Sadly the Barnet brigade of the Conservative Party who are supporting the Out end of the argument do a rather good impersonation of Dumb and Dumber. First of all, look at this map of Europe. Have a look at the bit shaded blue.
|click on image for readable version|
|Click on image for a readable version|
Then there is his old buddy from Barnet Council, former Tory GLA member Brian Coleman. He has been on Twitter chastising his former friend Mike Freer, MP for Finchley for his decision to support the Stay in camp.
Brian Coleman clearly wants you to believe that Lady Thatcher was an anti European. Nothing could be further from the truth. Thatcher signed the single largest piece of Pro Federal Europe legislation into law. That was the Single European Act. What did this do?
"A core element of the SEA was to create a Single Market within the European Community by 1992, a date by which, it was hoped, the legislative reforms seen necessary would have been completed. In order to make this objective possible the SEA reformed the legislative process by introducing the Cooperation procedure and by extending Qualified Majority Voting to new areas. Measures were taken to shorten the legislative process. The SEA intended to remove barriers and to increase harmonisation and competitiveness among its countries."How anyone can claim that someone who signed legisation called "The Single European" act which enacted this legislation, would not be supportive of an in vote beggars belief. Thatcher won three elections and had sizeable majorities (far greater than Camerons). She campaigned for the Yes campaign to stay in in 1975. Despite the hyperbole of those such as Coleman, Thatcher was an arch pragmatist. Whatever your view of her, she always acted in what she perceived was the best interests of the UK. She clearly wasn't a Euro Federalist, but was most definitely a very pragmatic pro European, who saw the benefits of UK membership.
If this is the best the anti European Tories can do, then we are in for a hysterically funny campaign. One of my Tory friends who was on the train and saw Offords quote told me "It is a bit embarrasing really, I am surprised he hasn't reworded it". It would be nice to have a sensible debate about Europe in the London Borough of Barnet. I would suggest anyone thinking of organising such a public event to give these two a wide berth. Barnets answer to Dumb and Dumber really wouldn't help anyone make their mind up.