day. So some of us must go on from there.
My Lords, I feel to-night like one of those passengers, as I have so often been, standing in one of those quaintly named places—an airport transit lounge. Then the voice of a lady comes over the loudspeaker and says, "This is the final call for the aeroplane leaving for Europe". One is so glad to hear the final call that one gets up and leaves whatever one is currently doing (in my case it is usually 566 a rather agreeable occupation, but noble Lords have their own) and one proceeds to gate No.26. My Lords, this, I believe, is the final call to Europe. I should like, if I may, 'to pay tribute to a whole lot of people who have kept alive the will to stay in the transit lounge while the aeroplane was, unhappily, grounded for twenty years, but perhaps I may use the name of one man whose Herculean efforts really represent the desire of the rest of us. I should like to mention Jean Monnet, who on Thursday night (when, as I believe, the Motions are carried both here and in another place) will feel, I trust, that much that he put into this as, I think, the last survivor of the original visionaries will have been worth while. For myself, I have no doubts: I am glad to be among those who will be catching the plane.
My gladness is tinged with a certain amount of sadness and regret for the Labour Party of which the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, and I were embryonic members and for which we were very hard workers almost half a century ago. His wife was one of the first candidates I ever actually campaigned for in the very early 'thirties. I am sad for them now: sad that they will not be catching the plane with us. Let us recall—and do not let us be mealymouthed about it—that this is largely because of quite accidental change in the leadership of a few, large, component organisations that are forcing this decision upon those who now claim to run the Party to which I belong.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, would the noble Lord allow me to interrupt? First, the ancient Britons did not live in igloos; secondly, the noble Lord canvassed for me and not for my wife; and, thirdly, while on the subject of airport lounges, we have been catching planes all over the world. It is not just a European plane that we want to catch.
§ LORD GEORGE-BROWN
My Lords, I have heard that speech before. It does not change my own view. However, the Labour Party will not be aboard the plane. I am sad; my noble friend is happy. Perhaps that is the measure of the difference between us.
I was merely pointing out that but for an accidental change in the leadership of a few large, component organisations, the decisions of the National Executive, of 567 the National Conference, and of the Shadow Cabinet might well have been—in fact, almost certainly would have been—totally different. All of this flows from one change in one place by three or four men—and do not let any of us who have worked all our lives to create this movement be ashamed and afraid to say so! We are Social Democrats. Despite all the pleas, virtually unanimous, of friends, of allies and of colleagues in Europe, the Labour Party nevertheless formally and officially insists on segregation and isolation at this moment.
I know this Party as well as most. This mood will not last long. It will change. Something will change it. Either it will well up from below or there will be changes at the top. This mood is not natural; this mood is not real. This mood cannot live with the philosophy of a Social Democratic Labour Party and a free trade union movement. So I hope that my noble friends sitting in the Shadow Cabinet will convey to their colleagues (my relations with them nowadays being a little less close than hitherto) my intense hope that they will not in a final frenzy of self-inflicted frustration give unnecessary and soon-to-be-regretted-and-redeemed hostages to fortune and pledges. I hope that they will not seek in the year ahead to complicate and even damage Britain's best interests by raising doubts in the minds of those whose partnership and understanding we shall now need. The Labour Party may choose—or at least those who speak for it currently may choose—to leave the making of history to others. I can only say that I trust it will refrain from muddying the water.
If we are now ending one journey, we are surely beginning a longer and even more challenging one—which is why I was in the transit lounge and not the original entry. We have to make ourselves strong enough to stand this journey. The noble Lord who is to follow me will no doubt be talking to us a good deal about this and I look forward to it. Motor cars (now, I think, called trucks), textiles, engines, all our vast export potential, will not be sold in greater numbers just because we join the E.E.C. Joining might help us; but they will not be sold just because of it. Nor will our share of our own in- 568 ternal market be sustained just for that reason. When the vote has been taken on Thursday and the die is cast, we shall then need a new national mood—especially, may I say, in industry—so that we can capitalise on the possibilities so soon to be available to us.
This new mood must show itself in our attitude to industrial agreements—our willingness to make them we have always had—and in our willingness to keep them and not to seek to change them too soon. It must show itself in our attitude to new methods in industry. It is not just the attitude of the hourly worker or the weekly worker or the monthly salaried young executive; it is that of everybody in industry. There are new ways of running it as well as new ways of producing. We must have a new mood. All of us earning our living are in some way or another connected with industry, and we know how desperately we need understanding to get across a new method which will change our attitude to effective consultation—and may I underline "effective consultation"—so that the people being consulted feel that they are participating in the process that leads to making a decision and are not being told, "These are the consequences. Get on and see how you work them out! "We need new attitudes to the relationship of rewards to efforts and of costs to prices. Above all, this new mood must lead us to a genuine and constant concentration on quality performance by management and the whole work force alike.
Our friends on the Continent, soon to be our partners—they are already our allies—in this endeavour do not work harder than us, do not work longer than we do; but they do work more consistently when they are there, and there is greater concentration on the quality of performance at every level. Whether it be putting in a screw or watching a loom or in a control hut in a modern factory with nothing but a variety of buttons to watch, or whether you are a manager (with all the excitement that comes from that) what is needed is concentration on the quality of the performance while you are there. This is the new mood we want now that we are going in. These are now inescapable requirements, and those of us who will be on the plane know it as well as those who 569 will be waving us Ta, ta ", and hoping to catch an Islander, or a Trilander, to meet us at the next point of call. Without this move, the times we live in, the struggle for rising standards of living and for full employment, which are great anyway, will be greater and not less.
But, my Lords, unlike my noble friend, I am not put off because the challenge is greater. I was not brought on to this earth to avoid challenges; I was brought here to meet them—and the greater the challenge the greater the effort I must make. I do not go back into my igloo or cave. I recognise the great expertise of my noble friend on where the ancient Britons actually lived; but I do not go back to it, anyway. I believe that with a recognition and an acceptance of this need by industrial leadership, both managerial and trade union—this is what I commend to my noble friend—the possibilities, surely, should excite us more than the risks. The possibilities that are opened up to us are literally enormous. We may not get them all. But, goodness, gracious me! it is better to go for the highest apple on the tree. It will be the sweetest if you get it; and the one you actually get will be a jolly sight sweeter than the apple near the ground, which is likely to be mouldy anyway because it is so near the ground.
It is worth remembering, my Lords, that the present jobless total so much in the minds of all of us is not only (although obviously in part it is) a memorial to what is called Tory incompetence, Tory heartlessness, Tory wrongheaded action. I repeat, in part it is, but not wholly. We on these Benches delude ourselves if we think that. As my noble friend who is to follow me will, I am sure, confirm, if he wishes, it is also to some quite large extent an endemic consequence of present technological advance. The machines we are now using do not require that number of human bodies. I tell you from my own personal experience that we could have a very large economic advance as a result of the Government changing its past policies and employ hardly another pair of hands. We should just take up the slack in the machines that are currently being under-employed and under-used.
We cannot for long solve this question by over-manning; that must be self-defeating, not only in the long-run but 570 in the very short-run. A larger domestic market which demands a large output of goods before we start exporting in the real sense of that term is surely an essential element in an acceptable solution, in human terms and economic logic, of this problem. We need more machines at work if we are to get more pairs of hands at work. Every exporter, in this House or outside, knows that what the Americans have over us is that they can write off their R. and D. in their domestic market before they start exporting. My noble friend, who was an aviation Minister, knows jolly well that that is exactly what we cannot do. That is what has written off so many wonderful projects and so many brave and good companies in this country. We need a bigger domestic market. For the life of me, and with all the charity with which the House knows I am filled, I cannot understand the obscurantist position of the trade union leadership of to-day to joining, forming, moulding just such a much-needed larger domestic community. If any economist, or would-be economist, or part-time economist or W.E.A. economist understands, this is the larger domestic market that we could have.
If we cannot win in it there is something the matter with us. Let us find out what is the matter with us. We certainly cannot win without it, and maybe we shall never find out what is the matter with us. But since these trade union leaders are not fools—and that is understating the case—I find myself driven to look for other motives. But, I ask myself, what other motive can justify these men in leading their members away from their own essential interests, as well as from the basic international beliefs that animate our Party and the trade union movement which is a member of every international trading organisation in the world? My Lords, it confounds me; it beats me. I should like to know why.
I am trying to make a brief intervention and therefore I am deliberately omitting previous arguments. Lastly, there is the political goal at the end of this new journey we are undertaking. Here I think we can surely see the modern fulfilment in relevant terms of a rather special British role which we have fulfilled over the centuries. Shorthanding it, from within a wider Europe we can really play a leading and essential part 571 in cementing the still uncertain stability of post-war Western Europe. I underline "still uncertain". But the importance of us doing this cannot be underestimated. The hesitations and the long-held fears of many who have to live on the Continent and have not even got the protection of a "ditch", meaningless as that may now be in some terms—having not even the illusion of a ditch round them—all make our formal and full presence on the Continent, and no longer as just an offshore observer, an imperative for ourselves and for our neighbours.
By helping to achieve this cementing of stability, as I believe we would, and by still physically being there and not being in a rather superior and slightly snooty way, across the "ditch" (I have thought very much about whether I should say this sentence, in case people might say it is claiming too much. However, here goes) I believe we can probably do more than any one nation in the West to further active physical détente and the dismantling, on mutual and acceptable terms, of the opposing military establishments on the Continent of Europe. We are a guarantee for so many. We are an answer to so many hesitations and fears, however illogical, however unreal. We probably can do it better than anybody else could do it.
My Lords, we, I believe, are essential to the balance in Western Europe. We, I believe, are essential for a common defence policy, a common defence strategy for Western Europe. My noble friend, who worked so closely and so hard with me when he was responsible for that side of our affairs, knows how important that is for us, if we are to develop that. We are surely essential. if the risks involved in the kind of political changes that a genuine and sufficiently sweeping detente would require are to he accepted by many of those most closely involved on both sides of what we call the Iron Curtain. I think that we can see a real chance to help fashion a European politique, which the emerging world (which moves my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder so much) and the power blocs either already recognise or must be brought to recognise is as essential now as in the numberless critical periods in past history, when the British contribution has so often been the major and decisive 572 one. This Continent of ours, fragmented. hurts own peoples, belies its historical. cultural, economic and political great past and denies much-needed help, which united it could get, to hundreds of millions desperately needing it. But I believe that, integrated and united, all this becomes a practical possibility for Europe and for the world. That is why. basically, we here, who cannot be threatened and pressurised, and other braver men in another place, who can be. nevertheless will proudly join with many noble Members of this House, from whom we differ so much on so much else, on Thursday to make this new journey a reality. We have already waited too long. We have already wasted too many opportunities and too much substance. Let us go!
§ 5.3 p.m.
§ LORD STOKES
My Lords, may I add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman. on his excellent maiden speech. In an earlier debate in your Lordships' House I attempted to explain why I welcomed our proposed entry into the European Economic Community and I tried to illustrate this with a positive, factual approach by illustrating the attitude of the British motor industry, in which I am particularly interested and to which the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, has referred in some detail. I shall endeavour to reply to his remarks. May I say how glad I am, that the noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, is going to catch the 'plane. I only hope that he will not miss the British bus, which I am confident is waiting for him on the other side.
There has been much debate here and in other places which gives me the impression that far too many people are being influenced by emotional opinions rather than by the hard facts of life in the decision which we have to face in the next three days. Your Lordships will forgive me if I again quote the British motor industry, but in doing so I have the advantage of speaking about something of which I have a little knowledge and about an industry which is to-day Britain's largest exporter. My own company's contribution to the balance of payments alone is currently running at a rate of over £ 400 million per annum in direct exports, excluding, any added value we get overseas.
573 May I emphasise at the outset that I am under no illusion whatsoever that going into the Common Market will be a solution or panacea for many of the problems in this country. The many industrial and other problems we have in Great Britain have still to be solved, but they will be more readily solved if we have access to an enlarged home market similar to that enjoyed by our principal European competitors. Having access, however, is no guarantee that we shall automatically gain the benefits, or that we can overlook the increased competition that will arise in the United Kingdom. I believe, however, that this nation can rise to the competitive occasion. I believe that this country could do with a few more optimists, and I make no apology for being one myself; but 1 am glad to assure the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, that my optimism at least is founded on facts. Already, since I last spoke, the position has shown some improvement in regard to imports of foreign cars, to which the noble Lord referred. These dropped in the British market in September by almost 5 percentage points because we had the availability to supply from our own factories for once, because we have a little industrial peace. In the last twelve months my own company, Leylands, have increased their exports to the Common Market by about 28 per cent. over what they were twelve months ago. I think that this illustrates that, all things being equal and provided it gets a fair run on the industrial relations side, this country's industry can hold its own against our proposed European partners.
I would suggest, however, that we must on no account forget the very real disadvantageous effects of the Common Agricultural Policy to this country and that to balance them we must maintain a competitive exchange rate. This has a particular bearing on the Chancellor of the Exchequer's current monetary negotiations. We must avoid at all costs any revaluation of sterling, which exporting industry at the moment can ill afford. These factors, of competitive ability and the need for the economy of scale associated with market size, are essentially strategic considerations which I think are foremost in the minds of most industrialists. We must, however, recognise the genuine doubts of many of our fellow countrymen, including some of our own 574 employees, who are still not yet convinced of the advantages of joining. They fear—and it is an understandable fear—that their standard of living will fall if we join, and particularly that their security of employment will suffer. If their apprehensions are correct, British membership would be a disaster for the country and we should be quite wrong to support it, even though our companies might benefit financially. Personally, I do not believe that the people of this country will suffer in this way. I believe that in respect of our employment and of our standard of living we shall all be the better off if we join Europe.
I say this because, from the industrial point of view, entering the Common Market is a good bargain. It is a better bargain than setting up EFTA, where we gave up our relatively large and heavily protected markets, one half of the whole of EFTA, for access to a number of smaller, less heavily protected markets. Entering the Common Market, by contrast. gives us tariff free access to one of the largest and wealthiest markets in the world and, perhaps more importantly, we gain access to one of the fastest growing industrial markets—unlike our own home market. The figures for the motor industry speak for themselves. While in Britain between 1964 and 1970 there was a reduction of 6.5 per cent. in domestic vehicle registrations, the comparable figure for the Common Market countries was an increase of 51 per cent.
I should therefore like to say from a positive point of view how I think E.E.C. membership will affect employment. prices and real wages, particularly in so far as my own sector of the industry is concerned, though I believe it is also relevant to the whole, or at least to a greater part, of British industry. Taking employment first, I know that many people are rightly worried that with E.E.C. membership British firms will invest on the Continent at the expense of Great Britain, with a consequent decline in employment prospects in this country. This is all particularly understandable within the context of nearly 1 million unemployed at the moment. While this may possibly happen in the case of one or two multi-national companies, I certainly do not believe that it will be the general position, particularly so far as 575 British-owned companies are concerned. It is worth recalling that one of the aims we had in mind when we formed the British Leyland Company was to retain under British control decisions affecting so large a segment of our economy and so many individual livelihoods. In the past we have established factories on the Continent for the simple reason that we were not in the E.E.C. This was done to avoid tariff barriers. In some respects it is an expensive way of doing things, and once we are in the E.E.C. the tariffs that have necessitated the investment will no longer apply. For this reason, and for the reasons of the market size and the rate of industrial growth in the E.E.C., British membership will stimulate investment in the United Kingdom and employment in this country should be more secure.
If, however, Britain does not enter the E.E.C., the situation will be very different. We have to remember that the Common Market is increasingly becoming the main, permanent, viable, large-scale export market for United Kingdom manufactured goods. We are already being shut out from the Commonwealth, who are developing their own industries, with highly exclusive or highly protective tariffs. And this also applies, I am afraid, even to New Zealand, where we still enjoy markets, for which we are most grateful. But they are still making us set up more and more productive facilities which will be, and can only be, at the expense of employment in this country. President Nixon's measures in the United States demonstrate the uncertainty of the North American market. South America, with its LAFTA agreements, is becoming a closed shop.
If, therefore, we are excluded from the E.E.C., we shall have no choice but to divert much of our future investment to the Continent by increasing our assembly and manufacturing facilities there in order to get inside the tariff wall and be able to compete on an equal footing with those manufacturers already established there. It has been mentioned that under the Kennedy Round these tariff walls will come down; but who knows how certain, or for how long, this will be? Once we are a member of the Community we are part of the organisation itself and we ourselves can help to make the 576 rules. Of course, if we do not go into the Common Market and we have to set up factories over there, our volume in the United Kingdom will drop; and taking account of the economics of scale in production our position in what is left of the Free World to trade in will become less competitive. This, I think, illustrates practically and effectively why I feel that the employment situation will be better in this country as a whole if we join the Market.
I should like to take up your Lordships' time with one further point. Firms invest for two broad reasons. The first is to improve productivity or replace worn-out equipment. This does not raise the level of employment, and can in fact reduce it, because of the greater efficiency of modern plant and techniques. The second broad reason why we invest is to increase production in response to a rise in demand. As the noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, said earlier, this can, and very often does, raise the level of employment, as was experienced in Germany, where there is a severe labour shortage at the moment. If we are going to advance economically, we must encourage the circumstances which lead to the second case; namely, increased production.
