Harold Wilson's 1975 referendum on membership of what was then the Common Market was a political masterstroke. It healed the rifts in the Labour Party as the two sides in the debate came together,membership was accepted and the government settled down to grapple with its major problem;tackling rocketing inflation .
David Cameron's 2016 referendum won't have the same happy outcome.The country and the Tory party are more divided The bitterness is unlikely to heal quickly,.The promises made on both sides are too great to ever be delivered . Wilson's shaped a consensus on how to solve tbhe problems facing the nation Cameron's has produced embittering divisions,and the Europe to which Wilson delivered us ,was far less demanding than the one to which a Remain majority delivers us bound,and gagged but grumbling and embittered..
The Prime minister has committed the most un-Tory sin of breaking under fire.He got rattled and panicked into fear overkill with blood chilling predictions about a Brexit future of high unemployment a collapsing pound and world war three.Osborne was even worse with his hysterical doomsday budget a forty billion pound package of cuts and tax increases which was immediately disowned by many in his party.
Having been told how well Britain was doing thanks to EU membership the public expects better times Instead, the Chancellor, back where he started with growing deficits in finance and trade will want to stick to his old programme and revert to austerity and cuts..He's in a hole;at least four billion adrift in budget balancing,growth slowing,exports suffering and a pound which must fall as a consequence of the growing trade deficit.Hard times lie ahead
As for Labour it showed itself better for opposition than power.Corbyn bored for Britain but showed not a glimmer of political nous.Looking to the EU to protect workers and unions indicated an assumption that Labour wasn't going to win power to improve their lot itself.Its fight against austerity was naive rather than believable. It's a little circuitous to fight austerity by saving the government imposing it so it can retain office to impose more It's incredible to be praising an EU which is imposing vicious austerity on Greece and the Mediterranean members.Labour is clearly more comfortable with preaching than power.
As for the EU a victory for Remain means it can ignore Britain and stagger on to meet the worse problem of the rise of extremist politics everywhere else.The Euro is the cause of the problem but the EU can neither make it work nor stop it producing economic disaster by imposing deflation and austerity on the Mediterranean countries in a futile effort to stay competitive with Germany.So Greece will continue to be punished and refused by the debt relief which is the only possible solution Spain,Portugal and Italy will face horrendous youth unemployment,voters will rebel then find there's nothing they can do.All the praise Remain has lavished on the EU will look more relevant to Mars than reality
The Euro induced deflation in turn makes a mockery of the great benefits claimed for the single European market. We were already loosing out in that market with a growing trade deficit draining jobs ,demand and companies out of Britain That must be compounded by the low growth high unemployment the Euro has produced.Other,growing markets will look attractive but the EU has to handle negocitions with them and there French insistence on agricultural protection weakens our hand. In the face of this British businesses claims about the joys of the single market and its pride in exporting more to Luxembourg than to China will look a little daft.
As for the prospect held out (once again)that staying in the EU will allow Britain to reform,even lead the EU it will vanish In the new Europe of sauve qui peut Britain is on the periphery,while the core,Euro,members concentrate on making the euro work by the development of Eurozone institutions and some form of central budgeting and financial management .Britain can be taken for granted and ignored. Our leaders will still have what they wanted all along,a bigger stage to strut on but now with nothing to say and no one listening