But, as we have seen in the last two or three years, over here firms only invest if they can see the opportunity for expansion; and our trouble for many years has been a shortage of this kind of opportunity. This, I believe, is the most important thing about E.E.C. entry, as it gives the United Kingdom, for the first time, the possibility of a sustained stimulus to industrial investment because of the opportunity of a greater and more permanent total domestic market. In my own company, for instance, assuming that we are going to join the Common Market, we are setting our target at doubling our sales in Continental Europe by the mid-1970's. We believe that, given reasonable conditions in this country, this is a realistic estimate of our potential. We believe that we can do it from a United Kingdom based manufacturing unit, with all the advantages, so far as labour and other services are concerned, accruing to this country.
My Lords, I have spoken perhaps too long, but I believe that this is an historic decision and that it is wrong for people 577 with industrial responsibility not to express forcefully their views and be prepared to stand by them in the years to come. I am very aware that the old age pensioners and others on fixed incomes are fearful of the impact of entry on the cost of living. Living standards can only be maintained and improved if British industry is up to the job of increasing the national wealth. This is the responsibility that we must discharge to the people of this country As I said earlier, I believe that we can do this and we should accept the challenge of joining Europe. I believe that we should seize the opportunities offered of increasing employment, raising our standards of living and increasing the contribution that this country can make to the world. But let us not forget, my Lords, that in accepting this challenge we still, as an individual nation, have to put our house in order and shake ourselves free from any of the old, inhibiting customs and practices of the industrial past.
§ 5.16 p.m.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
My Lords, my task in following the noble Lord, Lord Stokes, cannot be an easy one. He is an industrialist with a vast experience that I could not begin to claim. Nor is my task the easier because my noble friend Lord George-Brown has spoken. I take note of the fact that a number of people who have already spoken do not wait for the last call as the plane is about to take off, but just disappear from the transit lounge, and one knows not where they have gone. I have a feeling that, so far as some of them are concerned, there is a grave risk of their being on the wrong plane when they eventually get aboard.
While the noble Lord, Lord Stokes, was speaking, so calmly, clearly and without emotion, I was struck by the fact that he took time to show understanding of the fears of unemployment and poverty in old age. Quite frankly, I did not get anything of the same reaction when my noble friend Lord George-Brown was speaking. I, too, have been a member of the Labour Party all my life—a very humble member—and I have not enjoyed many of the advantages that my noble friend has. I trust that he has enjoyed the delight he has given those who have good reason to hope that many members of my Party will support the Government. 578 not so much in this House—it does not matter here—but in another place, because the Government so desperately need help from our side if they are to get this business through the House of Commons.
Recognising that my experience matches neither that of the noble Lord, Lord Stokes, nor that of my noble friend Lord George-Brown, I will attempt to put before your Lordships something of this issue as I see it. I have not previously spoken on this matter, either in this House or outside on any platform. I do so this afternoon only because I am deeply impressed by the lack of public enthusiasm. Since this has been, and is, a matter of vital national concern, and since there has been in much of the public controversy and debate so much talk of principle and conscience, I believe that before this Parliament commits this country to a course which so sadly lacks public support we would do well in this House to consider most carefully what our role should be.
I have referred to lack of public support, and nobody in this House has dared to claim that there is overwhelming pub-lie support for entry into the European Common Market. There has been mammoth expenditure on publicity in recent months in favour of joining the Common Market and mammoth distribution of literature through sources not usually available to political Parties. This mammoth expenditure, this mammoth publicity, has all resulted in the minimal effect on public opinion; and far from massive public enthusiasm in favour of joining the Market, there seems to be a marked inertia. With my noble friend Lord Beswick, far from objecting in principle to any move which involves close co-operation with other people, I would regard myself as committed to the concept of World Government; but the European Economic Community gives the impression to so many of us of being much too inward-looking, and I find that the known terms for entry and the present uncertainties are a cause of great concern.
Some play has been made—and my noble friend Lord George-Brown also attempted it—on the gloom that it was said Lord Beswick displayed. Gloom? My noble friend has faith in the future of the British people as a people. If 579 anybody is responsible for gloom it is the prophets of doom who tell us that we have no future if we do not go in this time on these terms.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
I hope they will appreciate that it is they who see doom for the future of this country, and that far from our being tilled with gloom we are filled with concern that this country should continue to believe in its ability to produce leadership and people who can earn their livelihood in this world.
Having listened to other debates and having read what I have been able to read on this matter, it is quite clear that the cost of entry can be quantified—although so far as the actual cost is concerned it depends on who is doing the quantifying. But it is equally clear that if we can quantify the cost of entry we cannot with any certainty at all quantify the gains or losses of entry. So then it appears—and I think this came quite clearly through what the noble Lord, Lord Stokes, said—that entry at this stage is largely advocated as an act of faith. Now if this country is going to do something as an act of faith, if it is going to make a decision of vital historic purpose as an act of faith, then surely we ought to know that a clear majority of the British people are prepared to show at least some sign of enthusiasm for going in.
My noble friend Lord Beswick went into such facts and figures as we have available as to the amount of public support, and of course this information is dismissed by people such as the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, who has not waited for the final call. He has gone off on some mission unknown to us. The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, suggests, together with a number of Members of your Lordships' House, that there is a majority of intelligent opinion in favour of going in. How do you measure intelligence? The noble Lord, Lord Stokes, has demonstrated that he can manage a good business. but that does not necessarily mean that he is more intelligent than someone who has not spoken on this issue. Everybody in this House knows that we have experts here on this or that subject, but nobody would 580 claim to be an expert on everything. It is for the British people to determine whether or not they want to go into the Common Market. since the issue is one of such vital and historic concern.
It is said that Members of Parliament who sit either in this place or in another place sit as delegates. So far as Members of the other place are concerned, at least they are answerable to the electorate. We in this House are not so inhibited, and it seems to me that there is therefore all the greater need for us to be cautious in what we do. Not being answerable to the electorate, it will be claimed that at least we are answerable and responsible to our own consciences. My conscience dictates to me that no mandate has 'been given, or even sought, for entry into the European Economic Community on the terms now available. Again, I was interested in what the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn—at present an absentee—had to say about this issue: that if the issue is taken now, in five years' time it will be forgotten. That, coming from a great Liberal, speaking for a Party which supposedly is concerned with the interests of the people—" Let us decide the issue now, and let enough time go by and they will have forgotten that we did anything about it. "I think there is a great deal to be said for answering to conscience, but there is even more to be said for answering to the electorate.
I am gravely disturbed at the effect of entry on those of our fellows who will be hardest hit by rising prices. I am disturbed by how many of them have been hit and hit hard already by this Government—a Government stigmatised for its meanness in regard to school milk, school meals, prescription charges. dental and optical charges, a Welfare State reduced to a means-tested society, with people seemingly so ashamed of poverty that they fail to claim so-called selective benefits. It is members of this Government with whom my noble friend Lord George-Brown will gladly go into the Lobby to-morrow night. Nor is that all. Rents of small properties are to rise, some of them astronomically; and we shall all too soon have council house tenants in this country subsidising private landlords. The elderly have been savagely squeezed by rising prices, and joining the European Community will cause further increases.
581 Reference has been made by two previous speakers, one of whom was the noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury, to the intent to review benefits every two years. When we reflect how the latest addition of £ 1 to the old age pension was largely eroded before it was paid and that it will be completely eroded by Christmas, the promise of a two-yearly review would be laughable if it were not so indecent. I find this soulless offer to the aged, the £ 1 increase in retirement benefit which has recently been given, indecent, in the light of the preceding erosion.
My Lords, I find impressive—and some mention has already been made of it in your Lordships' House—the case presented by the T.U.C. As they see it, from the end of the transitional period Britain will be contributing some 25 per cent, of the Community budget and getting only 6 per cent. in return—an outcome wholly inequitable and constituting a central failure of the negotiations. A second problem is a balance-of-payments cost amounting to at least £500 million a year—a figure which I think I am right in saying has not been challenged. It is the view of the T.U.C., as I understand it, that a balance-of-payments burden of this order can only mean continued economic stagnation in Britain, thus driving industrial development to the Continent.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lards, if the noble Lord will forgive me, he said that the figure of £ 500 million has not been challenged. It will be in the recollection of the House that it was challenged from the Government Bench in another place only yesterday.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
My Lords, I take note of what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor says. I venture to say that he will find it rather difficult to persuade the Trades Union Congress that they are in error. In view of a number of things that have been said, and reassurances given on this issue, many people will he entitled to doubt the reassurance that is given from Government sources.
I was saying that it is the view of the T.U.C. that a balance of payments burden of this order can only mean con- 582 tinued economic stagnation in Britain, thus driving industrial development to the Continent. They fear heavier unemployment in such areas as Scotland and the North-East. They further take the view that our negotiators have accepted that Britain shall move over to a dear food policy, relying on import levies and distorting the pattern of world agricultural trade. The domestic effect of large increases in food prices, they have no doubt, will be severe hardship for the low paid and retirement pensioners who spend a large proportion of their income on food. It would be preferable if this House treated this issue at this time as though we were having a Second Reading debate, and refrained from voting, but should this not happen in any marked degree I shall—and shall do so proudly—go into the Lobby with my noble friend Lord Beswick against this Government and against the Motion on the Order Paper.
§ 5.32 p.m.
VISCOUNT DE LISLE
My Lords, in this debate the best service that any Member of your Lordships' House can render is to be concise. My excuse for intervening in the debate is that I have not done so in any of the previous debates on the Common Market. It is legitimate to regret that we were not founder members of the European Economic Community. But if, as I hope, we do now join, as I believe we shall, it will be seen in retrospect that the long ten-year debate which we have had on this issue was a necessary prelude to our joining. But I concede now that we have no room to hesitate any longer. The past decade has justified both the hopes and the fears of those who were the first eager proponents of our becoming members of the E.E.C.
I cannot claim the same farsightedness for myself. I shared with the majority of my fellow citizens a marked reluctance to swallow unpalatable facts. I hoped that, somehow, the sterling area, based mainly on the Commonwealth, might be able to reach an accommodation with the dollar area, based on North America. I hoped, moreover, that from this an enlarged low tariff system might develop, founded mainly upon what, for want of a better term, we may call the English speaking peoples organised into 583 a loose but cohesive trading area. Perhaps as well I hoped, as did many others, that the Common Market would not really work, so that we should never, after all, have to "bite the bullet". It is easy now to see, as I see, that the British preference for allowing events to unfold in a painless manner might (shades of the late Mr. Dean Acheson) discover for us a new role when we had lost an Empire. I see now that that is a preference exercisable only by Powers strong enough to influence events in their own favour.
With illusions gone, and, I hope, reeducated by history, I am now convinced that we should be mad not to seize the opportunity so skilfully negotiated for us. But I have to recognise—and we have heard it stated to-day—that there are great numbers of our fellow citizens who have not yet reached the same conclusion. I confess that this makes me sad, for I believe that the anti-Marketeers—whose sincerity I do not doubt—are intellectually and practically facing a crumbling situation. The facts as they have emerged over the years, and as they have been clearly stated in to-day's debate by several noble Lords learned in these matters, contradict their arguments, however skilfully deployed. But if the anti-Marketeers are short on fact, they are certainly long on sentiment or, as the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, has called it, "gut reaction". Their trumpets may sound a rather quavery note, but undoubtedly they can summon from their separate encampments the enthusiasts for our Imperial past, some suspicious agriculturists, cheap food advocates, the little Englanders who are always with us, the solemn advocates of an uncompromised sovereignty, and not least vociferous is the whole gamut of Left-Wing opinion which now looks northward to Stockholm where the ark of the Socialist covenant rests for the time being under the long shadow of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
But Oppositions do not have to resolve the contradictions among the various sections of their supporters, nor do they have to propose alternatives. All they need is enough ground to defeat the Government. It is my strong view that if this proposal is not carried to a successful conclusion, not merely shall 584 we be witnessing the defeat of a Government measure but Parliament will be leading a procession of the British people into a rough, steep-sided ravine, narrowing as it winds downward, a ravine so long and so precipitous that neither this generation nor the next is likely to emerge.
§ 5.39 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF LONDON
My Lords, it must be with some trepidation that, in the concluding and decisive stage of a debate which has been going on for at least ten years, anybody should dare to seek to add arguments because all of them must have been used before. It has been suggested that one's greatest contribution is brevity. There is one point in particular that I want to make to your Lordships. It is right that political and economic considerations should be very much in our minds, but we must not forget that when every calculable aspect has been weighed with all the skill and knowledge that we can command, entry into the European Economic Community must in the end be something of an act of faith, for we cannot possibly foresee all the consequences of our decision. What we should be looking for is not an assured future where assurance is humanly impossible, but a future which may offer great opportunities if we can learn to use them rightly.
Four years ago the International Department of the British Council of Churches produced a Report which was well received in all the Churches in which it stated that British membership of the Community was to be welcomed as an opportunity to work for the achievement of three ends which it found within the Community: the reconciliation of European enmities; the responsible stewardship of European resources, and the enrichment of Europe's contribution to the rest of mankind. Those ends have still to be worked for with an energy which is commensurate both with the greatness of the opportunity and with the inevitable difficulties and tensions. For we are not invited to join the European Community in order to board a kind of sanctified bandwagon bound non-stop for the New Jerusalem, whether we move from the transit camp or the transit lounge. M. Max Kohnstamm, a member of the staff of the European Commission, not long 585 since wrote what I believe is an important aspect of what I have just said.The importance "—he wrote—of what is going on in Europe today … is not the creation of a new kind of great power. Rather it is the practical application of a method, a process of bringing peoples and nations together so that they can adapt themselves jointly and peacefully to constantly changing conditions. The value of the Community process lies in its capacity to reach beyond those who participated initially, to leach beyond its first results.I believe that that is a vital consideration not to be lost sight of. The opportunities do not need spelling out; they are obvious to all of us. They are all concerned with the wellbeing of men and women, which must be the ultimate concern of us all.
If I may quote again, this time from the Declaration of the Commission of the European Community, on July 1,1968, I found these words:Europe is not just a matter of Customs tariffs. Europe is more than the Europe of the industrialists, of the peasant or of the technocrats. It is also more than a mere foundation of 180 million Europeans in a community. It is not merely the Europe of Governments, of Parliaments and of administrations. It must also be the Europe of the people—of men. In that respect the essential work remains yet to be done.In the three years which have passed since that Declaration was published, those sometimes dismissed by the term "Eurocrats", the rather maligned staff of the Commission, have shown themselves, in the words of an unprejudiced observer, to be in the forefront of thinking and caring about the quality of life for every member of the Community.
Sixteen years ago, as Bishop of Fulham I was responsible for the pastoral care of the Anglican Churches in Europe, and for the past ten years those Churches have been in my jurisdiction as they have been in the jurisdiction of every Bishop of London since the reign of Charles I. I have had the privilege of visiting most of the 164 congregations of British people in Europe and getting to know most of their members, and of talking at length with the 78 clergy who serve them. Some of these British communities are very small, some are large, but I found in all of them a very close relationship with the nationals of the 586 countries in which they are set, and the friendship they had with the people and the Churches of these countries. They have all told me, and tell me still, what I have experienced myself: that at the level of the people with whom they associate there is a keen desire that what has proved practicable, be it in Antwerp or Rotterdam or Vienna, what has proved possible there, should be expressed within the European Community. In so far as we have been able in Europe, in the jurisdiction and in the diocese of Gibraltar, to create a kind of "ecclesiastical Common Market", although the parallel is not of course precise, we have at least learnt that it can work.
In the long view, I believe that the significance of the European Community is to be seen at least as much in the spiritual realm as in the material, and the Churches themselves together have begun to realise this by setting up an Ecumenical Centre in Brussels working closely with the Roman Catholic Information Centre on European Problems, also in Brussels, and by the Pope's appointment of a Nuncio to the European Community. This we know is only the beginning.
We have been reminded this evening many times that the choice is now before us, the choice whether we as a nation are going to take our share in the great opportunities which are opening up within the Community for a fuller life for all the peoples, opportunities which we cannot hope to influence if we stand only on the touchline and occasionally criticise the referee. We are not to minimise the difficulties, nor indeed the risk of failure. We are not to ignore the price which we as a nation have to pay for sharing in the building up of a new Europe. But I believe that we cannot stay as we are. The disunity which has come so close to ruining us must be replaced in States and in Churches by something based upon a common ideal still to be worked out, still to he put into practice, so that we can be working with the other nations for a new and better Europe of like-minded nations sharing a common culture, working together in closer collaboration, discarding destructive rivalries, to be an example to the world that the Brotherhood of Man is not just a pipe-dream but a reality; and 587 in that sense, I back entry into the Community.
§ 5.47 p.m.
THE EARL OF BUCKINGHANISMRE
My Lords, the way in which Rome fell, although in all conscience foul enough, might, I would have thought, be preferable to the death of Britain as the end product of perhaps the slickest and most gigantic public relations job that this country has ever experienced. There was no blueprint drawn up for the destruction of Rome; but for the destruction of this country, through adherence to the Common Market, large sums of public money have been used to publish a Government White Paper which, so far from being a statement of facts, reads to me like a fraudulent prospectus offering our British people shares in a millenium shining beyond the boundaries of the most ecstatic, drug-induced vision.
The real measure of our Prime Minister's obsession in joining Europe is his argument that, because of the enormous importance of the decision that has to be taken, it would not be reasonable for the Government to allow a free vote in the House of Commons. Those Conservative Yes-men and women, who heard him make this statement in the Central Hall, Westminster, greeted it with tumultuous applause. If ever there was a vital issue demanding non-intervention of the Party Whips it is surely the issue raised by adherence to the Treaty of Rome—a step which by curtailing national sovereignty from the outset, and eventually phasing it out to make way for an overriding European Authority, would not be so much to place our national future at risk as to ensure that there was no national future to be risked.
To bring pressure to bear on Members of Parliament demanding that they place Britain in such mortal peril is to my mind intolerable, an adventure in political immorality of the worst kind. if those who drew up or approved the White Paper had any political honour at all they would have ensured that it did not read like a rose-tinted travel brochure. They would have put down what they believe to be the "pros" on the one side and an objective statement of the "cons" on the other, thus giving the British public a chance of deciding on their destiny without the benefit of 588 tricksters breathing down their backs to falsify the facts and stampede them with high-powered propaganda into making an irrevocable act of national slaughter. As they have not done so, I will endeavour to act in their default.
First, while the problem of sovereign independence has already been discussed, I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government how they would answer President Pompidou's unequivocal assertion, that if Britain wished to enter the E.E.C. "she must make a complete break with her identity". Secondly, entering Continental Europe can only further the scheme of international industrial and commercial mergers as an essential feature of the drive towards ever expanding monopoly. The terms of life will be made increasingly difficult, and in the final phase impossible for the small man and the small company everywhere. Thirdly, what would be the difference between an economy dominated by giant monopolies and the Soviet economy? Is it not certain that the political implications would become the same for both?
My Lords, we must bear in mind, remember and take into account that while the Communist Party in Britain is small, the French and Italian Communist Parties are powerful. The free movement of labour across national frontiers must inevitably include the free movement of Communist agitators. Lastly, what was heralded as the great debate has proved to be a series of endless petty squabbles about possible economic advantages and disadvantages, in the course of which the Government's chief claim has escaped investigation. The claim as put forward in the White Paper reads:In the light of the experience of the Six themselves and their conviction that the creation of the Community materially contributed to their growth and of the essential similarity of our economies, the Government are confident that membership of the enlarged Community will lead to much improved efficiency and productivity in British industry, with a higher rate of investment and a faster growth of real wages.My Lords, to my mind, the "essential similarity of our economies" is, or surely should be. the crux of the argument. Great Britain is a heavily over-industrialised country, dependent for her 589 very life upon the importance of foodstuffs and raw materials. Sanity demands that she should co-operate ever more closely with complementary economies able to supply these needs, whereas the Imperial Preference system which guaranteed them is being thrown overboard in favour of the European tie-up. This is not only the gravest general disservice to Britain and her former overseas partners, but it must also, whatever the farming interests may assert, deal a deadly blow to British agriculture: for this reason, that the former system provided preferences to overseas producers but not the right of free entry. Thus, protection could be given to home producers, whereas after transitional periods have expired there will be no protection against the duty free entry of foreign produce, not only from the Common Market countries but also from Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain and Israel, with whom they have made preferential agreements. That Britain should also undertake to give preferences to those countries while denying them to Australia, Canada and South Africa, makes one sick. It has also to be remembered that France retains a large peasant economy against which, in free trade conditions, British farmers cannot hope to compete, even on the home market.
We have a very good commercial arrangement with our neighbours. Concorde and the Jaguar fighter are being built with France, as well as other planes with the Germans and Italians. We also have a joint nuclear power programme with the Dutch and the Germans, while Dunlop and Pirelli have joined up to establish a European counterpoise to the American tyre giants. We have close defence ties through NATO and the Western European Union. We could easily adjust tariffs with the Continentals in such a way that British industry is assured of a large home market. Why not let us enjoy the fruits of practical collaboration, while avoiding the disadvantages of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Brussels bureaucracy? Would it not be better to work in partnership with Europe rather than to abide by rules which were made to suit others? Our Prime Minister prides himself on being strong. I suggest that he should prove his strength by rejecting 590 doctrines which to my mind do not match British interests.
In conclusion, my Lords, our only hope lies in the full awakening of the British instinct for survival to the menace of what portends. To nurture the belief that British communities of nearly 100 million people, strategically placed around the world, and possessing everything needful for their sustenance, cannot shape for themselves a destiny far more splendid than any foreign association can offer, is to be guilty of wilful blindness and defeatism. My Lords, I shall vote in opposition to the Motion.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, I agree with all the arguments that have been used hitherto for joining the Common Market. I feel that the principal answer to the noble Earl who has just sat down is really to consider what happens if we now reject the terms which have been so carefully negotiated after ten years of effort by every Government that we have had in this country, representing all major political Parties. We really should fall hopelessly between two stools.
Our own industry, banking and commerce have been forming friendships on the Continent and investing money round the place on the assumption that we shall join. Our friends in EFTA would be totally dismayed, just as our own people would. After all, this is what EFTA was designed for: that we should ultimately be able to make an agreement with the Common Market and that most of us should become members of it. I think we should lose all credibility if we stood out. Our friends in the Commonwealth have done a great deal to adapt themselves to the situation which is now going to develop. They know our economy is too weak to propel the whole Commonwealth along; that has been obvious now for about ten years. Many of them have great hopes of the new outward-looking Europe, and indeed some members of the Commonwealth have joined the Common Market already. So I think it is time to recognise that we really could not set the clock back, and or that even if we did, we could not expect it to go on ticking in the old way. Probably we should go downhill and would have to accept a lower standard of living, with economic and political results which I leave to your 591 Lordships' imagination. Personally, I think the word "disaster" might not be misplaced.
My Lords, our balance of payments is all right now because our economy is so slack, but it is time to recognise that we have been a tremendous problem to our friends for a good many years. How can we leave our economy as it is now? There is no reason to think that we can make the: grade alone with a more active economy. We have tried Conservative measures, we have tried Labour measures. The noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, has tried a sort of National Plan which personally I had hoped at one time might make the difference. Every sort of thing has been tried; and what has happened? We have had to be bailed out, time after time, to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds by our friends. At last we have succeeded in hitching our under-powered vehicle to the rising star of Europe; and anybody who suggests that we should now cut the tow cable must be really crazy.
I am not very impressed with the arguments about butter and about fish, and not even with the arguments about prices. After all, prices depend upon how much money you have in order to pay for things, as we can see when we cross the sea to any European or North American country. Of course these questions are important. I would not in any circumstances deny their importance. They affect the lives of millions. But as former Chairman of the O.E.E.C., I know quite well that if you have a difficult problem and you get the experts concerned and shut them up together long enough, and if you do not give them silly instructions, they will almost always in the end come out with an acceptable solution. That is how we made EFTA, of which I claim to be one, at least, of the founding fathers; and in fact that is the way they made the Treaty of Rome; and, contrary to many prognostications, in both cases things have turned out pretty well.
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord for a moment? He cannot say that he is not concerned about fish. Does he think that the fish question will be satisfactorily solved, as I do?
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, I think the fish solution will probably be found to be quite satisfactory. I hope it will. But even if the fish solution was not satisfactory, I honestly do not think that the issue is such that it ought to decide the whole future of Europe, and certainly the whole future of this country. I do not deny its importance, and I know the importance that the noble Lord attaches to it.
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, I think that there are now very much bigger issues at stake in this question. Building the new Europe is among the greatest foreign policy issues of the present day. All through our history we have tried to prevent any one Power from controlling the shores opposite our own. We never felt safe when we were isolated as an offshore island, with the possible exception of some decades in the middle of the 19th century when we had total industrial preeminence and a two-power standard in our Fleet. But are we more, or less, liable to be subject to pressure to-day? Let us look back at this century; look back to 1903, when the German fleet appeared. Many people wondered why the Germans needed an enormous fleet. What happened? We had to make the entente cordiale with the French, and afterwards an understanding with the Russians. I do not need to remind your Lordships of the pressure that we suffered in 1915 and 1940. In 1947 our great Foreign Secretary, Mr. Bevin, was able to call in American help to make the Marshall Plan and afterwards NATO in order to buttress Europe against almost certain Communist domination. In 1956, on the other hand, we tried to "go it alone" with the French. What happened? It was a political disaster.
The same lessons apply in peace as in war. If we come on to the last decade, may I remind the opponents of the Common Market of the grave economic and financial crisis of 1961, which we survived; and the terrible crisis of 1964 which we only just survived; and the crisis of 1967, first in July and then in November, when we had to devalue; and of 1968, when we were actually reduced to giving a non-sterling guarantee to our numerous friends and creditors?
593 So how could we now "go it alone"? I honestly think that we must not delude ourselves in this matter. We cannot "go it alone". Anyone who thinks that on political, economic or strategic grounds we can now "go it alone" must be devoid of all sense of history and reality. We have to live in the world as it now is. It is a world of super Powers, armed with super weapons, much too expensive for any Power in Europe of the size of the European Powers to own in the requisite quantity to ensure their security.
I should like to know what is going to happen if the Americans get divided or if they go through a period of weakness, as we all do at some time; or if they get another distant involvement like Korea or Vietnam. What happens if the vast thunder cloud over the East of Europe starts to shift? I believe more than anyone in promoting good East/West relations—I have spent years of my life trying to do it—but the fundamental condition is that the Western Powers should remain strong; and unfortunately that is not the present state of affairs unless we have the support of America. just in order to add to the unpalatable facts which one has to consider to-day, I want to recall that at present the United States are overstraining their political will, overstraining their military strength and overstraining their balance of payments; and one of the many contributory reasons is that Europe is divided and, in its present state, cannot carry the share of the burden which it ought to carry, either as regards defence matters or overseas aid to the underdeveloped world.
To sum up, on every major foreign policy ground—political, economic and strategic—we must draw Europe closer together. It is essential for our friends, it is essential for the Commonwealth, it is esential for EFTA, it is essential for the United States of America, it is essential for our own political and economic security. I think it is essential also for the preservation of East-West relations and for the achievement of a real understanding between East and West, because as long as the Eastern Powers have any hope of dividing us and exploiting our differences they will never take seriously any understanding with us.
But how else can we draw our Continent together, except by joining the Common Market? I do not think we can. 594 At one time I hoped that we could do it through O.E.E.C. or O.E.C.D. I think the Common Market is a better way, and there is really no other way of doing it. I think that the proof of this is that the opponents of our joining the Common Market really have no alternative policy. I have yet to hear any intelligible policy from the speeches which we have heard in this House.
Perhaps that is hardly surprising, because what is there in common between Mr. Enoch Powell and the Right-Wing opponents on one side, and the Left Wing of the Labour Party or Mr. Hugh Scanlon and his comrades in the trade union movement on the other? Just one vast chasm. They really agree on nothing but opposition.
But to take the Right-Wing opposition first, what do they have to offer? They say that they do not want Britain to be mixed up too much with foreigners; or they say that England has survived for a thousand years and no doubt will survive another thousand. In terms of arithmetic and history, I really do not think that that argument stands up to examination. Personally I think it was overtaken long ago in this century by all the agreements we have had to make in order to maintain our position, even when we ruled seven or eight hundred million people in the world. So I say that it is time to move into the second half of the twentieth century and face the awful facts of real life, like the Soviet submarines swarming round our coasts in far greater numbers than the Germans ever had—for what ominous purposes I leave the isolationists to guess.
I am not greatly impressed, either, with the arguments about sovereignty. You have only to buy a ticket and go to Belgium or Holland or France or Germany: they do not seem to have suffered any diminution of sovereignty. They will assure you that they have not. Therefore I do not see why we need have so many fears on this subject. It seems to me that one can conjure up fears out of almost anywhere if one tries hard enough, but that is not a real one. I have to warn your Lordships against the people who talk about sovereignty. If they had their way, I am not quite sure that we would have any treaties of common interest at all. You may take NATO or GATT, or the O.E.C.D., or the 595 I.M.F.—they all involve some common sacrifice, but this is for the mutual benefit of all the members concerned. Are we better off with those treaties? Of course we are, my Lords. And better off I think we shall be in the Common Market also.
This brings me to the Left Wing of the Labour Party, who offer the other side of opposition, stalking up as I think sometimes, on the leadership of the Party. Of course the Communists and fellow travellers are against the Common Market. They say, "Workers of the world unite. "But when we want to unite the workers of Western Europe—oh no! we find that it is only to be done under the guidance of Moscow. So, if anybody prefers that, all he has to do is to go into the anti-Europe Lobby. "Oh well", someone may rightly say at this point," Are not you being a bit unfair to the leadership of the Labour Party? "I quite agree that they do not really want to have anything to do with the Communists. In the Diplomatic Service I have served many Labour leaders with loyalty and energy, and a great many times with real enthusiasm and affection; but I am very sorry that some of them have recently taken their cue from that eminent Gilbertian aristocrat, the noble Duke of Plazatoro:He led his Army from behind, he found it less exciting".As an experienced economic diplomat, I am honestly convinced that if the previous Government had negotiated the terms we now have, they would have been delighted to accept them and recommend them to the country at large.
The leaders, of course, have a difficult job with those in the trade union movement and in the Labour Party who are not interested in foreign policy questions; and the same goes for the Conservative Party, I think. Some of those people are ineradicably opposed to any change at all in any sphere. But those people really have nothing to offer. There is no forward course: "as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be". We do not expect this sort of line from the Labour Party; it is not even consistent with what they said a year ago. Speaking strictly from these Benches, I am sincerely sorry to see so many leading members of a great Party lose all credibility by falling into the snare of total 596 political inconsistency. It is the sort of politics that our countrymen do not usually go along with. All the more honour to those other very leading members of that Party who are going to stick to their convictions and principles and vote with us for Europe! I believe that they will be greatly respected both in the country and, in the end, in their own Party.
My Lords, to conclude by looking forward, rather than back, I think that joining the Common Market may probably not be very easy, but I do not think we should exaggerate the difficulties. When we made EFTA all sorts of people went around saying that this and that industry would be virtually destroyed; there would be terrible distortions of trade because goods would come in under one denomination of origin and go out under another. None of these difficulties mattered in practice; most of them did not occur. It was feared to be even worse with the Treaty of Rome; none of those difficulties occurred either. What happened? We were able, under EFTA, to reduce the internal duties years before the target date, and the Common Market were able to do the same.
So I say, raise our sights; do not imagine that the difficulties will be too great. Let us recognise that there will be some, and determine to overcome them. I do not believe that they will be so serious. I hope that we can now go forward, with the Europeans, to create a better and more secure world, and I hope that it will not be purely economic or materialistic. I should like to support what was said by the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of London. Let us together seek truth, mercy and justice, and ensure them. Let us build up the basic spiritual unity of our Continent; let us make sure that there is greater justice in social questions. The Europeans have ideas very similar to our own and they have a very high coefficient of genius, as we have. As the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman. said—and I congratulate him warmly on his maiden speech—I believe that we have very much to give and, incidentally, much to learn. Therefore I hope that together we shall build up this great enterprise. I do not think we should at this stage start to get fixed ideas about what the edifice is going to look like in ten years' time. I believe that speculation is futile. 597 I have in my lifetime seen unemployment and poverty and social disintegration in considerable parts of our country. and in countries abroad in Europe. I have seen two generations decimated by wars owing to European quarrels. It is time to make sure that none of this ever happens again, and I believe it would be criminal folly to miss the present opportunity.
I once asked that great European, M. Jean Monnet, what he thought of General de Gaulle's veto. "Oh", he said, "it is of no significance at all. If the Common Market is a success, the British will join; if it is not a success, it does not matter anyway. "My Lords, it is a success, and we shall join, and by a huge majority.
§ 6.17 p.m.
§ BARONESS EMMET OF AMBERLEY
My Lords, it is very difficult at this stage to think of anything new to say, and it was with some hesitation that I put my name down, lest I should weary your Lordships with clichés and platitudes. But in my very short intervention there is one thing I should like to say. I think that in arguing the very necessary and mundane matters we are in danger of losing sight of the wood for the trees. We have argued about butter and sugar and fish, and quite rightly so. We have considered sovereignty, Commonwealth preference and trade with other friendly countries, again quite rightly so. We have had misgivings of possible diminution of our sovereignty and laws, and changes in our institutions, and quite rightly so, too. But in doing all this I think we are at risk of forgetting the dreams and visions which were first inspired by that great statesman, Winston Churchill, in Zurich, of a new world in which we could play a leading part. It is such a vision that I should like to recall to your Lordships, and hope that we may highlight it to the nation from our House.
Twice in this century we have been forced into Europe to fight wars and to save our Western civilisation and our own future. On both occasions, thank God! we were victorious. But at what a price! This time when we go in, we go of our own free will into a company of friends, familiar through our history, whose strengths and weaknesses we know, just as they, too, know ours. This time we are, to quote a wellknown poem: " 598?The masters of our fate; The captains of our soul.We are at an historic threshold. History will take a new turn when we cross that threshold, and I for one am certain that the future is full of promise.
Of course there are misgivings; of course there are pitfalls, and of course there will be disagreements. Of course the Jeremiahs will say, "I told you so". This is only to be expected with such a big change. But when the world is in danger of annihilation by one false step, then I think it behoves the older nations to come closer together and to help maintain the precarious balance. Surely the prize of a united Europe is well worth winning? We surely do not want another bloody war with its million dead. We want to go in by peaceful means, and, with our experience and our know-how and our humanity, reconcile the differences. When we have crossed the threshold the opportunities are immense.
My Lords, I have no patience with our people who under-rate our country. I have lived in continental Europe and I know it intimately, and I know what continental Europe really thinks of Great Britain. We have far more influence than we realise; we are, and shall be, greatly respected—unless we "chicken out". No nation loves another, not for long at any rate; but individual friend. ships across frontiers count for a great deal. If we cross the threshold what are we afraid of? The noble Earl, Lord Buckinghamshire, was full of fears. I could not help feeling that they were based a great deal on fiction and not on an intimate knowledge of the Treaty of Rome. If there is for some time a force 8 gale, well, we have a jolly good skipper who will see us safely into port. And, looking at what we have gone through in our history why should we be afraid of a force 8 gale?
My Lords, there is a patriotic anthem which some of us, perhaps all of us, enjoy singing; but for the last few years, with the loss of Empire due to the progress of history and of Commonwealth ties for the same reason, the words have sometimes sounded perhaps a little hollow, perhaps a little pretentious. But I believe that once across this great historic threshold, the words,Wider still and wider, shall thy bounds be set599 will acquire a new meaning and a greater significance. Of course we shall be one amongst many. Of course we shall not dictate. But there is nothing to prevent us giving a lead. That is what is expected of us in Europe; that is why we are needed there at the present time. I believe in this country. I believe we have a great part to play. I believe it would be cowardly to stay out, and that when we go in we shall be able to sing Land of Hope and Glory with a new heart and a new sense of destiny.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ LORD CROOK
My Lords, like the noble Baroness who has just sat down I hesitated to put my name down to speak and have done so only for two reasons: first, in order that I should not be accused of failing to indicate that I stand up to be counted as one who will be voting for the Government's Motion. I do not need to make a speech on that subject in general because so much has been said on the economic and other aspects. But there is one aspect which has not been mentioned throughout this debate. I refer to the professional side and the risks that the professions run when we go into the Common Market. If your Lordships will bear with me for five minutes I will recall a little about the Health Service. I want to go back to its inception in 1948. From that date onwards opticians have been free to operate in this country in their profession and to take their proper part in providing general ophthalmic services, and to work in hospitals.
In 1948, the then Minister of Health appointed an inter-departmental committee, comprising representatives of the medical and ophthalmic professions. some members of another place and of this House and of educationalists, of which I was honoured to be the chairman. After some three years of taking evidence we were able to produce a unanimous Report which was the subject of a debate in your Lordships' House in 1953. Broadly, the new ideas proposed in the Report were that only those who were qualified by means of approved examinations should be able to take part in the profession. The jewellers' and the chemists' shops which carried signs saying that they could test eyes had to give up their activities in this sphere. Woolworths, who sold 600 spectacles to anybody who held up a card and looked at type and decided for himself what lens he wanted, had to stop carrying on this activity.
Reforms were approved by both Houses of Parliament, and in 1958 the Opticians Act was passed. As a result, a General Optical Council on the same lines as the General Medical Council was set up. For more than ten years, under the supervision, as all these Councils are, of the Privy Council, that Council has gone ahead and, in the interests of the people of this country, has seen that good qualifications exist, and to that over the last few years degree courses in universities have been added.
Suddenly, in the midst of all this is injected a series of directives in the European Market. Currently a Working Party of the Council of Ministers is expected to report to the Council towards the end of the year. Adoption of these draft directives would represent a major step forward in the professional development of opticians who now practice in the Six in Europe. but they would be totally unacceptable to anyone who has anything to do with the profession in this country—to ophthalmic opticians. to the medical profession and the General Optical Council. The professions see these draft directives as posing a serious threat to the high standards in this country. They believe that they represent a threat to the standards of care to which the public here have become accustomed over the past 40 years.
Without doubt the draft directives do propose requirements, standards and scope of practice for opticians in the other countries which are much in excess of the very poor standards there at the moment, but they fall far below the requirements placed on people in this country by the National Health Service Act 1946 and the Opticians Act 1958. Once the directives have been adopted they will be binding on all countries in the Common Market. Therefore, it would appear that unless the present draft is substantially changed those at present practising in the Six countries will be free to come to the United Kingdom and obtain registration by the General Optical Council and thus gain automatic inclusion in the Ophthalmic List of the Executive Councils of the Health Service.
601 I will not detain your Lordships by reciting from Articles 48,57 and 118, all of which I see as relevant clauses of the Treaty of Rome; nor do I want to recite at length all the directives as they stood at the beginning of September. I do not need to be long where the Government are concerned. This I know because over the past few months I have sent memorada to the noble Earl the Leader of the House, who has been most forthcoming in trying to see that the negotiating Minister has had regard to the kind of statement I would be making to-day. But how can the General Optical Council in this country maintain the present standards required of our own ophthalmic and dispensing opticians if they see coming in any optician who satisfies the minimum requirements laid down in the draft directives to which I have referred?
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
Will my noble friend allow me to interrupt? This, too, applies to the B.M.A. and standards in surgery and medicine as well.
§ LORD CROOK
My Lords, I did start by saying that I wanted to talk about professional standards. I am referring only to the one because it was my honour to be the chairman of the Committee of Inquiry at the request of the Government of the day, and to speak on the subject here and to help with the passage of the Bill through this House.
I know, as my noble friend says, that there are physiotherapists and people in other professions who are very worried about the future general standards. In my view, the contents of the four directives totally disregard the training, status, responsibilities and scope of practice at present current in this country. It may be that a fifth directive, or some other arrangement, will be necessary to cover the position, so as to enable the opticians covered by the first four directives to decide whether they would seek further training and pass examinations in order to become entitled to practise under the more advanced conditions of such a fifth directive. My worry is that the draft directives may be adopted in their present form, and then applied to the United Kingdom, so leading to this lowering of professional standards in general. This I think would be shocking.
I hope that the Council of Ministers, when they get the report from the Work- 602 ing Party, will reject the present draft directives in their entirety. If they do not, when we have got into Europe our own Government must do all in their power to ensure that the drafts are not adopted in their present form, are not adopted until they have been so amended that the British position is brought into focus. That is all I say to your Lordships. I propose to vote for the Motion, but I ask the Government to pay very great regard to the professional standards involved.
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ LORD SANDYS
My Lords, I fear that I cannot follow the noble Lord, Lord Crook, into the fascinating subject of ophthalmic surgery. I wish to take a different view of the Common Market negotiations, and deal specifically with the Parliamentary aspect, and the future and indeed the present of the European Parliament. I was a late arrival in the airport lounge to which reference has been made on several occasions earlier this afternoon. I was indeed fortunate in July of this year to be a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's delegation for the meeting at Strasbourg, which took place at the very moment when the Government had negotiated terms, and we were there on the very day that the White Paper was published. It so happens that the diplomatic messenger brought to Strasbourg the final revised copy of the White Paper and I have it beside me now. It was an eye opener. I have informed your Lordships that I was a late arrival at the airport lounge, and it is only within the last two years that I have reached a total conviction that the right course for this country is to go into Europe. Therefore, the visit to Strasbourg did a great deal to enlarge my knowledge, which was very slight, and to broaden my whole perspective, as one of the first of the post-war generations, regarding Europe. My first experience of Western Europe was to patrol the Elbe in an armoured car in 1950. The experience of a visit to Strasbourg was of an entirely different kind, because it so happens that we were acting as spectators at the Assembly and discussing and receiving the first declaration of the finality of the negotiations reached earlier that month.
I wish to draw your Lordships' attention to the interesting history of the European Parliament, because it was 603 from the presiding genius of the late M. Robert Schumann—to whom the world owes so very much—that the first beginnings of the Common Assembly in 1952 of the European Coal and Steel Community drew its origin. In those days there were a mere 78 members; to-day 142 form its membership. It is interesting to see on page 19 of the White Paper the composition of the European Parliament as it will be after the accession of ourselves, Norway, Denmark and Ireland. Our representation in the European Parliament will be in precisely the same numerical quantity as France, Germany and Italy, in that we shall have 36 members. The concomitant of being a member of the European Parliament, though it is not necessarily a totally fixed concomitant, is that the representative should be a member of his own national Parliament.
This leads me to one very important Article in the Treaty of Rome to which I wish to draw your Lordships' attention. I am referring to Article No.138. Paragraph 3 of that Article deals with the important question of the election, by direct universal suffrage, of a European Parliament. This is indeed an historic opportunity, because the Draft Convention of the election of a European Parliament was laid before the Assembly in Strasbourg nearly 11 years ago, and much discussion has taken place since that Working Party laid its objects before the Ministers concerned. There is great likelihood that the Member States will adopt finally the respective constitutional instruments, and promote a convention for the election of a European Parliament.
The noble Lord, Lord Beswick, said earlier this afternoon—and I noted his words most carefully—that the need is for more democracy, not less. Surely, the accession to the Treaty of Rome, and its concomitant of a delegation at the European Parliament through a directly elected group of representatives, is a fulfilment of Lord Beswick's wishes. This is a remarkable development, and if it can be achieved by the painful process of discussion and negotiation we shall certainly have achieved a most surprising and successful result for the whole Continent of Europe. The 142 delegates of to-day are a very small number, but, with the accession of four Member States to make the 604 group of ten, the numbers of the European House of Parliament will be greatly enlarged. Nevertheless, the presiding genius to whom I have referred, M. Robert Schumann, and the spirit which moves Europe House, is one which has been referred to as the conscience of Europe ".
I should like to draw the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder (to whose speech I listened with close attention because of his interest in the Third World), to the fact that it is quite evident, from even brief visits to the European Parliament, what are the very broad aspects of European policy and policy formation to which this body gives its attention. It so happens that the first debate to which I listened concerned ophthalmic surgery. As the noble Lord, Lord Crook, will no doubt be fully aware, this debate was an unusual one in that Assembly. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the European Parliament meets on only comparatively infrequent occasions during the year, its coverage is wide. Moreover, its debating potentiality, with the four new Member States being represented, will be greatly enhanced. I look upon the European Parliament as a beacon of democracy in the West. I greatly look forward to a further visit, and I hope that through the offices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union some exchange visit can be made whereby representatives of that Parliament can come to hear our debates at Westminster.
I have spoken in some detail about the European Parliament, to the exclusion of everything else, but I should like to make one further point. It seems to me that if we make the accession to the Treaty of Rome now it will be timely and, from the point of view of other Europeans, the opportunity is unlikely to be repeated. There is a sort of chemistry of confidence at the present moment which cannot be repeated, so I hope that we shall take the opportunity.
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ Lotto CULLEN OF ASHBOURNE
My Lords, during the debate on this subject in your Lordships' House last July it struck me that very little attention had been paid to the influence that entry into the E.E.C. might be expected to have on our invisible earnings. Naturally, most noble Lords concentrated on the political aspect as, in essence, this is a political 605 decision. There were a number of speeches on agriculture and fisheries, and what seemed to me surprisingly few speeches about industry. But, apart from a few passing references, only the noble Lord, Lord Selsdon, spoke about our invisible earnings in particular. Therefore, at the risk of boring many noble Lords with greater knowledge than mine, I decided to try to put in some perspective the part that has been, and is being, played by our invisible earnings, and to voice the opinions on entry of some of those people who are engaged in the businesses from which these earnings are derived. My purpose in so doing is not to make the case that our invisible earnings will prosper immediately after entry, but to try to show that they will suffer little, if any, disadvantages in the short term and will benefit in the long term. However convincing the political case, if entry was likely to have a detrimental effect on our economy it would make the decision to enter hard indeed.
The very word "invisible" has some mysterious ring about it, and the mystery is deepened not only by the lack of detailed statistical information available but also by the manner in which our balance of payments figures are issued; for instance, that our visible trade for month "X" shows a surplus of £ 10 million, but if you care to include our estimated invisible earnings there is a total surplus of £ 60 million. Furthermore, the performance of the private sector—shipping, civil aviation, tourism and "other services"—and the income from interest payments and dividends, is masked by the inclusion in the invisible account of Government expenditure, for which there is a large net deficit, which in 1969 was £ 287 million, largely as a result of expenditure on our forces in Germany.
I should first like to pay tribute to the admirable report by the Committee on invisible Exports, issued last July, without which my task would indeed have been formidable. From this report, and from my own inquiries, I have extracted a few statistics which help—at least for me—to lessen some of the mystery. Over the past decade (and these, I think, are remarkable figures which I have checked very carefully), Britain's gross invisible income has amounted to over a third of our total foreign earnings and would on its own 606 have covered over half our total import bill. We have enjoyed a surplus on invisible account for over 175 years, but have shown a surplus on visible trade in only eight of those years. Indeed, although we have enjoyed what must be regarded as fairly large surpluses on our current account for the last two-and-a-half years, the visibles component has shown either a sizeable deficit—minus £ 141 million in 1969—or only a bare surplus in 1970 and the first six months of this year. The invisibles component, on the other hand, has been running a surplus over the same period at an average annual rate of nearly £ 600 million, which is about three times the average of the first half of the 1960s. Therefore I submit that the impact on our invisible earnings of entry into the E.E.C. is of great importance. Our surplus on invisible account is much larger than any E.E.C. country and second only to that of the U.S.A. In fact, only some 12 per cent. of our invisible earnings stem from the E.E.C., so the vital point is that in the long term our earnings from the rest of the world are not adversely affected by entry.
I shall confine myself mainly to giving figures to show the relative contributions of the different services to our invisible earnings, and the opinion of interested parties as to the likely effect of entry upon them. First, transport; and this heading covers shipping and civil aviation. In 1969, our transport surplus with E.E.C. countries amounted to about £48 million, and with all countries to about £86 million, though for various reasons it fell back in 1970. Shipping transactions, which in 1970 amounted to over £1,000 million in each direction, appear to account for about half our invisible transactions with E.E.C. countries (excluding Government expenditure) and about one quarter of our total shipping transactions. Little change is likely in the short term, but our shipping earnings should benefit from entry in the longer term. Our total net surplus from civil aviation has in recent years amounted to some £30 million annually, the volume of transactions being less than a third of shipping transactions. Again, it is expected that civil aviation should benefit in the longer term, though there may be marginal disadvantages initially. Looking ahead, the most important influence on our transport earnings will 607 be the extent to which our trade expands after entry and the eventual common transport policy of the E.E.C., in the shaping of which we should be well placed to play our part.
Secondly, tourism. This is Britain's fourth largest export trade and the second largest dollar earner. Roughly two-fifths of the total visitors to Britain come from the E.E.C. countries and provide 19 per cent. of our total tourist receipts. Our total surplus in 1970 was £45 million having improved rapidly from a deficit of £78 million in 1966. The likely effect of entry on the British tourist trade cannot be discerned until more is known about the total change in tax structure and the rate at which value added tax is applied to tourist establishments. The British Tourist Authority considers that there are no clear advantages in the short term but that entry should prove beneficial in the long term. Thirdly, other services. This section embraces the services associated with the City of London, such as insurance, banking, merchanting and brokerage; also, postal and telecommunication services, royalties, advertising and commercial services. Together, these provide 25 per cent. of all credits and 15 per cent. of all debits in our whole invisible account. By far the largest component in the net invisible earnings of the City of London is insurance, of which net earnings have trebled from £81 million in 1965 to £243 million in 1969. It is, however, noteworthy that probably no more than £10 million is earned in the E.E.C. countries, largely on account of restrictive legislation in member countries. However, the view given to me by many people in the insurance business is that they are much more concerned that entry will not be unfavourable to their earnings world-wide than that they should improve in E.E.C. countries. The Treaty of Rome envisages much greater liberalisation than has yet occurred, and there is confidence that Britain's presence in the E.E.C. will help to create a more liberal atmosphere, to the benefit of our insurance earnings. I have been told on good authority that in the last few months a more liberal attitude has already become apparent. The outlook is generally favourable.
I come next to banking. Bank earnings, including finance houses and similar institutions, have also trebled. from £32 608 million in 1965 to £97 million in 1969. The effect of entry on our bank earnings will depend upon the degree of relaxation of controls in the E.E.C. by the end of Britain's transitional period and the speed with which we adjust to the practices of the E.E.C. Generally speaking, it is expected that the expertise of the City will result in rapid adaptation to opportunities as they arise. There is confidence in banking circles that entry will have a favourable effect on earnings.
Then, merchanting and brokerage. Under this heading come the Baltic Exchange, the Stock Exchange and the commodity markets. Overseas earnings of the Baltic Exchange have been estimated at £21 million in 1966. They are believed to have expanded greatly since, but an official inquiry is due to be published shortly. This is by far the largest shipping and air chartering market in the world. Entry into the E.E.C. is not expected to influence these earnings to any significant degree. Overseas earnings of the Stock Exchange were about £9 million in 1970. Entry into the E.E.C. is expected to make a favourable impact on these earnings. I should here like to echo the words of the chairman of the Stock Exchange, who last week urged the abolition of the stamp duty on the transfer of shares and the import of bearer securities. This duty acts as a disincentive to the purchase of British shares by overseas investors, and impedes the growth of a free European capital market. The commodity markets earned £40 million to £45 million in 1969. It is not possible to estimate the effect of entry on these earnings until the change in the pattern of commodity trading caused by the enlargement of the E.E.C. can be seen. These, my Lords, are the main items listed under "Other Services".
Fourthly, interest, profits and dividends. I.P.D. represent about 30 per cent. of our invisible earnings and 25 per cent. of invisible payments, though the percentages with the E.E.C. countries are much smaller. Net total earnings in 1969 were £ 462 million, and those with the E.E.C. countries £ 44 million. The greater part of I.P.D. earnings from the E.E.C. countries come from direct rather than from portfolio investments, and it is thought that entry would result in higher levels of direct investment to and from Britain and 609 the E.E.C. than would occur without entry.
To summarise, my Lords, I think it is apparent from the figures I have quoted that our invisible earnings are of such importance that the implications for them of our entry into the E.E.C. deserve serious attention. The conclusion of the experts appears to be that, although the short-term effects are somewhat difficult to judge, in the long term, given the competiveness of the industries concerned—a feature which has been amply demonstrated by their international success—our invisible earnings from existing E.E.C. countries stand to benefit: a view supported by such conversations as I have had with leaders of the industry. The only real uncertainty concerns the likely impact on our existing earnings from countries which will remain outside the Market. It would be surprising indeed if the Community's policy should be formed in such a way as to handicap one of the more successful sectors of our economy, and one which seems capable of providing great benefit to the Community as a whole. I am sure we could in any event rely on our present Government to press for the Treaty of Rome to be interpreted in these matters in the liberal sense in which it was conceived, and thus ensure that our service industries continue to flourish. Considering the proud record of the City of London over a very long period of time, it seems surprising that its praises are so unsung. Perhaps if its performance in the past and its potential for the future were more widely understood the snide comments to which it is at times subjected would cease. Given, my Lords, even reasonable working conditions, the City of London should go from strength to strength and become the financial centre of the E.E.C.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ LORD WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, I am opposed to entering the European Economic Community, and I therefore find myself quite unable to support the Motion before your Lordships' House. This is in no way due to any lack of endeavour on my part to make a sincere and sustained effort to find out what it would be right for this country to do. My decision is in no way associated, if I may say so, with the decision taken by the Labour Party to oppose entry 610 by this country on the present terms. I have participated in all the debates on this subject, with the exception of the debate that we had in July of this year, since I have been a Member of your Lordships' House, the first being in June,1966, on a Motion by the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, and then again in May,1967, when the former Government's White Paper was under discussion. On both those occasions I expressed grave concern about the intention of this Government, when it was in Opposition, and of the past Government, to go into the E.E.C.; and nothing that I have heard in the debates which have taken place in your Lordships' House, or anything that I have read (and I would remind your Lordships that I have endeavoured to make a sincere and sustained effort to assess the situation) has led me to any change of view. On the contrary, I think it has rather reinforced my view that it would be unwise to proceed further in the matter.
I am not persuaded that the concept of a European Economic Community is one which we should adopt. Perhaps it would be pointless my trying to develop arguments in support of what I have said, because I think that most Members of your Lordships' House have made up their minds what they intend to do this coming Thursday. We have had so many debates that it is reasonable to say that the time has arrived when one could not hope to influence other noble Lords. I think I ought to make it clear that I am against the principal aim of the Treaty of Rome, which I understand to be the establishment of a single political Community with a common Parliament and, eventually, a common Government; in other words, the creation of a Western European Federal State. I frankly do not want this. I should prefer the British Government, whichever political complexion they have, to be free and unfettered to determine their own future, without having to take into account the views and perhaps the requirements of other countries.
I was interested in a comment made by the previous speaker, the noble Lord, Lord Cullen of Ashbourne, when he referred to the experts' views. I want to say very sincerely that, having read a good deal on this subject, I do not know 611 that anyone can say whether, economically, it would be favourable or unfavourable to go into the Common Market. I do not deny that the noble Lord, Lord Cullen, could produce one or two experts, or perhaps a group of them, who would say that it is in the future interests of the United Kingdom to go in, but for every group that other noble Lords could produce, some of us on the other side—I do not mean politically, but those against our going in—could, without difficulty, also produce a group of authoritative people to say that it would be unfavourable. The issue is so finely balanced that I do not think there is any reason for saying that it would be right or wrong. I feel that we see only the tip of the iceberg. We do not know of the vast substance below the surface.
I am not unmindful of the Government's investigation—a sincere investigation, I think—into the pros and cons of joining. I would acknowledge the thoroughness of that investigation by the Minister concerned, Mr. Geoffrey Rippon. But I want to emphasise that it seems to have been centred around the economic considerations, and I do not think that these are the prime considerations at the moment. I am more concerned with the social consequences, with what is likely to happen to our social policies if we go in. I believe that in the last analysis it is the individual who matters. I know that noble Lords opposite will argue that the quality of life of the individual, his standard of living, will depend on a number of other considerations. Of course that is so; but I think that too little has been said of the social consequences of joining the European Economic Community.
We have had a fairly comprehensive network of social services and social security in this country for a good number of years—not the work of just one Government of one political complexion but the work of a number of Governments of different political complexions. I think that our network of social services and social security has been, and still is, generally more effective than that of some of the other European countries. But under the Treaty of Rome, social security systems in the Six are due to be unified. I find myself asking whether the unification will mean a levelling up or a levelling down.
612 In this country we have a vast army of men, women and families who, for one reason or another, are unable to maintain themselves. We in this country, for generations, have accepted the responsibility for their wellbeing. This is not a political matter. We have chosen different ways of doing it; we have not always agreed with each other but we have recognised the responsibility. I am wondering what is going to happen to our social policies and our social security and what are going to be the social consequences of our going into the E.E.C. Everything leads me to believe that there will be an even greater number of needy people in this country as a result of a higher cost of living. This is not denied by anybody. A higher cost of living will make things more difficult for them. It is all very well for us to say that the standard of living of the individual or a family depends on production. It does, if you are able to help in the process of production, but I am concerned with those who are less able to help themselves. I feel that the preparation that has been done by this Government already to lead us into the Common Market—preparation in terms of reduced levies, reduced subsidies and the higher cost of food—have put a tremendous strain on sections of the community that can ill afford it. Frankly, I do not see that situation getting better for them. On the contrary, I think that there is some reason to believe that it may get even worse.
I do not deny that in any venture of this kind there are opportunities; but, of course, there are risks. I, as an individual, have to make up my mind whether the opportunities are greater than the risks. As an individual, I do not feel that I know enough of the iceberg below the surface to see whether the facts really justify our going into the E.E.C. One has to make one's assessment on the information available, on the facts that can be proved to be facts; and I have come to the conclusion that the risks outweigh the opportunities. I think it would be in the interests of this country to remain outside the E.E.C., to have complete control of its own destiny. However much we may have failed in the past, I believe that the decisions for our own future well-being must be made by us, for ourselves, free and unfettered.
§ 7.7 p.m.
THE EARL OF DUDLEY
My Lords, I had better start by saying that I profoundly disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell. Only 25 years ago the Six lay prostrate in the aftermath of war. Every country had been a battlefield. Industries lay silent and destroyed, agriculture devastated. Yet now they produce and consume more goods and foodstuffs and are more closely united, both economically and politically, than ever before. Much credit for this amazing recovery must go to the United States and some to our own efforts on their behalf. But above all, the resurgence of Western Europe is due to the hard work of their peoples, the policies of their Governments and to the opportunities created for them by the signatories to the Treaty of Rome. The Treaty has galvanized and revitalised the Six. The economic facts are well known, have been restated and re-emphasised ad nauseam and I shall not repeat them. But in spite of the remarkable growth, productivity and improvement in the standard of living of the Community, the British people remain singularly unimpressed and disenchanted. So much so that in a referendum or a General Election a majority might well vote against entry into the Common Market.
In these circumstances, anti-Marketeers are indignant and pro-Marketeers relieved that the electorate are not to be given another opportunity of expressing their views and that the decision will be made in Parliament on Thursday. There has been a lot of clamour in the Labour Party for a General Election, for obvious reasons, but no real response in the country. While there is general indifference, there are also divided opinions. At this watershed in British history, and with such profound issues at stake, it would be surprising if there were other than a narrow margin between conflicting beliefs. On this point I will answer the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy. The roots of this great debate go deep into the history and consciousness of our island people. For example, Article 7 of the Treaty of Rome declares that:any discrimination on the grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.For nearly a thousand years successive British rulers or Governments have discriminated against other peoples on grounds of nationality, as a matter of 614 public policy, especially in Europe—against the French, the Spaniards and the Germans, according to where British interests lay, by coalitions and alliances to preserve the balance of power. It would have been unthinkable in an earlier age for any British Government to sign away their right freely to follow that policy without serious risk of civil conflict and bloodshed.
In our more tolerant and sophisticated age, the question of acceding to the Treaty generates very little heat, despite recent attempts to raise the temperature by fiery rhetoric; including Mr. Wilson's strange remark that the Prime Minister has sold out to M. Pompidou and that Britain is about to become a French satellite. I can only charitably conclude that when one stands on one's head, one's mental powers and processes are unlikely to remain unimpaired. That said, my Lords. it cannot be anything but unsatisfactory to noble Lords who, like myself, support entry, to know that we may possibly he out of step with majority opinion in the country, when we on this side enjoy the anachronistic luxury of casting our votes in accordance with conscience or conviction.
My belief in the fundamentally sound instincts of the British people has made it doubly necessary for me to examine carefully the pros and cons of membership. The factors which bear most heavily against greater public support for entry are, to my mind, suspicion about loss of sovereignty or independence; sentiment about the Commonwealth—especially that part with which we have been most closely associated—and fear of higher prices for foodstuffs. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hankey" that the price question can be effectively argued either way, and so I am reluctant to pursue it. I will only make the point that some comparisons between prices of foodstuffs here and in the Community have disregarded regional variations and distortions. Of course, if you compare retail price samples in Paris or Brussels with the British retail food price index you will get differences and unrepresentative results. I am satisfied that the C.B.I. estimate of an 11 per cent. rise by the end of the transitional period over prices that would prevail if we did not go in will stand up to the test of time; and that this will be a small part 615 of a small price to pay for a home market of over 250 million people.
Much of the argument about the Commonwealth is emotional and has little rational basis. It reflects the whole spectrum of belief and opinion, ranging from nostalgia for our dominion over palm and pine, and affection for the White Cornmonwealth—brothers in peace and war—to concern about our responsibilities for emergent or underdeveloped nations and our moral obligations to the coloured races, as evinced by the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder. I appreciate these sentiments, but they seem to me misplaced when they represent real fears about the consequences of entry. I also accept that not all anti-marketeers are motivated by sentimental attachment to the Commonwealth or antipathy to aliens. A powerful section, including the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, have serious doubts about the advantages to be gained from increased trade with the Six, as compared with the loss of exports to the Commonwealth. We heard the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, voice the same fears.
At this late stage I do not think that I could persuade noble Lords opposite, but for those noble Lords with open minds on this issue I should like to quote from a recent publication, Britain in Balance, by the economist, W.A.P. Manser, and I do so because I could not put it better. He states:The immemorial destination of British exports has been Europe. When this country first began trading in any volume, towards the end of the 18th century, the adjacent land mass of Europe was overwhelmingly the main outlet. Eighty per cent of all sales abroad were sent to this market.And then:Since most comparisons of trends take the 1930s as their starting point the illusion of an historical dependence on the Commonwealth has grown up. After 1945, with the removal of the pre-war factors, the balance moved back the other way.From 1958 to 1968:Britain increased her exports to the `Six' at a fast pace. The proportion allotted to the Common wealth was nearly halved.If we could maintain that historical performance in the face of Community tariffs, it follows that we are certain to improve upon it when Europe is a home market. If we matched the performance of the E.E.C. countries over the 12 years to 1970, 616 we should increase our exports to Europe over a like period by 500 per cent., or nearly £800 million per annum.
While these judgments about the economic benefits still remain valid, it must be admitted that expectations aroused by them have receded somewhat into the middle distance. We are still in the throes of an international trade depression. Production and investment are at a low ebb here and in the United States, especially in the engineering industry. Unemployment in the once over-employed Midlands is above 6 per cent. In Germany and other European countries the economy in similar sections is still spiralling downwards from its previous high levels. The dimensions of the depression are difficult to measure. A judgment must be made about the outcome of President Nixon's policies which, to my mind, are still in doubt, and there must be a return of confidence generally. Ministers have been doing their best to give us encouragement and reassurance that, as a result of measures taken, prosperity is just around the corner. But there is still too much clutching at straws. Against this background it would be wise to restrain optimism about growth and economic prospects in the short-term attaching to membership of the Community.
This finally brings me to the question of our future relations with other member countries and how our sovereignty or independence may be affected by the political structure of the Community. I wish to make only two points here. If Britain signs the Treaty, the powers of Parliament will not be curtailed in any other sense than they are by existing international agreements to which we are party and which already impose limitations upon our sovereignty. My second point is that if we stop there, it will be an immeasurable loss to Britain, to Europe and to the world. Noble Lords must not think that I am without a deep sense of pride in Britain, in Britain's achievements and the British way of life. But I also recognise that the European Community has come into existence on our doorstep as a success—as the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, said—but also as a challenge, as a catalyst and as a threat. I am convinced that it will grow in strength, in resources, in power, in influence and in unity. I submit that there will be substantial practical advantages 617 to us in joining forces with this emergent and developing Community whose declared task is:to promote throughout the Community an harmonious development of economic activity, a continuous and balanced expansion, an increase in stability, an accelerated raising of the standard of living and closer relations between the member States belonging to it.I see the growth of the Community as consisting of a continuous interlocking of activities and institutions: first, commercial, technological and financial and then, inevitably, cultural, juridical and political. I visualise an increasing desire among European peoples for harmonisation of living standards and of quality of life. I foresee a steady blending of national pursuits and policies to the point where, ultimately, as a result of all these concurrent and converging lines of thought and action, a European people, a European philosophy and a European body politic will emerge, into which the strands of our own British ideas and outlook will be acceptably and permanently woven. These, at least, are my own beliefs and my own ideals and the reason why I shall support the Government's Motion on Thursday. For the future of my country and of Europe, I hope and believe that I shall not be in a minority on that day.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ LORD TAYLOR OF GRYFE
My Lords, I shall vote with mixed emotions on Thursday for entry into the European Common Market. I shall be very proud to participate in a great event in the history of our country; but I shall also be sad, because I shall be representing a minority position in my Party. I had hoped that my position would not require justification in the Labour Party, since I assumed from the negotiations which we had led for so long that we were committed to entry into the European Economic Community. I believe that if we reject this opportunity, an opportunity will not recur even with a change of Government, whenever that may take place. But if I am sad about the position of my Party, I can say that the sadness is somewhat diminished by the knowledge that, while I represent a minority of my Party in this country, I shall be able to stand with the majority of European Social Democrats. I have always felt part of a larger community since I joined the Social Democratic 618 Party of Germany many years ago, when I was a student in Germany. Since then I have always felt that in considering European problems my loyalty went beyond my affiliation to the Labour Party and had a broader affiliation to the ideals of social democracy in a European context. So I shall vote on Thursday knowing full well that the step I am taking is consistent with that view.
I return to the opening of the debate. The first text was given to us by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, when he said that the regions have most to lose and have the most to gain. We are much indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman, for his maiden speech, in which he gave us the second text of the day: that Britain could not sustain the new science-based industries, with their immense investment and with the speculative element in new discoveries, on the limited market that is available to us on our own. I want to ask my colleagues who will be voting against entry into the Common Market what kind of future do they see for Britain, standing alone, if this is the case.
I am much concerned with the regions. I live in Scotland and I am very conscious of the large and increasing army of unemployed people up there, unemployed through no fault of their own, unemployed because the regions are changing. The regions were based on traditional industries, like shipbuilding, iron and steel, coal and transport, and there is no longer a possibility of employing these men in the traditional industries. Where must these men look for employment? In the post-war years we have tried to absorb them in the science-based industries, which have offered the best prospect of employment in the regions. But if we accept the analyisis of the noble Lord. Lord Zukerman, Britain will be unable to play a part in encouraging the science-based industries, with the inevitable consequences for regions like Scotland, the North-East and South Wales.
Like my noble friend Lord Beswick, I am interested in the fate of the individual. Of course it is nice to talk about the fate of the individual, but the greatest threat to the individual is in the humiliation that unemployment brings. It is easy to talk about developing the creative impulses of the individual and of fostering 619 the individual in society. This is desirable and socially necessary; but it must have an economic base. The individual must have the opportunity of employing himself, to gain pride in himself if he is to be a healthy unit in our society. So I support entry into the Common Market, because on balance it offers the best prospects of economic growth and to that extent offers the best prospects of ensuring that the individual has some reasonable standard in our society and does not feel a reject.
May I say to my noble friends Lord Beswick, Lord Wells-Pestell and Lord Ritchie-Calder. who dwelt at some length on the fate of the individual, that of course we might perhaps want to go back to some period in society when the individual had greater significance in the community, but those are days that are gone. It is like this spectre of the multinational company that some Socialists frequently flourish before us when they want to frighten us. The multi-national company is a fact of life. We shall be able to control the multi-national company only in a larger community; we cannot control it operating alone. Who are we, if we are alone and separate from Europe, to say to a multi-national company that we are going to introduce restrictions here and there on their activities? They will go off to Belgium, France or Germany. There is nothing to prevent them. So, if we are really concerned about laying down rules for the multi-national company—rules which are necessary in order to deal with the new problems they create—we can do it with greater authority and greater power within the European Community.
While we are discussing the multinational company, may I say that I think that it is not always bad or evil. We are thankful in Scotland for the intervention of multi-national companies in our economy in the post-war period and for the better' labour relations, improved management techniques and some of the productive techniques, with which they have improved the standing and status of the economy in Scotland, as they have done in the North-East and in other areas. If we are concerned about the dangers of multi-national companies, we shall find allies in the Common Market. 620 If I read the writings of Jean Jacques Schreiber correctly, he is perhaps the most powerful preacher against the anti-social consequences of some of the multinational companies. I should like to say to my noble friends, Lord Beswick and Lord Ritchie-Calder, that surely our German Socialist friends are as much concerned about the social consequences of these operations as we are. What are we afraid of? These are our allies. Remembering that we encouraged Willy Brandt and the German Social Democratic Party to canvass for our membership, I cannot understand how we can now contract out when they have achieved what we asked them to achieve.
Of course my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder is right (I am sorry that he is not in his place) in warning us about some of the consequences of growth. He says that growth means pollution; that growth is at the expense of others. Not necessarily so. Growth means pollution only if we do not control it. Growth is at the expense of others only if we do not look at the social consequences of growth and if we make growth the only objective in society. No one on these Benches regards growth as the ultimate. We Socialists insist in believing that a society should produce more goods that should be shared for the good of our community. We are not against growth: we want growth; we want higher productivity so that all may share the benefits. So do not let us at this stage start to talk about the enemy of the growth syndrome; saying that growth means pollution, and growth is at the expense of others. If we believe in extending social services; if we believe in a State that will encourage greater welfare; if we believe in a society that will give more aid to the under-developed countries, we can do that increasingly only in so far as we have the wealth to do it.
I have one final point, my Lords, and this again deals with my particular interest in regional policies. There is a danger, unless there is some harmonisation of regional policies and we are able to influence that harmonisation, that there will be overbidding among countries for attraction of investment. I am chairman of a semi-Government committee that is trying to attract European investment to the areas where investment 621 is lacking at the moment, and I must say that the prospect of securing that investment will be much enhanced if we are part of Europe: not only investment from Europe itself, but investment also from the United States, who will see the possibilities of investment here as a gateway to the larger European market. American investment in the United Kingdom has slowed down, and more and more investment has gone into the Common Market, due to the existence of a larger market. I regard it as important in terms of regional policy that we should be in the Market before clear-cut regional policies have been established, so that we may influence these regional policies and avoid the overbidding that is taking place among countries at the moment.
I suppose that a good deal of our thinking in this matter is conditioned by the fact that there is the North Sea dividing us from the Continent, and we have always regarded ourselves as an island separated from Europe. But just in these last few months we have seen the North Sea in entirely different terms. There is the development of oil, gas and other resources from the North Sea which will be fed into Europe and fed into these Islands. and the North Sea will no longer be a ditch or a separation between us and Europe. Whether we like it or not, we are rapidly becoming part of Europe, and I hope that our thinking will take due cognisance of these changes.
Finally, it is important that the Government should realise that going into Europe will have serious social consequences, some of which were mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell. Increased prices will probably result, and this is not disputed. If the Government really want us to go into Europe, they must state plainly that these new burdens which will be imposed upon us, and which I am prepared to carry, will not be imposed unduly on the sections of our community which are less able to carry them. If there are to be increased prices, let us ensure that the least protected, the pensioners and the poor, will be protected from the new European burdens. If this is done, we shall feel quite happy about going into the Europe Lobby on Thursday.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord to ask 622 him this question? If he is unable to get such an assurance in adequate terms, that that section of the community to which he is referring will get this help in advance of the increased burden, will he reconsider voting for the Government?
§ LORD TAYLOR OF GRYFE
I do not think so. I must say that I have thought seriously of this position, and I put it to the Government in these terms. I imagine that by our staying out, the most impoverished section of our community would also suffer. But if prices are to go up, let there be some protection for those sections of our community. For these reasons, as I say, with mixed emotions, I shall be proud to go into the Lobby in support of entry into the European Community. and I shall be sad if it is a minority decision in my Party.
§ 7.35 p.m.
§ LORD MAELOR
My Lords, having listened to the last speech, I have had to keep my eye on my noble friends Lord Beswick and Lady White to be sure that they were sitting on the right side of the House. This debate, together with that in the other place, will undoubtedly be recorded in history as it is the prelude to the greatest constitutional change that this country has known for centuries. The debate will also be associated with something quite unique and unprecedented: it will be recorded as the first time ever that a Government has wantonly flouted the will of the electorate, as this Government propose to do.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord for a moment, why does he say that it is the will of the electorate?
§ LORD MAELOR
Because we have had the Gallup Polls: and indeed, the noble Lord must have read the account of the Trades Union Congress, which represents the people, and the Labour Party Conference, which also represents the people.
§ LORD MAELOR
I am sure I am right when I say that the majority of the people of this country are against entry. That has never been denied by anyone except the noble Lord. It must be agreed that that is the situation. No 623 mandate has been given to the Prime Minister. He hardly mentioned the subject right throughout the campaign of the General Election. He knew full well that he had no hope of dwelling in Downing Street if he dared to tell the people at the time that he would take the country into the Common Market. But the Prime Minister for years has been hell-bent on entering the Common Market, and he now has the power to carry out his personal whim.
I have an instinctive feeling against the Common Market, probably due to the fact that I am a Welshman. We in Wales have been in a Common Market for over 400 years. That Market is not in Cardiff. nor in Caernarvon, but here in London. Curiously enough. the pro-Marketeers of those days used the same language as is used now. They said to us, "You will not lose your sovereignty." Yet it was only three years ago, for the first time in 400 years, that we were allowed to speak our own language in our own courts of law. "There will be no movement of labour", they said. Yet even before the last war over one million people had left Wales to find a livelihood in England. That is why we in Wales reject the idea and say, "Once bitten, twice shy".
I ask the pro-Marketeers what they hope to learn from those nations which compose the Common Market.
§ LORD MAELOR
The three principal countries are France, Germany and Italy. What do we hope to learn from France? Is it the art of stable government? Up to the advent of General de Gaulle, that country changed its Government every other week. What do we hope to learn from Germany? Is it the art of peace? All I need say is that that nation embroiled the whole world in two bloody wars in this century alone. That nation also sustained the foulest and most uncivilised Government known to mankind, and its cruelty knew no bounds. What do we hope to learn from Italy? Is it the art of democratic government? This is the nation that readily succumbed to a sawdust Caesar and was the first to establish Fascism in Europe. I cannot say that I am enamoured of our choice 624 of new partners. I may be told that we hope to teach them some things.
§ LORD MAELOR
I agree that had we been in the Common Market initially, thirteen years ago, and helped to fashion the Treaty of Rome, it would have been a more liberal Community: there is no doubt about that. The Treaty would have avoided the Common Agricultural Policy, which can only be described as economic lunacy. But the Treaty is thirteen years old and its terms have long been settled. What we are privileged to do to-day is simply to sign the Treaty as it stands; and, in contrast to other treaties, this one is irrevocable and, once signed, must remain. We must be naïve indeed if we believe that a late entrant like Britain would be allowed to change that which has been so well established, and established for so long.
I think we can all agree that the case for membership of the E.E.C. must be assessed in terms of the entrance fee, and from all that I have read on the subject I am convinced that the fee is prohibitive. Owing to the recognised policies of the Common Market in relation to food, agriculture and trade, our standard of living will inevitably be lowered. Let us face the facts of the situation as we know them. We import about 20 per cent. of our national needs, including roughly half our food and all our raw materials; and all this is paid for by our exports, which go to all parts of the world. Ironically enough, our ability to export rather easily is due to the fact that we are not a member of the Common Market. We now enjoy all the export privileges throughout EFTA and in the Commonwealth countries.
To-day we are able to import our food from the cheapest sources; that is, from the countries with whom we have non-tariff agreements. Butter and cheese are produced more cheaply in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world: mutton and lamb in Australia and New Zealand; wheat and feedingstuffs in Canada, Australia and the United States; and sugar in the areas of the Caribbean. All these are more cheaply produced than they can be produced in Europe. If we enter the Common Market and thereby raise our import prices voluntarily, 625 together with forfeiting our export privileges and making a Budget payment to the tune of £500 million a year, we cannot avoid lowering our standard of living. We in Britain would have to manufacture and sell in Europe more of everything to pay for the same amount of food. In other words, the British worker would have to work longer hours in order to enjoy the standard of living which he has to-day. We find to-day a shipload of women arriving each week in England simply to do their shopping. The weekly shopping expedition pays them handsomely; and I think that would be the answer to Lord Dudley, who said that he found the people of this country so complacent. Indeed we have no one to envy and nothing to envy; that is why we are complacent. Think of this ship coming every week across the ocean. It pays these people to hire a boat to take food from Britain to France.
THE EARL OF DUDLEY
My Lords, I must just remind the noble Lord that I did not use the word "complacent". I used the word "indifferent", which is different.
§ LORD MAELOR
Well, I will give in to that, but I do not think you will find much difference in the dictionary. I will search it later. Now not only should we be compelled to buy dear food from the Continent instead of cheaper food from elsewhere, which will double the price of dairy produce and sugar, but there will be another damaging result which is too often overlooked by pro-Marketeers. That other result is this—and it is ridiculous: we are to-day buying about £ 200 million worth of food from the Common Market countries at "dump" prices at which these countries sell their surplus products abroad. We are able to take advantage of those deflated prices. If we join the E.E.C. we shall, like the rest of the Six, have to pay two or three times more for exactly the same goods. The Brussels authorities compel their consumers to do so now. For us in Britain to do so would be like a woman having the choice of two shops, one much dearer than the other, deciding to shop at the dearer one because she likes the colour of the paint.
I do not want to dwell any further on the economic aspect of this question. I was very impressed last week by an 626 article which I read from the pen of my noble friend, Lord Soper. He has been indisposed, and I am sure that we were all very pleased to see him back with us this afternoon. During the period of his indisposition he states that he was rather sickened by the fact that all speakers, either for or against the Common Market, concentrated on questions of material advantage or disadvantage, to the exclusion of the all-important question of what is the meaning of the E.E.C. and what is the philosophy which should prompt us to get in or to stay out.No wonder ",says the noble Lord,that the yardstick of popular reaction to this quite momentous decision, as demonstrated by repeated polls, is the price of butter to-morrow rather than the likely impact of the Common Market on world peace and collaboration in years to come.I agree with the noble Lord, and in order to avoid his stricture may I conclude by dealing briefly with one or two of the neglected aspects. It is just as well for me to remind your Lordships that military conscription is in vogue in every one of the E.E.C. countries. There are indications to-day that the U.S.A. is rather anxious to withdraw some of her troops from Europe. After we have joined the Six I am afraid the U.S.A. will be more anxious to adopt an isolationist policy towards Europe. What will be the result? It is obvious that pressure will be brought on us to increase our military strength on the Continent, and it will be no answer to say that we have not the necessary forces to spare. We shall be told by Brussels that the position can be rectified by the simple method of conscription, as practised by the rest of the countries within the Community. They will tell us quite explicitly that we cannot hope to be in it without being "with it". It is a terrible thought for freedom-loving Britons, and we should not be blind to it. Again, what about our sovereignty?
§ LORD TAYLOR OF GRYFE
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord will allow me to interrupt? I understood that we were already committed in Europe militarily through our NATO Alliance, without necessarily imposing conscription in the United Kingdom, and permitting us to have the present system. By what logic does the noble Lord 627 assume that if you are part of the European Community this conscription will inevitably follow?
§ LORD MAELOR
For the simple reason, as I said, that if the U. S. A. reduce the number of their troops in Europe, as I am sure they will, someone else will have to provide them. We shall be called upon to do so, and we have heard often from the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that he cannot spare the troops now in various parts of the world.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, will the noble Lord admit that the problem may arise whether we go into the Common Market or not? We are members of the Western European Union; whether we join the E.E.C. or not the question may be put to us in any case. It is nothing to do with joining the Community.
§ LORD MAELOR
Yes it is, my Lords, because we shall be out of step with them, since all those countries have conscription. It will be illogical for us to be within the Community but different from all the other nations. I am convinced that we shall have military conscription. When we join the Six I shall also be concerned about our monarchy. The three most important countries in the Community deride a monarchy. In this country Her Majesty the Queen is the head of Parliament, as will be shown within the precincts of this House next Tuesday morning. Our Ministers are her Ministers, and no Bill becomes law without her blessing. In the future, however, we shall be subjected to the Federal Parliament at Brussels. We shall pass nothing which may be in conflict with the terms of the Treaty of Rome. Have the loyal Lords on the opposite side of the House given a thought to this aspect of the Common Market? It should even arouse a true blue Tory like the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, to join us in the Opposition Lobby on Thursday evening.
Lastly, I am concerned about our distinctiveness as a nation and people. I am afraid of this being eroded in close association with the Six, and that we shall gradually lose our way of life and be the poorer for it. I am reminded of an observation found in the Old Testament. A previous speaker said that he took his 628 text from two Lords; one was the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. I prefer to have a text from the Old Testament than even from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. This is the observation from the Old Testament:And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites….The Israelites at that time were surrounded by a pagan nation called the Midianites. That was bad enough, but what made matters worse was the fact that the Israelites began to ape the Midianites and to fall in love with their way of life. They thought that they were on top of the world because they were in association with the Midianites. Let us hope that no historian of the future will have occasion to write, "And Great Britain was greatly impoverished because of the Common Market."
§ 7.54 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF HERTFORD
My Lords, as a student of history I have listened with fascination and the utmost respect to the noble Lord who has just sat down. I must admit that I do not agree with any point in his interesting speech. I am joining in this supremely important debate briefly because I want to add my support to those who believe, as I always have done, that this country is and should be part of Europe, and it must therefore be part of the European Economic Community. I cannot pretend to know what may or may not be the immediate economic consequences of joining the Common Market. Whether the price of butter goes up or down is of slight importance when we are considering a question that will affect the lives of several generations to come. I am quite convinced that by joining the Common Market we shall be doing all that we can to ensure peace, prosperity and security for our children and our children's children.
As a person who farms over a thousand acres of rather damp Warwickshire clay, I have my anxieties about the future viability of my own herds of cattle and sheep. I am hoping that the prices of some of my products will rise, because they have not risen lately to keep up with the price of the things that I buy. But even if there were greater cause than there is for such purely personal anxieties, I should still support our application. It may be 629 a hard fact to accept, but Great Britain is a relatively small country without an empire. The only two great imperial Powers left in the world now are Russia and America; and if there is a third it will presumably be China. In terms of brute force we clearly cannot compete. In terms of economic power we can compete if by "we" one means not Great Britain alone but Europe. In terms of political power a prosperous Europe will also be too important to be ignored. If power is what one wants, it can only come from within Europe. There are things other than power that should matter to any Government of Great Britain. There is the question of our prestige; our influence for good or bad on other nations. I believe that there are certain British traditions—perhaps peculiarly British traditions—such as political freedom, toleration of other people's opinions, and a belief in justice, which can be of real value to the whole world. I am perfectly confident that those traditions will be respected by the other Christian nations of Europe, and that the voice of Britain, speaking from a sound position within Europe, will be listened to as it has not been listened to at any time in the past quarter of a century. It is not for me to take up your Lordships' time with detailed arguments. May I just say that I can see no way in which we can do more for ourselves, or for the progress of civilisation as a whole, than by joining the Common Market.
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ LORD PLATT
My Lords, in music one of the most charming forms is variations on a theme, and if what I have to say seems to your Lordships to be variations on the theme which we have just heard from the noble Marquess, I hope your Lordships will find them acceptable. I do not rise with any intention of intervening or contributing to this debate on any matters of politics or economics; indeed, I have not the expertise to do so. In case your Lordships should be in any suspense, I am already more than convinced that we must join Europe.
I have only one qualification at all to speak in your Lordships' House on this occasion. I happen to be the only medical speaker on the list for to-day, so I will say something very briefly about 630 such medical aspects as there are, and, having risen, it gives me a little opportunity to put forward a few of my personal views which are the ones I referred to as variations on a theme. First of all with regard to medicine, in a sentence I can say that I do not think it presents any insurmountable difficulty. There are some of us, among whom I think I could be included, who believe that British medical education is probably the best in the world. But surely none of us is so stupid as to think that every British doctor is therefore better than every foreign doctor; that would surely be absurd. We already officially recognise through the General Medical Council qualifications from certain universities in the Commonwealth and elsewhere, which we may not think as good as our own.
There is a European Union of Specialist Doctors and a European Union of General Practitioners discussing problems of medicine in the European Economic Community; and the British Medical Association has been an observer, I think since 1961, in their deliberations. The way in which these bodies are thinking about and planning minimal standards to be recognised for qualification and post-graduate training and the organisation of medical services is excellent. Of course there will be some difficulties and varying standards. I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Crook, whose speech I am sorry to say I was not able to hear. has referred to these; but I am quite certain that no one would put them forward as a serious bar to entry into the Common Market. As an eminent member of the British Medical Association said a little while ago:It must he remembered that the European Common Market is primarily an economic union that its secondary role is political union. The concerns of medicine and the medical profession are of relatively minor importance in the institutions of the E.E.C.With that I agree.
My other point, a more personal one, has to some extent been included in speeches which have already been made this afternoon in your Lordships' House. It rests on two premises: the first premise is, to quote Lord Hankey, that we cannot "Go it alone"; and if I were not convinced of this before I entered the 631 House this afternoon, I should have been convinced by the speech of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, by the maiden speech of our new colleague Lord Zuckerman, and the speeches of Lord George-Brown and Lord Hankey, to mention only some which I have heard. The second premise—and here the noble Marquess who has just spoken made the same point—is that we must make a decision, not on what is going to happen to the price of bread, however hurtful it may be, in the next few weeks or few years, but on the future of the world, the future of Europe, and the future of Britain.
So if we cannot "Go it alone", we must join with the Communist Powers, with America, or with Europe. As to the first, there are many reasons now—I am not quite sure that there will be in fifty years' time; I may not be here to know whether there are—why we do not want to become a Communist Power at the present time. I will not go into them. So we are left with Europe or America, always supposing, as the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, has already said, that the Americans will have us, which I think is quite problematical. They have helped us greatly in the past, in war and in peace after the war; but I do not want this country to become any more Americanised than it already is. Indeed, a certain amount of de-Americanisation (if I may coin a word) might really be desirable.
Though I greatly enjoy the company, the hospitality, the kindness, efficiency and energy of my American medical friends, I would not live in their country. Only yesterday in The Timeswe read a horrifying report on the corruption of the police in the United States of America. Their citizens dare not walk in their own streets, let alone in the parks. And in The Timesabout a week ago there was a note (and even if the figures are far from correct, they surely have some meaning) that a child of 14 in America had probably seen 18,000 people die on television; that 64 per cent. of the waking hours of the pre-kindergarten child were spent watching television, and by the time he left high school he had seen 350,000 commercials. My Lords, if nobody else says it in this 632 debate, I will say it: this is not, in my view, a civilisation in the accepted and historical use of that word. A very sincere American friend of mine in his own home in 1961 said that the American civilisation would not last for twenty years. I do not yet know whether he may be proved right, but there are times when I fear that he may be. I have been many times to the U.S.A. And quite recently I visited Paris, after many years in which I have not had an opportunity of doing this. Here I found a civilisation, a culture, a history, art, literature and music. Let us join Europe!
§ 8.6 p.m.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, if ever in peace-time there has been an "arduous and urgent affair" concerning the State, it is surely the question whether Great Britain should or should not join Europe. I therefore do not apologise, even at this late hour, for being "personally present", as the Writ commands, "to treat and give counsel upon the affair aforesaid". I am sure we should treat this matter not from the point of view of the cost of living or anything of that kind, but should try to view this matter in an historical background. To enter Europe politically and economically is surely in the secular trend of history. England developed from the Heptarchy; France was united in mediæval times by marriages and duchies coming together, Spain by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella. Italy and Germany were unified only in the 19th century, and so we can see that the Europe we knew as young men was a Europe consisting of national stages.
There have of course been setbacks to this general unification of large areas, for political and economic reasons. The great setback was the 1914–18 War—a war undertaken to Europeanise the Balkans and which ended by Balkanising Europe. And the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that great free trade area, led to impoverishment, unemployment, rivalry between nationalist cliques and ultimately to Hitler. And so it is that I am sure we must now try to look forward.
Political and economic units ought to coincide, and when there is happy and satisfactory progress they tend to do so. But of all these units that have come together within the last 200 years as 633 nations or as federations, perhaps the only one large enough to be capable of dealing with the economic development of the 20th century is the United States of America. France, Germany, Italy and Britain are all too small for these new developments. They were adequate for the capitalism of the 19th century.
I think that any historian two or three hundred years hence, in looking back on the millennium of the years 1000 to 2000, would say that it was natural and inevitable for the Six to come together and to form a Common Market; he would also say that it was inevitable that sooner or later Britain should join. I believe that to be not only our destiny but our brightest hope for the future. We have to look upon our present, and in order to understand our present we have to look upon our past. This small island has been expansionist on a number of occasions. In mediéval times we sought to dominate France; that ended with the loss of Calais in Queen Mary's reign. The Second Empire developed into the Commonwealth. It will be distasteful to some of your Lordships to face what I believe to be the truth. that the Commonwealth which seemed to us to be so immensely important only 25 or 30 years ago, has already dissolved politically and has very largely dissolved economically. Let us, however, try to retain all our friendships, not only the friendship with France and the friendship with our Commonwealth but also the friendship with the United States of America which had been an empire also but which came to an end in 1782. Like the noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, I have never forgotten the late Dean Acheson's remark that Britain had lost an Empire and not found a role; but whereas Lord George-Brown resented it, I thought it was a profoundly true remark. I believe that our future role lies in being a part of Europe and in taking a helping and perhaps a leading part in influencing the policy of Europe to the outside world. I am quite sure that we should be false to all our traditions of the past if we chose to remain an offshore island.
My Lords, joining the Common Market will not solve our economic problems, nor will it cure the English sickness. The world does not owe us a living; and joining Europe is not going to make Europe owe us a living. But if we exert 634 ourselves in a way that we have not done for a long time past, we can share in Europe and have it as part of our home market. If we are unable to compete from inside, we are certainly unable to compete from outside. We ought, I think, to face the unpalatable facts of our absolute and our relative decline as an economic unit. How many of us thirty years ago ever expected that John Brown's yard at Clydebank would twice have gone bankrupt; that British shipbuilding, which once was more than 50 per cent, of all the ships being built in the world, would now be less than 10 per cent. and declining, and that our costs would be 25 per cent. above those of Japan? Who among us thirty years ago would have foreseen that the Cunard Line would have no passenger liners and would have been knocked down in the City of London to the highest bidder? Who would have foreseen that Rolls-Royce would have gone bankrupt and be in the hands of a receiver? Above all, who would have foreseen in 1960, even, when our standard of living was higher than that of any of the countries in the Common Market, that by 1970 it would be lower than any one of them except Italy?—and if things go in the same way we shall have been passed by Italy within a few years. Now among the large nations in the world our standard of living stands fifteenth. Shakespeare wrote these words:The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.Toynbee in his Study of Historytakes 26 civilisations and shows how their rise and their recovery after a decline inevitably comes from a great challenge from outside, a challenge which is severe but not so great as to mean that to recover and to overcome those difficulties is impossible and seen to be impossible. I believe that joining Europe, both poltically and economically, will be a great challenge to us, but it is one to which I hope we can respond. If we stay out there is no challenge but only a decline.
§ 8.16 p.m.
§ LORD SELSDON
My Lords, I have the greatest sympathy for tomorrow's students of history who, perhaps, in preparing a thesis on what we might call the Unification of Europe have to sort their way through the tangle of arguments and the web of discussion which leads up to the vote that Parliament will 635 be asked to make on Thursday. There is little new that one can say, except that I somehow wish that, going back over the past year, we had managed to simplify the whole issue in such a way that it could more easily be understood not only by the people of this country but also by the people around the world, the people in the Commonwealth and our friends in Continental Europe. To me, to try to simplify it, there is only one major issue; and all the others, although of considerable importance, are secondary. That issue is prosperity linked to trade. Our future success will depend, as it always has, upon the ability of our people to design, manufacture, and supply goods and services to the other markets of the world. Thus in a few brief moments I want to try to look at our future for our visible and our invisible trade as a member of the E.E.C. and to try to estimate or to put before you some factors that need to be considered.
As your Lordships well know, in the visible trade sector we have a disastrous record. We have shown a surplus only once in the past ten years, and if we go back further it looks even worse; and that surplus was a paltry £ 3 million. The question which we must ask is: "Will this surplus increase or decrease and become a sizeable deficit?" If we enter the E.E.C. certainly our imports of many Continental European products will show a marked increase, because there are some very good products waiting to come into the British market; and, therefore, our visible trade debits will go up as well.
On the reverse side of the trading coin there are, I think, two factors that lead one to considerable optimism. First—and I do not dismiss this as lightly as some would—the heads of the majority of our industries support our entry and most are enthusiastic about the opportunities which the wider market will create for their products. But, my Lords, we must not fool ourselves—there will be some very harsh competition indeed, and I think it is essential that amongst industry we must encourage a greater degree of specialisation and concentration upon those sectors where we have the best to offer in price and performance. In some sectors this could require a fairly dramatic re-think, perhaps 636 greater than we realise, and we may have to switch into entirely new product lines. Some industries will suffer and may need support and encouragement and understanding as well.
On balance, for visible trade it is difficult to say, with a wider market or the increased exports, whether we win or lose without taking into account the second factor which I think is a very important one indeed that is, a factor concerning careful investment relating in particular to the problem and the argument that goes on all the time, export versus local manufacture. The question here is where in future will the products needed to meet the needs of the E.E.C. countries (which I think will account for 40 per cent. of world trade) be manufactured? As the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, mentioned, rather than export from here, many of our industries will raise money and seek to set up or acquire manufacturing operations in parts of Continental Europe. From there they will seek to supply local markets also to the advantage of some sectors. This will thereby deprive our current account of substantial credits under "visible trade", although obviously some benefits will accrue under "invisibles" in terms of profits or dividends.
But against that, I believe we shall see a marked increase in foreign capital investment in this country. Many of the Dutch, French. German and Italian companies have been looking closely over a period of time at the advantages of setting up local manufacturing operations in this country. perhaps even to serve third markets as well. In the past they have been put off by two factors: first, by the uncertainty of our entry into the E.E.C. and the fear of what may happen to capital investment, based on supposition rather than fact; and, secondly, by fears about the uncertainty of industrial relations problems in this country. I think these two factors have caused a great deal more concern than people will have realised.
It is probable that, upon our entry, if we go in, the level of non-E.E.C. investment will also go up. I am thinking particularly of the United States of America, despite their current difficulties. I have a feeling that non-E.E.C. countries will look towards this country much more as a springboard for the markets of Europe. 637 As we know, we have an excellent distribution system compared with the Continent and we have excellent transportation facilities. We have a good labour force, and I think we are beginning to solve our industrial relations problems. Perhaps most important of all, although many would think it a minor point, this is the nicest country in the world in which to live and work, and that has great importance in the eyes of top management. If we get this investment—and I believe it will come—we want to encourage it because I think there will be considerable opportunity for increased employment. So in this sector I think we shall see an increase in the level of capital investment in the United Kingdom from all quarters, a corresponding slowing in the level of imports as things are manufactured in this country in the relevant sectors, and a growth in the significance of our role as an exporter to third markets—all this over time resulting in a much more healthy visible trade balance.
On the other front we come to the question of invisible trade, which I have raised in your Lordships' House before. I am glad that my noble friend Lord Cullen of Ashbourne underlined the advantages and benefits that the invisible trade sector offers us. I have tried before to demonstrate why, because we have the expertise, the size, position and the confidence and trust that people have in us, it should enable us to capitalise on some of these advantages. We are right to look and hope for further growth in this sector and in the service industry in general, but in this field it is, of course, the City of London which makes the bulk of the contribution to our balance of payments at any time. At the present time it is approximately £ 540 million. The City is in a position of strength as the financial centre of Europe, and some would claim of the world. Our entry into the E.E.C. would give increased opportunity for growth in the provision of financial and other services.
My Lords, I do not like the argument about what we should do if we do not go into Europe because it seems pessimistic. To someone like me it is crushing; it is unenthusiastic, and it could do us a lot of harm. If we do not go in there is no doubt that the significance of this country in the international trading 638 arena will decline. The exclusion of England from the European blocwill reduce the attractiveness of the City of London as an international financial centre and gradually, although there may even be continued growth in overseas earnings for a while, overseas competition and the expansion of other centres will put increased pressure upon us, with a consequential detrimental effect on our balance of payments.
In terms of overseas earnings, it is insurance and banking which dominate the scene, and the bulk of this at the moment is earned outside the E.E.C. As I have pointed out before, the level of business which the City currently does with E.E.C. countries is low in proportion to the trading significance of these countries. Our entry will bring a change in trading patterns—again, a change much more dramatic than people think—and with this change will come an increased demand for financial and other services, in particular in connection with the raising of capital, which I have already mentioned. People need money and services for their international expansion, and we should see a fairly dynamic increase in the number of trans-national mergers and acquisitions which will take place. I do not need to make the point about how well placed we could be in this regard. Once more there is a worry at the back of people's minds, and that is the need for the harmonisation of legislation affecting banking and insurance, and in other areas, and I hope that the greatest possible attention will be paid to this as and when negotiations proceed.
This leads me to make the point that as a member of the E.E.C. we shall have the opportunity to influence this harmonisation and to ensure that greater freedom is introduced, which will be much more in accordance with the high standards of trust, confidence and personal integrity which we enjoy in this country. If we are not in, we shall have little influence, if any.
I feel that at this point it would be as well to mention another sector; namely, the professions, which the noble Lord, Lord Platt. has spoken about to some extent. We enjoy a position of high standing with relatively limited interference in our professions and their standards are maintained much more on a voluntary basis than is the case in many 639 countries on the Continent. It is important for our professions, whether on a statutory basis or having chartered status, that they should be at no disadvantage vis-à-vistheir Continental counterparts. To me, one of the major opportunities for the future of this country lies in the further development of our service industries. Let us he sure that they have the freedom to operate and the opportunity to seize it.
I conclude my argument with a brief summary. The visible trade balance will, I feel, remain fairly even until such time as the increased capital investment that I believe will come into this country takes effect, when I think we shall have fairly dramatic growth. This incoming capital investment will, I feel, be greater than that going out, and hence we shall see a narrowing of the deficit on the capital account. This increased capital investment may reduce our net earnings on interest, profits and dividends, but this will be more than offset by increased earnings for the City of London.
My Lords, I have tried to be rational and moderate, to indicate both opportunities and areas of concern. Now I will end on a slightly emotional note. I am passionately in favour of our entry, and I have worked with that in mind all my working life. I am, according Ito the statisticians, exactly at the point of middle age. I have lived about half my life; that half has been lived in a country which some people would claim is a shadow of its former self, but it is a country with potential and assets which I would never trade for any other country. I hope that I may live the next half of my life in a country whose future role is clear—a country which is not merely a part of Europe but the leader of Europe.
§ 8.28 p.m.
§ LORD SAINSBURY
My Lords, during the last few months we have all been bombarded by forecasts, estimates, projections and predictions relating to the likely economic consequences of our proposed entry into the European Economic Community. Some of these, prepared by highly respected experts, purport to show that entry would be economic suicide, while some others, put forward by equally eminent authorities, indicate that it would 640 bring substantial benefits. In as far as it is possible for a simple business man, not used to the rarefied atmosphere of the dons' common room, to do so. I have attempted lo examine and to understand the principal argument on both sides. I do not wish to go into detail. I would only say that, despite a growing practice of presenting speculative estimates as hard facts, I am more than ever convinced that there can be no certainty as to the overall economic effects of our entry. At the same time. however, I am bound to say that I find some of the more widely used economic arguments of the anti-Marketeers pretty unconvincing.
This is particularly true of those that are bandied about in relation to food prices, in which, as your Lordships know, I have a special interest. The argument between the two sides centres on the future trend of world food prices. This has already been discussed in some detail during our previous debate on the E.E.C., and I would only point out that, contrary to the anti-Marketeers' confident predictions of a fall in world food prices, the last three months show a further increase in the price of dairy products, with the result that the gap between the United Kingdom and the E.E.C. prices has been further reduced. This is exactly what some of us suggested in our previous debate. While there are now signs that the increase in world food prices may slow down, I still cannot see any evidence of a significant decline.
I have always made it clear that cereal prices may well be the exception to the general rule, but even this does not justify some of the wilder claims of the effect of our entry into Europe on the price of bread. Among these is the widely publicised estimate that membership of the Community could put up bread prices by about 50 per cent. during the six-year transitional period. Clearly, this is a frightening figure and one that makes very good headlines. However, since the anti-Marketeers will not, perhaps I ought to make it clear that the bulk of this is accounted for by estimates of cost increases which are basically independent of whether we enter the Common Market or not. It may also help to put things into perspective to remember that during the last six years bread prices rose by about 40 per cent.
641 While I do not believe that the economic considerations are in any way conclusive, I consider the fact that a very large section of business and industry expects a net benefit a powerful argument for accepting the hand offered to us by Europe. I know that to some opponents of our entry this is one of the strongest arguments for saying, "No". I heard this view expressed with considerable eloquence at the first of the Brighton conferences, where, incidentally, the heated and the occasionally intolerant atmosphere of the conference hall provided a sad contrast to the bracing air of the seafront. However, I remain convinced that it is a dangerous and outdated view which fails to take account of the realities of life. The idea that what is good for the wicked capitalist is necessarily bad for the worker is about as relevant to-day as the long discredited claim that what is good for General Motors is good for the United States. I cannot understand how some of our trade unions can fail to see that better opportunties for growth—and, after all, this is what many of our business men are expecting from Europe—offer a hope of greater demand for labour and a steady, soundly-based, long-term increase in real earnings.
But, in my opinion, in the final analysis the decision to enter or stay out should not be taken primarily on economic considerations. It is a decision that may well shape our destiny for decades to come, and it should he concerned with our long-term security, the future of Europe, our role and place in the world and our influence on its development. I firmly believe that on these grounds the case for entry is overwhelming. It will enhance our influence in Europe and Europe's influence for good in the world. It is not a question of signing our sovereignty away; it is a matter of freely entering into an association of independent nations in the conviction that we can better solve our common problems and fulfil our mutual aspirations by working together. It is not a question of calculating and quantifying the pros and cons right down to the last detail; it is a question of faith and judgment. In my judgment, a decision to stay out would be a decision to opt out of the challenge of our time, which would deservedly 642 condemn us to a role of declining influence in both Europe and the world. This is why I shall vote for the Motion before your Lordships' House, for to do otherwise would be to betray my own convictions.
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ LORD STRANGE
My Lords, I shall not be very long. I am speaking rather differently from others; I am speaking from a view point which I take to be the viewpoint of the really tough manufacturer. That is what this question is all about and we have to deal with it. He has to survive in his factory business. He has to compete with other factories here and with factories in other countries. It is a matter purely of the survival of the fittest. I think he would look at it from this point of view: Japan, the Common Market and ourselves have something in common; we are all 'trying to make money by manufacture. We have not got enough raw materials in our countries to do this without importing them from some other place. Britain, of course, has the best chance of getting these raw materials from our Commonwealth, and without them, not tomorrow but in x years' time, the position would become very serious. The country which has the goodwill of the foreign countries with raw materials is the country that will win; that I am certain about.
We have still goodwill among the older people in our Commonwealth. They remember the wars. I am speaking from a tough, commercial point of view; I am not speaking grammatically. They remember the past, and they speak the same language. The' supply of raw materials throughout our large old Commonwealth was endless. I personally think that if anybody were to send politicians out there it would be lethal; it might end in civil wars all over the place. My Lords, I think politicians are wonderful people! If you read their election addresses, if you read what they say, you do not know where they get all these ideas from—the good of the world, the good of human nature, the good of people. the good of everybody, their belief in equality. But I am speaking now as the tough commercial man speaks. What we want is raw materials and the way to get them, and the only way to get them is to send out the young commercial travellers, paying them to go out and to talk and 643 with definite assignments in all countries. Go to Rhodesia. What do we want? We want their raw material, which is vital and which is at present going to Russia and being resold to us. We want it, but we have not an enormous amount of money to pay for it. I have never realised before that we are so rich—450 million a day. We had a Government that could only pay a Guardsman ls.6d. and a very distinguished Ensign 10s.6d. a day. I never realised we were rich. I know we can gain these raw materials in this way, and that we have influence over them. We control them, in a very gentlemanly way. And when we have done that, in the years to come Japan and the Common Market countries will have to talk to us and be civil to us. They cannot go on without us.
I know some noble Lords do not realise how serious this matter of raw materials is. Hitler could not have fought his war without taking Norway to get Naroik, to bring down iron ore. He did not have enough raw materials in his country. Of course he had some personal spite as well. He killed off the Jews to get the money off them, even if only from ghettoes, to buy raw materials from Sweden. That was the reason he was killing off the Jews. He knew the Jews had money and he got the money off them anyway. That was his idea. We cannot live in the future—against Japan and these people—without having raw materials that we can control. My Lords, that is all I will say on that subject.
§ LORD BROWN
My Lords, before the noble Lord leaves the subject, may I ask whether he is aware that what is worrying many Commonwealth countries is the loss of their preferential right to supply us with raw materials? We do not lose the right to get more raw materials because we go into the Common Market. They may lose a preferential right which they value very highly to supply us.
§ LORD STRANGE
Thank you very much. I was speaking of first things first. Before we start going into the Common Market, let us get some bargaining power. We are paying a large amount of entrance money to go in, and it goes against the grain. After all they are old friends; we can talk to them. The City of London is full of money; the politicians can fix it all up. Let us have that first. Let us 644 have the raw materials so that if Germany wants iron again she will have to talk to us. We say, "Of course, we are only too pleased". Also we get a little money from it and the Colonies get money. We do not let them have it for nothing.
§ LORD STRANGE
I am not suggesting that. If we are going on like this I shall never finish the speech. I have my watch in my hand because sometimes I have spoken for a rather long time. I have 77 points to make, so let us try to keep matters straight. I have made the points before about the actual entry and I do not want to make them again. I have spoken about fisheries. I said various things, but I can sum it up in this way. In the tough world, gentlemen's agreements are merely things which are thrown out in the hope that the other side is a mug. Nothing is any good unless it is signed and stamped and sealed and delivered. Take our fisheries: it is a case of the "haves" and the "have nots", and the "have nots" have enough votes to vote out the "haves"; so we can rule our inshore fisheries out for good.
The next point I made was about agriculture and I spoke for a long time. Some noble Lords thought it was an all-night debate so I will not say more. We are going to have to pay the Common Market to put agriculture right, so that they can export stuff to us. If we like doing it that way we can, but it is not a good way to do commerce. To do that, we stop New Zealand products from coming in, whereas we ourselves designed the whole country. We produced their land and their butter, which is a wonderful product. It is a wonderful country. They produce butter extremely well and it comes here economically. They are people who like the equality and the way they live. They do not want to manufacture anything; they want to buy our goods in exchange for their produce. Factories start off trouble in a country, with strikes and so on.
The point which has been made so often this evening by different people is how well we are going to do in the Common Market. Someone is going to do well out of it, but will it be us? I know people who not so long ago went 645 round the world selling British goods. People abroad liked our goods; they thought they were wonderful. They ordered them, but they had an awful job to get them, and when they did get them there were no spare parts for them. Those people could not get delivery when they had placed orders. In the end they chose the British goods they liked best, and copied them, and had the thing running properly. I do not think we are in a state to go in against a very tough Common Market. The Leyland motor car we know as a very good product. It sells all over the world. But as the noble Lord, Lord Molson, said, "What has happened to Rolls Royce?" Can we really compete? I do not know. I know that we have the most wonderful system of unofficial strikes in this country.
§ LORD SAINSBURY
My Lords, some of us are anxious to have a summing up from the Government Bench, and if the noble Lord kept a little closer to the subject under discussion we might get it more quickly.
§ LORD STRANGE
My Lords, we all know that I talk too much, so I will come to the point. The point is a very simple one. I think that many noble Lords who will vote for going into the Common Market will be extremely sorry in years to come that they have done so.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE, FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN)
My Lords, we are coming now to the end of the first day of what I know your Lordships will agree is possibly the most important debate that we have had in this House for a great many years, and certainly the vote at the end of the debate will be one of the most important. If I may say so, I have listened with great interest to the many speeches that have been made to-day. Some thirty speeches have been made, and I was greatly impressed by the high quality of them, and indeed by their relative brevity. I shall try to follow the example of noble Lords in this respect, and I promise not to keep the House very long this evening. First of all, I should like to pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Zuckerman, for his most remarkable and interesting maiden 646 speech. I feel that it is almost an impertinence to compliment the noble lord, but I do so very humbly, and express the hope that now that he perhaps has a little more time we shall be having the benefit of his wisdom and experience in your Lordships' House on a great many occasions.
I should like to-night to confine my remarks primarily to the questions concerning the Commonwealth and EFTA. On succeeding days in this debate my colleagues who will be speaking from this Box will be covering other aspects of the negotiations and other aspects of the debate that have been raised to-day and will be in the next two days. One of the principal concerns of this Government, when we were negotiating with the European Community, was of course the safeguarding of Commonwealth interests. As your Lordships are aware, there was some very tough bargaining on these matters, but I am convinced, and Her Majesty's Government are convinced, that the terms which our negotiating team have secured are fair not only to this country but also to the Commonwealth, and that these terms would provide clear safeguards for the interests of Commonwealth countries and for Britain's ties with the Commonwealth. This is not just my conviction or, indeed, that of the Government. My noble friend Lord Harvey of Prestbury pointed out to-day that Mr. Arnold Smith, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, is on record as saying quite recently that he believes British entry will make the Commonwealth more important and not less so.
I think that this Government, and indeed the previous Government, were perfectly correct to define as the two most sensitive Commonwealth problems those of New Zealand and those of the developing sugar producers. I think one can claim that the arrangements we have made with the Community for New Zealand constitute a remarkable guarantee for her dairy industry. Even in 1977 New Zealand will he guaranteed sales of 136,000 tons of butter and of 15,000 tons of cheese.
These are minimum guarantees, and she might well sell more. Since the prices which we estimate New Zealand would receive would be substantially above the level of recent years, this would 647 give her the prospect over the five years after British entry into the Community of total earnings at or above the level of those which she has enjoyed in our market in recent years. Moreover—and this is very important—we have agreed that the enlarged Community would undertake to pursue a trade policy which would not frustrate New Zealand's efforts to diversify her own economic structure.
My Lords, the Government are not alone in believing that this deal for our allies in New Zealand is a satisfactory one. The New Zealand Government and the great majority of the New Zealand people regard these terms as a major concession from the Community and as a satisfactory basis for their future. For instance, soon after the terms became known, the New Zealand Prime Minister said:I am confident that we can safeguard New Zealand's interests within the framework of the broad agreement reached between Britain and the Six. No other country will enjoy the same advantages.The longer after the terms were known, the more did the New Zealand Government hold the same view.
I remember Mr. Marshall, the Overseas Trade Minister, made a statement about a month after, when public opinion in New Zealand had had time to become clearer. He said:… we can fairly claim that we have got the best possible deal for New Zealand. The Dairy Board says that, and so do the dairy farmers and so do the people of New Zealand as a whole.There are other quotations in similar vein which I will not weary your Lordships with to-night. I think it is important to point out that if responsible New Zealanders, whose interests would be directly affected by the terms we have achieved on New Zealand, believe that they should not constitute an obstacle to British membership of the European Community, I can see no reason why any of us should think that we know better than that.
The other major problem was that of sugar from the developing Commonwealth. The terms we have negotiated include the offer of arrangements for continuing sugar imports into Britain and the enlarged Community after 1974 within the framework of association or trading agreements, together with the 648 assurance that the enlarged Community, of which Britain would be a member, would have as its firm purpose the safeguarding of the interests of the developing countries concerned. The Government believe that this offer constitutes a firm assurance of a secure and continuing market for sugar from the developing countries whose sugar industries are signatories of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement.
But we did not proceed on the basis of our own views alone, as your Lordships know. We wanted, first of all, to consult the Commonwealth countries concerned, and this we did. In this aspect of our negotiations also, the Government are not alone in their confidence in the terms secured. For instance, those who I think are best qualified to pass judgment—that is, the leaders of the developing Commonwealth sugar producing countries—have also expressed their satisfaction, as have representatives of the Commonwealth Sugar Exporters' Association and the West Indies Sugar Association, who were certainly previously sceptical of our ability to find a satisfactory solution.
Those who have sought to cast doubts on the value of the Government's assurances on the subject of sugar—and I recognise that there are people who have doubts about this—have made little headway with those whose interests would be directly affected. In the negotiations with the Six, we in this country had a grave responsibility not to the sugar producers alone but to the whole of the developing Commonwealth. I believe that these responsibilities were discharged with honour and, indeed, success. Fortunately, the countries of the existing Community have similar responsibilities to other developing countries, and so they looked with some sympathy on our own. As regards the Asian Commonwealth countries, for whom association with the Community would not be appropriate, we secured from the Community a firm undertaking that, after enlargement, we and they would be ready to examine with the countries concerned any trade problems that might arise, and to take whatever measures might be necessary to maintain and expand trade between us. I should like to be quite clear about this. The Community's undertaking in this respect constitutes a specific assurance.
649 Elsewhere, the independent developing Commonwealth countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and also Fiji, Mauritius, Tonga and Western Samoa would be able to choose their future relationship with the enlarged Community. As I think noble Lords know, the Community have offered these countries several alternative links which could comprise, on the one hand, the fullest kind of association based on the model of the Yaoundé Convention or, if preferred, looser agreements or trading arrangements. Under the Yaoundé Convention arrangements, the form of association would allow the countries concerned duty free entry for a large proportion of their exports into Britain and also into the whole of the enlarged Community. They would also qualify for Community aid. But the decision, the option on the form of relationship which these countries would have with the Community, would be theirs to make, and rightly so.
So far as what one might call the older Commonwealth is concerned, we also took the position of Canada and Australia very seriously into account during our negotiations. As a result, we succeeded in obtaining a number of duty-free quotas of direct and important commercial value to the Canadians and Australians. We also secured a firm assurance from the Community that speedy and effective action would be taken to deal with any abrupt dislocation of trade in agricultural products. But we must bear in mind that not only will there be a change in trading patterns as a result of the enlargement of the Community, but also—and this has been pointed out by several noble Lords—That these trading patterns have been changing already in the ten years, and would continue to do so in any event. The United States has long been Canada's best customer and Australia's largest export markets are now the U.S.A. and Japan. Only 12 per cent. of Australia's export earnings, for example, are now dependent on her trade with us.
These countries are young, dynamic and have well-equipped economies and ample resources, and my view—and I think I am not alone in this—is that they are well-equipped to meet the challenge of the future. Indeed, I think that they themselves also realise this. Mr. Douglas Anthony, the Australian Trade Minister, who must be very well qualified to judge, 650 told the Australian House of Representatives that…. we should not be pessimistic about our ability to be competitive also in Europe. Because the enlarged Community will account for about 40 per cent. of world trade, we must come to trading terms with the Community. I am confident that we can find ways of doing so".I should like to make a general reflection on the nature of the Commonwealth in the context of this country's entry into the Community. Among the links which bind the Commonwealth are a common language, common traditions and a worldwide network of positive working relations in a large number of fields—Parliamentary, educational, developmental et cetera. But the Commonwealth is not, has never been and never will he a purely economic grouping. The mutual relationship with the European Community which we may now enjoy in the future would, I am sure, provide an additional bond based on economic interest and relevant to the world of to-day, and this should strengthen rather than weaken the links between the members of the Commonwealth.
May I now turn very briefly to the European Free Trade Association? I sometimes wonder whether those people in this country who express concern about the position of our EFTA partners in the event of British entry have taken notice of statements made by members of EFTA themselves. After all, wider European integration remains EFTA'S objective and. in the words of the last EFTA annual Report,The year closed in a mood of confidence as the prospect of achieving wider European integration seemed brighter".Thus, as the enlargement negotiations with the European Community—which also involve two members of EFTA in addition to ourselves—progress successfully, so EFTA's basic objectives are being realised.
EFTA'S examination of the arrangements necessary to maintain this free trade after enlargement has been based on three objectives. First, all the nine countries of EFTA would reach agreement, either, as in the case of ourselves, the Danes, the Norwegians and the Irish, on accession to the Community, or on special economic links with it. Secondly, it was desirable that these agreements should all come into force at the same time.
651 Thirdly, the agreements should all be compatible with the provisions of the GATT. These objectives correspond with the publicly stated wishes of the Council of the Community, and of course with the way in which the British Government see EFTA evolving. We hope, therefore, that enlargement of the European Community will bring about the de factomerging of the E.E.C. and EFTA. This would certainly mark the achievement of a major foreign policy aim of successive British Governments and, as I have pointed out, of the signatories to the Stockholm Convention. Before I conclude, I should like to refer to the question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Crook, who told me that he could not be—
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, before the noble Marquess goes on, and before he leaves economic matters, may I ask whether he is going to deal with the question I put to him about the attitude of Her Majesty's Government to, for example, the Werner Plan? Are we, or are we not, voting for a common currency? Are we, or are we not, going to have a central Community bank? Is that the kind of development the noble Marquess expects, if we go in?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, I think my noble friend the Leader of the House will be referring to this matter when he winds up on Thursday evening. So far as the Werner Plan is concerned, the noble Lord will be aware that this is something which at the moment is very much in the air and, so far as I am aware, it has not been considered in any depth by the members of the Community. But my noble friend will be answering in more detail on Thursday evening.
To turn to the noble Lord, Lord Crook, who asked a specific question about the Commission's draft directives on the right of establishment of opticians and, indeed, of other medical and liberal professions, the position is this. The Council of Ministers have not yet given their approval to the draft directives on the optical profession, nor to those on any of the other liberal professions, and we have no reason to suppose that they will do so in the short period remaining before the beginning of the interim period 652 arrangements. In effect, this I think means that the drafts that the noble Lord mentioned are most unlikely to be approved—in fact, will certainly not be approved—without our being given a formal opportunity to express our views on both the substance and the detail. I can assure the noble Lord, and any other noble Lords who are worried about these matters, that the Government are fully aware of the concern expressed by the British optical profession about certain aspects of the drafts as they stand, and that they will continue to bear this matter very much in mind.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, may I at this point draw the attention of the noble Marquess to the fact that the noble Lord. Lord Crook, is not present in the Chamber to hear his summing up?
§ LORD GLADWYN
I beg the noble Lord's pardon. But there are about 12 other Members who took part in the debate who are not present.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, I have in fact seen the noble Lord, Lord Crook, outside the Chamber, when he told me he could not stay for my winding up. I was not at that stage certain whether I would have the answer for him or not.
My Lords, I think that, whatever our views, we are all now well aware of the historic nature of this decision that we are about to take. In my belief it is not only one of weighing the balance of economic or political advantage or disadvantage, although this is indeed a vital element and I have no doubt myself that the advantages are predominant. But there is something more. We are surely witnessing in Europe something which has never happened before in history: a voluntary coming together of the States of Western Europe, both economically and politically, with the purpose of achieving what so far Europe has never properly achieved—freedom from internal wars, security, peace and a reasonable and steady level of prosperity and employment for her peoples. This is indeed a worthy aim. As a result, a new and potent force is growing up on our doorstep, and I believe that this country. 653 must throw in its lot with it or be condemned to a slow decline. In any case, like it or not, whatever happens in Europe in the years ahead, whether in politics or economics or in whatever you like, it is going to affect us in Britain more and more. I believe also that it will have an influence on the rest of the world, including, for example, the Commonwealth. I was recently in East Africa, and I was able to see for myself there the operation of the Community's special relations with the three countries of the East African Community who have close free trade arrangements with the Six and who, together with Mauritius, have applied for forms of association. These countries, and the existing associates, clearly attach considerable importance to the arrangements that they have made.
My Lords, in the years to come the Community will no doubt have what one might call its ups and downs. No doubt there will be more growing pains after enlargement; but without any doubt at all it will continue to grow. Surely for this reason it is even more important that we should be there on the inside, helping to mould and shape our future in Europe, and not be just almost helpless 654 bystanders. I agree with what my noble friend Lord Hertford said just now, that we must not have a short-term view about Britain in this, but must look ahead to the future of our children and our grandchildren. As my noble friend Lady Emmet said, British history will soon be setting out on a new road. I realise that in this country there are many people who are alarmed by this because they like the familiar paths of life. But surely, my Lords, as the negotiations have made plain, the road upon which we are setting out is not an unknown road, it is not an unmapped road, but is one in regard to which we already have a pretty good idea of the way. Therefore, I hope that on Thursday evening this House will give its sign for this great journey to begin.
§ THE PAYMASTER GENERAL (VISCOUNT ECCLES)
My Lords, I beg to move that this debate be now adjourned until to-morrow.
§ Moved, That the debate be now adjourned until to-morrow.—(Viscount Eccles).
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly.