The Bruges Group spearheads the intellectual battle against the notion of "ever-closer Union" in Europe and, above all, against British involvement in a single European state.

Paper No. 41

Ultimate Vindication: The Spectator and Europe 1966-79

Thomas Teodorczuk 

Contents

Introduction

The British political establishment’s unanimity relating to the desirability of securing Common Market membership seems an anomaly when set against the backdrop of a steadily fracturing post-war political and economic consensus that intensified during the 1970s. Historians chronicling the “great debate” have brusquely relegated the anti-Marketeer cause of that time to the sidelines, but its role apropos fostering a climate for the formidable rise of Euroscepticism from the late 1980s onwards – characterised by a conversion in attitude among many leading politicians and newspapers – cries out for further analysis.

Peter Mandelson is right to observe that, “one story on Europe that is rarely written by journalists is the story of the British media and Europe.”1 It is often erroneously assumed that the Eurosceptic position currently adopted by the majority of the press has been in existence time immemorial. However, Britain’s accession to the EEC and the subsequent referendum to retain membership commanded the full support of Fleet Street without exception. Therefore The Spectator acted as a unique mainstream media forum for opposition to the Common Market to be expressed; in turn Europe dominated its overall outlook during this time to such an extent that it often verged on being a one-issue paper. The backlash against the European coverage following the seemingly conclusive referendum in June 1975 resulted in a new editor, Alexander Chancellor (1975-84) making the issue notorious for its absence. Although The Spectator enjoys a reputation for having an inflexible editorial policy allowing its contributors a free argumentative rein, the opinions expressed over the European question were, to a great extent, controlled by the views of its editors between 1966-75: Nigel Lawson (1966-70), George Gale (1970-73) and Harold Creighton (1973-75).

Therefore the correlation as expressed by the views of the editorial line and outside contributions was markedly strong. Even when Chancellor abandoned the vehement campaign led by Gale and Creighton to extricate Britain from the Common Market, the issue was still editorially led in the sense that a deliberate decision had been taken to scale down coverage.

The history of The Spectator between 1966 and 1979 was symptomatic of an overall downturn in the fortunes of the political weeklies during the same period. Contrasting the “Golden Age” of the 1950s and the revival that has occurred during the last two decades, The Spectator suffered from declining circulation and a precarious financial position. Since the paper prided itself (and still does) on being the leading journal of the political right, editorial philosophies would often be intrinsically related to a certain prevalent strand of Conservative thinking. Thus during the editorships of Ian Gilmour (1954-9) and Iain Macleod (1963-5), before the period I am focusing on, The Spectator supported joining the EEC, embodying the “One Nation Conservatism” that manifested itself during both men’s subsequent stints as Conservative cabinet ministers.

Each editor’s tenure will be analysed individually using three criteria: how The Spectator’s editorial outlook developed in regards to European integration, the reasoning behind its editorial line and how this related to the rest of the paper’s coverage. Writing in The Times, Philip Howard argued in 1976 that, “the character of The Spectator has had a personality crisis approaching nervous breakdown over the past decade … for 10 years it became loud and bigoted, a raving right-winger ranting against the EEC.”2 Such a sentiment was indicative of the backlash against its European argument during the early 1970s. But given that in its 1997 election editorial, The Times recommended that its readers vote for their constituency Eurosceptic candidate whatever their party allegiance, it would seem that The Spectator during the period in question was a harbinger for future media discordance with the European Union. It is high time that both the nature and effect of the paper’s attitude towards Europe was re-examined, in the light of the “great debate” fiercely continuing into the twenty-first century.

Myths and Realities:
Nigel Lawson 1966—70

Until 1970 The Spectator regarded EEC membership as necessary for revitalising British economic and global interests that had steadily declined in the post-war climate. Lawson replaced Iain Macleod as editor, who resigned upon becoming Shadow Chancellor in December 1965. Lawson retained Macleod’s favourable attitude towards the Common Market expressing his delight in the Editor’s Notebook that consensus had been reached via the Luxembourg Agreement that ended the French boycott of EEC institutions: “Now that the Six have settled their own differences and in so satisfactory a manner, there is no longer any excuse for us to delay a further attempt to secure British entry” (4 February 1966). Enthusiasm for integration was connected with pessimism for the domestic economy: “If we do not go into Europe, it is clear that we cannot face the vigorous competition of the Six with our present over-valued currency.” Lawson also expressed the popular view that as a leading member of the EEC, Britain could “find the world role she has been seeking so long.” Regarding the March 1966 election Lawson commented: “Europe is the supreme issue at this election … no one who genuinely believes in a European Britain can vote Labour” (25 March 1966).

Following his victory, The Spectator welcomed the reversal of Harold Wilson’s European policy, But given its economic and international standing, Lawson wrote on 29 April 1966 “for all the recent talk, Britain is about as far away from entering Europe as ever.” Although an editorial on 18 November 1966 conceded that Wilson “has moved with intelligence” on gearing up Britain to make a second EEC application, a “French veto is more likely than not to remain.” Should this be the case, The Spectator called for the establishment of a collective Monetary Fund or Defence Community: “the only alternative to Europe is Europe.” Disenchantment with government policy manifested itself throughout the late 1960s: “The British attitude is earning us some extremely black marks in Europe, both East and West” (21 October 1966). Lawson questioned “whether Mr Wilson really wants to succeed” (6 January 1967) and pronounced on 27 February 1967 that he “has yet to learn a number of basic facts of European life.”

The Spectator declared on 17 March 1967 that failure to join the EEC was “as sure as anything in politics can be” and called for a more “European- orientated policy.” Linked to this was a failure to modernise that meant, “this country has not since the Thirties been more out of touch with the forces at work on the Continent.” Nevertheless, the interim measure that de Gaulle hinted at – of being part of the EEC but not enjoying member privileges or voting rights – was perceived to be a viable alternative. Even though the paper had previously anticipated British entry being rejected, it was not until May 1967 that a second application for UK membership was formally made. A special Common Market issue of 5 May 1967 set out the “Twelve Labours of Harold” that Britain needed to overcome to secure entry- “inevitably the list makes dismal reading.” Lawson doubted the effectiveness of EFTA and listed de Gaulle himself as one of the twelve obstacles, for his “wholly negative” approach towards Britain’s application. But Lawson regarded the main one as the shift needed in the mindset from American subservience to that of European unity (further developed a week later in an editorial that focussed on the prospects of a European Defence Alliance.) De Gaulle’s “velvet veto”, was interpreted as a “direct result of the total failure of the government to undertake the basic preliminary of detailed Anglo-French discussions.” Reiterating the possibility of Britain becoming an initial transitory member, the paper reported on 19 May 1967 that “informed opinion is increasingly coming round to the view long held by The Spectator that devaluation provides the only way out.”

In the run-up to the EEC veto, Lawson elaborated on his ideal of an Anglo-European special relationship, primarily with the French, specialising in monetary and defence policy. Whilst Britain did not gain from the 1967 negotiations, she could not betray her neighbours by rejecting the EEC. The solution, according to The Spectator on 1 December 1967, lay in confidential and commercial agreements working towards political unity: “such a strategy would turn the sorry if predictable (and predated) end of the latest glorious failure to good account.” But Lawson was faced with the paradox, that however low his opinion of the Wilson administration, it was de Gaulle who had blocked the stability that he believed the UK would derive from Community membership. In “How to take ‘No’ for an answer” he argued on 22 December 1967 that, “the final outcome was as satisfactory as we could hope for … [the veto] saves the European ambitions of this country from the risk of irreparable damage through prolonged humiliation.” A fresh Franco-German proposal to develop closer relations between the EEC and the rejected applicants was praised on 26 January 1968 as an opportunity for convergence between Britain and Europe; however, “the feverish attitude adopted by the Foreign Office towards anything emanating from Paris” rendered satisfaction unlikely.

Over the course of 1968 The Spectator grew slightly more critical of Britain’s European allies. The delay in further integration led Lawson on 6 December 1968 to fear that the EEC, “may have to revert to the status of little more than a free trade area.” An editorial on 14 February 1969 mused, “perhaps General de Gaulle is genuinely determined to exclude us at all costs.” But Lawson soon reverted to casting aspersions domestically, arguing on 23 May 1969 that “no government in its senses could enter into such a negotiation with the present British government- which in any case is in no condition to undertake it.” As a general election drew nearer, the editorial line began to become more party political. A removal of the Labour government was necessary, “for all who wish to see Britain play a leading part in the making of Europe.” Harold Wilson was deemed to have “embraced the [European] cause in 1967 simply because he could not think of anything else to do”; a Labour victory would only lead to a “third botched attempt that would benefit no-one” (20 August 1969).

Approaching the end of both his editorship and Wilson’s administration, on 14 February 1970, Lawson endorsed the theory of “selective European integration”, encompassing the defence and technology industries. The Spectator adopted a harsher line towards EEC institutions, describing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on 11 October 1969 as “ramshackle and ruinously expensive.” However, the political idealism of European integration remained : “the way ahead is there, if only we have the sense to identify it” (14 February 1970). But Lawson’s scant regard for the modus operandi increasingly dampened his enthusiasm: “The Foreign Office goes blithely on in its masochistic way, determined to show the bureaucrats of Brussels that … the higher the hurdles they erect the better opportunity they have to stretch our legs … if we go on this way, then whoever wins the election, Europe (including Britain) will be the loser” (4 April 1970). During the election campaign, Lawson himself lost his position as editor of The Spectator.

By the end of his editorship, Lawson’s attitude towards Britain and the EEC remained broadly similar to what it had been in 1966. Rejecting the attractive political notion that the Community needed Britain to spearhead a Western Alliance, The Spectator consistently argued the opposite: economically deficient and suffering from an Atlantic “myth”, the UK would immensely benefit from joining the Six. Rather than adapt its position in response to events, Harold Wilson’s steady conversion to seek British membership or de Gaulle’s veto reinforced The Spectator’s attitude. The constant calls for closer European monetary ties echoed by Lawson in the 1960s continued into his political career and partially account for his resignation as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1989. In his memoirs, Lawson writes that “I had been a believer in closer European unity ever since my days at Oxford in the early 1950s”, when he had served as President of the Strasbourg Club, a society devoted to supporting European integration.3 However, an exception to his steadfast consistency lay over a future single European currency. Lawson’s Spectator subscribed to the Gaullist philosophy of a Europe of nation states rather than unbridled federalism and this opposition to monetary union continues to this day.4 But in an editorial on 6 December 1968, The Spectator recorded that, “the lack of progress towards a common currency is the fundamental flaw in the structure of the European Community.” Lawson himself wrote the paper’s editorials and if it was someone else who had expressed support for a single currency, this was never subsequently disclosed or quantified by the editor.

Lawson saw no contradiction between advancing British interests within Europe and vigorously berating the Labour government for its attitude towards the Six. He echoed de Gaulle’s belief that fundamental change was needed in order for Britain to join the Community that required the maintenance of co-operation at an intergovernmental level. Indeed the position was reminiscent of Harold MacMillan’s analysis of the General’s vision, during the first UK application for membership: “L’Europe à l’Anglais sans les Anglais.”5 Lawson was sacked as editor whilst campaigning as a Conservative Party candidate for Eton and Slough during the 1970 general election and his political allegiance partly accounts for the ferocity of his criticisms of Wilson. However, The Spectator’s attitude reflected the wider press judgement that the 1967 application was made to distract attention from the Rhodesian crisis and the economic mess at home.

Lawson served two proprietors, Ian Gilmour and Harold Creighton, not enjoying a warm relationship with either. Despite having previously edited The Spectator, Gilmour did not attempt to exercise any direct control over the paper’s contents. Whilst sharing a broadly similar outlook with Lawson, Gilmour disagreed with his support for devaluation and the virulent manner of the opposition expressed at Wilson. But if Gilmour and himself were in his words, “never soulmates”6, Lawson’s relationship with the subsequent proprietor, Harold Creighton was even more problematic. The editor went out of his way to avoid the new owner. Lawson resisted Creighton’s attempts to influence aspects of The Spectator’s editorial policy by invoking a clause in his contract guaranteeing independence. He later wrote that his dismissal from The Spectator, was due to the proprietor wishing "to control editorial policy himself",7 though Creighton cited Lawson’s political ambitions as having made his position untenable. In spite of his successor reversing the European line, Creighton did not attempt to influence editorial comment on this issue and it was not connected to Lawson’s departure. The sentiments expressed by some of his peers concerning Lawson’s brusque arrogance partially accounts for Gilmour’s retrospective opinion that he should have appointed John Thompson, Lawson’s deputy, as editor in 1966.8 On 7 November 1992, Lawson told The Spectator that, “the whole of my previous professional life had in effect been a preparation for this [becoming Chancellor].”

Lawson’s philosophy for the non-editorial pages of The Spectator in relation to Europe was that they would reinforce the views expressed in his leading articles. This approach quantifies Auberon Waugh’s judgement that, like himself, Lawson held, “a certain scepticism about anything [he] was told and an unbudgeable suspicion of political motives.”9 Diversity in its contributors and arguments, often regarded as an important prerequisite of a political weekly such as The Spectator, was distinctly lacking. A particular inclination of Lawson was to refer to in editorials to articles featured later in the issue as a way of further endorsing his arguments. Lawson’s opinions and solutions were mirrored by a select number of specialised writers that principally consisted of Jock Bruce-Gardyne, Malcolm Rutherford and Marc Ullmann. When an important development occurred, The Spectator carried a number of articles on the subject, mostly reflecting the editorial line. For instance, Rutherford’s notion on 20 January 1967 that Wilson “is concerned to talk affaires and General de Gaulle to talk politique”, bore comparison with the leader page argument in the same issue highlighting the discrepancy between the British myth and the French reality.

Likewise Bruce-Gardyne, who replaced Rutherford as Foreign Editor in 1967, encapsulated Lawson’s view following Britain’s failed application, that, “the real lesson is not that we should give up the attempt, but that next time we must make it from strength” (19 January 1968.) As Common Market Correspondent, only Bruce-Gardyne frequently wrote outside the editorial pages on Europe after 1968. Again reflecting the editor’s inclinations, as the general election grew closer, Bruce-Gardyne, the Conservative MP for Angus, became more political. “For all those who wish to see Britain play a leading part in the making of Europe, the case for an early election in the national interest, is overwhelming,” he wrote on 23 May 1969. Using the pseudonym of “Crabro”, he also railed against the CAP, regarding its shortcomings as even more of an incentive to join the EEC. However, after Britain’s unsuccessful application for membership, Lawson’s Spectator focused more on the conflicts in Africa and Vietnam than on the EEC, a trend reflected throughout the political press.

However, the convergence of opinion between The Spectator as a whole and the view of its editor were marked by one exception. The position of political commentator seems to have given its incumbent more scope for independence. Lawson inherited Alan Watkins who remained as political commentator until September 1967 when he defected to the New Statesman. Watkins concentrated more on the government’s domestic agenda, leaving the European question per se to Lawson and Bruce-Gardyne. Curiously, given that he confessed to knowing “practically nothing about politics”,10 Auberon Waugh was Watkins’ replacement. Although he claimed that Lawson extensively tutored him on the issues of the day,11 Waugh’s subsequent articles did not reflect his editor’s enthusiasm for the EEC. The political commentaries were far more likely to be devoted to the Biafran conflict that was taken up by the paper as a cause célèbre. Waugh’s idiosyncratic approach manifested itself when he congratulated Edward Heath on 8 December 1967 for, “the way in which he appears to enjoy fishing for cod off Broadstairs. Let’s all forget about the Market for a while and vote for that.” Lawson’s relaxation of the editorial line for this page was most evident when guest political commentator, Desmond Donnelly, opined that Wilson “deserved great credit for his courageous act of self-conversion” (2 June 1967.) Such sentiments, anathema to the editorial line, would have been unlikely to feature elsewhere in The Spectator.

Despite his protests at the editorial influence wielded by his proprietor, Lawson’s attitude to Europe remained broadly consistent throughout his four year tenure at The Spectator (Creighton would have wished to sack him earlier, but for his long-term contract.) Lawson’s partiality towards European integration reflected the fervid support for Common Market membership shown by the Conservative opposition led by Heath. But the prospect of spearheading a substitute empire or acting as a barrier against socialism was not why the high Tory journal supported British entry.12 Membership of the EEC was advocated on specific political and monetary grounds based around a negative perception of the British government formed by Wilson eschewing a deflationary economic agenda and delaying devaluation until July 1967 (The Spectator had advocated this as early as February 1966.) Therefore Lawson’s Gaullist support for Britain joining the Common Market, that reached its apex during 1967, must be seen as forming part of The Spectator’s wider critique of the prevailing economic orthodoxy during his editorship. From October 1970, the European question took centre stage as Lawson’s replacement launched a strident campaign to prevent Britain’s economic alignment with Western Europe, linking it to the preservation of parliamentary democracy and popular sovereignty.

The Gale Force:
George Gale 1970—73

Three weeks into his editorship, George Gale declared a reversal in The Spectator’s attitude towards European integration. He predicted that Britain would never join the Common Market, “an unnatural and unhistorical and therefore ignorant folly” (10 October 1970). The paper opposed, “any attempt to join the European Economic Community. It stands fast on the principle of preserving the national identity … It rejects the purposes of the present negotiations” (20 February 1971). At the heart of its political, economic and historical objections to the Community lay a belief that integration would erode popular sovereignty and national independence. The Spectator virulently attacked, “the continued efforts of the European conspirators to minimise and blind the public to its potentially disastrous consequences” claiming that, “a considerable majority of the people of this country is opposed to British entry”(20 February 1971). Gale maintained that the majority would have voted against entry, “decisively and possibly overwhelmingly”, as late as 16 December 1972.

According to The Spectator on 10 October 1970, the public was being taken in under false pretences by a formidable establishment masterminded by, “a group of British politicians and intellectuals who are quite literally not able to think of any other acceptable diversion with which to conceal the country’s political and economic weakness.” Referring to the Munich Agreement in 1938, Gale wrote on 17 July 1971: “we cannot afford to be led astray by the establishment again, and seek another disastrous accommodation with Europe reached by the Conservative Party, The Times and the Hampstead set.” Comparing the debate to a “war campaign” on 29 January 1972, The Spectator would fight, “the press, radio television and the Marketeers [who] are contriving to persuade the public that what they are about is important (which it is), right (which it is not) and inevitable (which it also is not.)” Gale’s Spectator stressed its historical opposition to European integration. Arguing that party allegiance needed to be sacrificed for principle, Gale wrote on 14 November 1970 that anti-Marketeers should derive inspiration from Churchill’s 1940 coalition. By 19 February 1972, British entry into the EEC was considered to be “without historical parallel.”

The Spectator’s pessimism extended to the British parliamentary system. “Undemocratically arrived at and undemocratically pursued”, the prolonged and acrimonious Commons movement towards EEC membership served to, “lower yet further the esteem in which Parliament and the system is held” (6 November 1971). Anger at the party’s overwhelmingly pro-European outlook led the paper to eschew its traditional support for the Conservatives. Initially Gale had written on 20 February 1971 that, “except on the issue of principle raised by the European question, The Spectator broadly supports the present administration and the Conservative Party.” But its belief that, “the political morality of the government in its pursuit of its European policy has been the morality of the gutter”, (19 February 1972), ultimately offset this support. Much of its anti-government line consisted of personal attacks on Heath himself who was frequently held to account for his pledge in April 1970 that further integration would not occur “except with the full-hearted consent of the Parliaments and peoples of the new member countries.” Gale blustered that, “if Mr Heath thinks a boat is a bloody good investment, it is not surprising that he also thinks joining the Common Market will be a bloody good thing too … he does not speak the nation’s mind nor do the policies he pursues represent their views”(15 May 1971). The Spectator concluded on 29 May 1971 that, “he [Heath] has become in short a religious fanatic … he is possessed as by a devil.”

During the early 1970s, factions within the Labour Party became more opposed to Community membership, compared with their Conservative counterparts, and The Spectator steadily acknowledged this reversal of its conventional political allegiance: “Many will regret that it is the Labour Party and not the Conservative Party which best serves the nation’s true interest. But it is better late than never, and better the Labour party than neither” (24 July 1971). Heath had deliberately allowed Wilson to “occupy the central position, and to become the party which speaks to Britain” (9 October 1971). Placing parliamentary sovereignty above Parliamentary allegiance, The Spectator predicted on 16 June 1971 that, “Heath will assuredly keep us in for good, Wilson will probably take us out”, testifying that it regarded the European question as the major criterion of support at the next election.

Although the European Communities Act was not signed until July 1972, upon the passing of the Treaty of Accession in January 1972, Gale recognised the increasing inevitability of British membership of the EEC. Therefore on 29 April 1972, he temporarily re-evaluated his opposition following the defeat of a parliamentary amendment calling for a consultative referendum. In “Coming to terms with Europe”, Gale conceded that “it is certain as anything can be” that the UK would adhere to the Treaty of Rome and join the EEC.” “Events” had overtaken “the logic of the matter” and “it seems to me that there is no longer any point, outside Westminster, in editorially arguing the case against entry.” In acknowledging that EEC entry was an “accomplished fact”, while Gale’s attitude might have changed in line with events, his visceral hostility remained. The first task for Britain lay in “telling the upstart Eurocrats to keep civil servant tongues in their heads” (6 May 1972) and he envisaged “a major European political crisis in which we shall have to fight hard for our interests” (26 August 1972).

But with British membership becoming a formality, The Spectator regained its strident populist antagonism. On 17 June 1972 an editorial caricatured the Common Market as a “ramshackle and clapped-out organisation, a bureaucratic paradise and a political hell.” Although the European coverage was lessened overall, the paper continued to support the Labour Party factions opposing the EEC. Upon the Queen’s assent of the European Communities Bill, a surge in republicanism was predicted. “In signing away her birthright … and that of her subjects”, under the influence of the government’s “despotic authority”, Gale implied on 14 October 1972 that as their liberties had been eroded, the public had a right to resist the bill. Again invoking history, The Spectator declared on 30 December 1972 that “Heath has done what Napoleon and Hitler aspired but failed to do. Heath has defeated us.” Although the accession of the UK to the EEC was a “formal act of surrender”, it was conceded that “we face no Armageddon.” Entry was “tantamount to an act of euthanasia rather than being essentially suicidal.”

When Britain finally joined the EEC, The Spectator’s resistance focused on exposing the economic costs. “It has not taken the enlarged Common Market long to run into difficulties”, it declared on January 20 1973, deriding future European Monetary Union and the present Common Agricultural Policy (“the purpose of which is to feather-bed the inefficient but politically consequential peasant farmers of Europe”-17 March 1973.) Continuing the onslaught on Heath’s economic policy, The Spectator blamed membership of the Common Market along with currency crises, for higher food prices. The paper regarded developments after January 1973 as both vindicating its scepticism and reinforcing the need for a referendum. “The public never liked the Common Market and now it realises that the experiment is a disastrous flop”; rather than re-negotiation, “it is a matter of repudiation”, the paper declared on 21 July 1973. Until his dismissal in September 1973, The Spectator’s stance towards Britain’s initial membership proves that for all George Gale’s occasional efforts to “make the best out of a bad job” and “come to terms” (29 April 1972) with European integration, he could never rescind his terse hostility towards pro-Marketeers that, paraphrasing Baldwin, he labelled “floosies rather than harlots, possessing neither power nor responsibility” (20 January 1973).

Gale had been a regular contributor to the paper during the final year of Lawson’s editorship and enjoyed a better relationship with Creighton than his predecessor. Gale was an enthusiastic disciple of the new theoretical Toryism defined by Enoch Powell that Alan Watkins had first identified in a 1966 Spectator political commentary.13 A contemporary of Gale’s at Peterhouse College, Cambridge was the historian Maurice Cowling whom he appointed literary editor. Cowling also shared a Powellite outlook, as did Patrick Cosgrave, another High Tory Peterhouse graduate and future Spectator associate editor, which fuelled the notion that The Spectator was in the hands of a “Peterhouse New Right.” Therefore Gale’s Powellite approach towards Europe was defined by an abhorrence of the prevailing consensus that was undemocratically leading the nation into the excessively bureaucratic Common Market.

Having been turned down by Bernard Levin, Creighton had offered the editorship to Powell himself in the summer of 1970 but he deemed it incompatible with a political career.14 During this time it was not unusual for politicians to edit the political weeklies and whilst during his editorship Iain Macleod had used The Spectator as a forum for promoting a more tolerant, “classless” conservatism, Gale embodied Powell’s eloquent nationalistic opposition to the EEC, primarily on the grounds that the UK possessed different economic and commercial traditions. Supporting a model of minimal government interference and rejecting the post-war settlement, Powellism was sufficiently disparate for pro-Europeans to subscribe to its ideas regarding prices and income policies and Ulster.15 Unlike Powell, The Spectator valued the Anglo-American special relationship, arguing that a jealous Franco-German desire to sever it partly accounted for Britain’s successful EEC application. As to an alternative, on 1 August 1970, Gale proposed an English-speaking Atlantic Bloc would be a “beautiful natural historical outcome … the resulting community would be blessed with a common language and a shared tradition.” Furthermore, “to ask ‘what is the alternative’ is to be unnecessarily defeatist … alternatives to the EEC are superseded by the question, ‘what on earth is the good of it?’”(11 March 1970.)

Despite considering the Common Market a “continental instrument designed to inflate French pretensions and endow Germany with respectability” (15 May 1971), Gale was no “little Englander.” Attending Göttingen University in 1949, he was the first British student to study in Germany after the Second World War. After a spell on the Guardian, Gale spent twelve years on the Daily Express, at that time opposed to Common Market membership. Indeed Cowling partly attributed Gale’s anti-Marketeer convictions to him having been on the Beaverbrook payroll.16 The argument that EEC membership served against the wishes of the island’s people was constantly re-iterated by Gale who was more interested in the nation state than in economics. In a notebook entry on 9 January 1971, he contrasted Pompidou’s backing for Britain’s application with that of public opinion, “as expressed for instance in a letter sent to me by my Uncle Fred who writes wishing me ‘a good New Year and no Common Market. Just leave them alone and they will kill the market themselves.’” Gale shared his uncle’s libertarian outlook with Cowling commenting that, “George wasn’t really a Conservative but a hard-minded liberal who supported the Conservatives.”17

“I am sometimes rebuked by friends and readers for harping on too much about the Common Market. I do not apologise,” Gale wrote on 1 May 1971, and as with Powell, the issue clearly developed into an obsession. He argued that, “the duty of those who oppose it [EEC] is therefore to resist it with all vigour and on every occasion,” (29 January 1972), which corresponds with Hugh Macpherson’s assessment that as a journalist, “Gale loved a fight. He liked causing trouble.”18 His journalistic irascibility was aroused by the perceived established media pro-Marketeer bias. Expressing astonishment at readers complaining at the absence of pro-Marketeer coverage in the paper, Gale argued on 26 June 1971 that, “the Pro-Market view dominates not only television and radio, but also the great majority of the press. Indeed outside the popular press … The Spectator has been virtually alone in sustaining on a serious level the arguments against entry.” His notebook exhaustively chronicled hopeful trends for the anti-Marketeer cause while castigating the climate of opinion drifting towards membership, such as the Sunday Express’s switch towards supporting the EEC that left The Spectator as the leading press opponent.

According to Cowling, “Gale was not a calculating politician. What he was was a journalist and a character who simply projected himself and his opinions and prejudices on the public. The radio show19 was a demonstration of personality and so was The Spectator.”20 Given that his recreations in Who’s Who were “brooding” and “disputing”,21 it was understandable that Gale prevaricated over the European direction of The Spectator. Despite seemingly endorsing a new approach in “Coming to Terms … ”, he continued to regard the issue as a betrayal by the ruling classes and indicative of Heath’s misperception of governmental responsibility. Cosgrave, associate (effectively deputy) editor from September 1971, was instrumental in retaining the paper’s raw opposition to membership and he often jointly wrote editorials on Europe with Gale.22

Although ironically given that it constantly purported to represent the people, circulation was steadily decreasing – by 1973 it had slumped to 17,215 – the majority of readers strongly supported The Spectator’s solitary stance over Europe. The letters page was dominated by anti-European sentiment that was most vociferous in the aftermath of “Coming to Terms … ” when one-and-a-half pages of letters were published. One stated on 20 May 1972, “I HEARD YE AS THE SCOTS SAY AND BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GERMAN PEOPLE IN THE THIRTIES.” Yet support for The Spectator’s European outlook was countered by readers objecting that its partisanship negated the tenet of reasoned impartiality that was a hallmark of the political weekly. Though its abrasive tone put off potential new readers, existing support justified the retention of the Peterhouse group’s antagonistic attitude towards integration.

The strong editorial line meant that anyone of a pro-Marketeer disposition would not write for The Spectator on Europe.23 The exit of Peter Paterson from the Gower Street offices is indicative of this stipulation. Paterson, a socialist, had been appointed in April 1970 by Lawson to write the political commentary. But when extracts from Powell and the 1970 Election, which numbered Gale and Cowling as contributors, were published in the paper, Paterson pronounced on 21 November 1970 that the Powellite cause had been “overtaken, overwhelmed and buried by Mr Heath’s election victory.” The following week, Paterson’s last political commentary referred to Cowling who, writing under the guise of “A Conservative”24 on 21 November 1970 had implicitly criticised Paterson by declaring, “we are sure that entry into Europe combined with a further rebuff to Mr Powell would be deeply resented.” Following Paterson’s enquiry as to whether this represented the “editorial we”, Gale disingenuously responded on 28 November 1970 that “A Conservative” was referring to “his friends and his associates”, rather than the “editorial we.” Contrary to Gale’s explanation, evidently Paterson’s dispute with the “Peterhouse Mafia” was responsible for him leaving The Spectator.

Furthermore, his replacement, Hugh Macpherson, whilst another socialist, passionately opposed European integration and confirmed that he had engaged in discussions with Gale over the issue prior to becoming political commentator.25 Gale’s political commentators, according to Courtauld, “had to have the right views on Europe”26 and Macpherson’s rhetoric and tone was similar to Gale’s: “There is no adequate language left to describe the constitutional outrage which is to take place” … membership was “the politics of armageddon”, he wrote on 5 February 1972. After Macpherson was sacked in September 1972, Gale appointed Cosgrave as political commentator, his conservatism being more appropriate for The Spectator than Macpherson’s Bevanite socialism.

Because editorial coverage was so prevalent, there was only a limited need for outside articles. Whatever the importance vested in European integration the ongoing economic crises (that accentuated The Spectator’s disillusionment with the British political process), and the conflicts in Ulster and Vietnam invariably needed analysis. Cowling by railing in the guise of “A Conservative” against Heath’s European policy, further reinforced the Powellite line while Cosgrave using the pseudonym, “A Senior Conservative”, contentiously predicted that the issue was big enough to bring Heath down. Frustrated by the apparent disregard shown by the party for their views, a minority of Conservative MP’s used The Spectator as a forum for expressing opposition to the EEC. Neil Marten MP, later to become chairman of the National Referendum Campaign, shared Gale’s belief that the European issue blurred traditional political demarcations: “to suggest that taking an anti-market view is to be disloyal to our respective party leaders is to confuse the higher priorities of Parliament”, he wrote on 6 February 1971. In the aftermath of his resignation from the Scottish office Teddy Taylor wrote on why successful European negotiations had made his position untenable.

But while Tory backbenchers could have been expected to express their discontent in the paper, articles by Labour MPs, notably Eric Heffer and Geoffrey Rhodes, resulted in a unique cross-party anti-EEC coalition forming more effectively in the pages of The Spectator than in the Commons. The Spectator itself formed the basis of a parliamentary incident in March 1972 when it was directly quoted by the Labour MP Willie Hamilton. The paper had repeated an allegation originally published in an anti-EEC pamphlet27 that Jeffrey Archer, then a recently elected Tory MP, had acted as an intermediary in arranging a £300,000 donation from Michael Sobell of GEC to the European Movement. Sobell had been given a knighthood in the 1972 New Years Honours List for “charitable services”, giving rise to the notion that he had bought his elevation.28 Hamilton’s demand that Archer, a successful fund-raiser for the European Movement, be referred to the Commons Committee of Privileges was rejected and the Prime Minister’s own denunciation of the allegations in Parliament heightened the perception among loyal Tories that The Spectator was now a deep-seated enemy of the Heath administration.

Having had no disagreement with Lawson over his pro-European coverage, Courtauld states, “Creighton was probably pro-Europe before Gale and then he switched.”29 Creighton used his weekly, “Skinflint’s City Diary”, to outline the costs of membership, yet even he wondered on 9 December 1972, “if we have not been paying too much attention to the Common Market.” Although maintaining its vociferous editorial opposition, as integration became inevitable, The Spectator marginally broadened its anti-European angle. Almost uniquely for Gale’s editorship, not characterised by diversity, an article on 30 December 1972 declared support for the EEC. Russell Lewis, head of the Conservative Political Centre, asserted that integration provided an essential way of retaining superpower status. Yet after Britain joined the Community, articles began to reflect the editorial vindication at the costs of entry. On 30 June 1973 Anthony Lejeune, in an article entitled, “We homeless Conservatives”, epitomised Gale’s dilemma of whether to support a Socialist party that had a more agreeable European policy than the Tories.

Before this could be tested at a general election, Gale was sacked in September 1973. With the paper making continual losses, Harold Creighton’s decision to replace Gale as editor was partially financially motivated. Gale suspected that Creighton dismissed him in order to get into Who’s Who as editor of The Spectator. By advocating Powellism and concentrating on the loss of national independence, the paper attempted to serve the needs of what Lejeune presciently described as a “large constituency looking for a leader.” Lejeune, together with Gale, Cosgrave, T.E Utley and Andrew Alexander was a member of what Cowling termed the Powellite “embryonic intelligentsia”30 that hoped to sway the public over integration. However, as soon as terms were agreed in July 1971, the public began to support the consensual pro-European stance and the powerful assertion of national popular resistance that Gale predicted failed to materialise. But the more inevitable entry seemed, the more vociferously The Spectator felt the need to roar its minority voice. Gale’s aggressive approach bore testimony to Macpherson’s assertion on 13 February 1971 that “the issue of the Common Market excites the emotions of hard-liners … with a fervour that goes beyond politics.”

Sovereign State, Precarious Status:
Patrick Cosgrave 1973—75

Although the proprietor, a machine tool businessman with minimal literary qualifications had made himself editor, in practice Harold Creighton gave complete editorial responsibility to Patrick Cosgrave. The only evidence that Creighton attempted to directly influence editorial content was when he ordered Cosgrave to support Conservative rather than Labour at the February 1974 general election. Consequently opposition to Britain’s European policy continued to be the main concern of The Spectator. Whilst under Gale, it mostly concentrated on keeping Britain out of the EEC, the emphasis switched to leaving it. Pro-Europeans remained “silent because they know their European policy is a proved disaster” and would result in the nation being, “turned into an offshore island and the lickspittle of a rejuvenated France” (13 October 1973). Hostility towards the EEC continued to spill over into hostility towards Heath for his “ignorance of history, of geography of this country and its traditions and institutions and nature” (20 October 1973). However, Cosgrave adopted a wider approach, attacking co-ordinated European energy and air traffic policies.

In “A vote for Britain”, The Spectator regarded the Common Market as the pivotal issue of the first 1974 general election. Terming the paper “radical” and “nationalist”, Cosgrave advised his readers reluctantly to vote Tory, though the fight against “the destructive entanglement with Europe in which Mr Heath has led us without any vestige for the people of the country”, would continue (2 March 1974). Following the minority Labour government that Cosgrave astutely predicted, The Spectator lessened its incessant editorial coverage over Europe compared to outside contributions. Indeed in an editorial on 13 April 1974, The Spectator advocated re-negotiation rather than withdrawal, though it was still deemed “absolutely essential that the movement towards the political integration of Europe should be brought to an end.” Britain could only retain membership if its budget contribution was cut substantially, complete economic control vested with the government and radical overhaul of the CAP occurred.

Contrasting Gale’s increasing despondency over EEC entry, The Spectator refused to regard the anti-Marketeer position as a lost cause. “The writing is on the wall for our effective membership” (5 January 1974), while on 8 June 1974, Cosgrave predicted, “Victory is in our grasp.” Given their commitment to a referendum, Cosgrave advised anti-Marketeers to try and ensure another Labour minority government in the October 1974 general election. Though warning against a large Socialist majority, he reflected the Powellite notion that where Tory pro-Marketeer candidates were standing, a Labour vote was necessary due to their opposition to the European terms negotiated by Heath. Subsequently winning a three seat majority, Labour were labelled the “patriotic party” by The Spectator, though this displayed more a sense of betrayal at the Tories’ record under Heath — a “morbidly pathetic creature” and the Conservative’s “most unsuccessful and unlikeable leader this century” (19 October 1974). Indeed Cosgrave is proud to have been one of the first political journalists to advocate Margaret Thatcher as Heath’s replacement; “it was not so much defeating Ted but getting in Margaret that really mattered”31, contrasting Powell’s belief that they were “doomed to extinction.”32

The formal announcement in the Commons that a consultative referendum would occur led to a renewed determination to prove that the public, Trade Unions, economists and “the Tory Party in its hearts” (4 January 1975) were in favour of leaving the EEC. Since, “until it is settled nothing else will go”, Cosgrave used the leading article and his political commentary page to chronicle the course of the campaign. Like Gale, he railed against the inherent partiality of the media towards the pro-Marketeers, complaining that the BBC’s World At One had barred him for eight months for not espousing the conventional Tory line. Consistent with The Spectator’s disillusionment with the two party political process, predictably the government’s approach to the referendum was said on 8 March 1975 to be, “marked by the most incurable frivolity and the most definite lack of application” to what was termed as, “the greatest crisis since the Second World War” and the “greatest decision that people have had to make this century.” The Spectator consistently regarded the EEC question as intrinsically related to the economic downturn, the balance of payments, future of the party system and having fundamental ramifications for the UK’s overall political and economic structure. Meanwhile, “given there is little to choose between the economic policies of the two main parties at the present, Europe remains the crucial national issue,” Cosgrave wrote in a political commentary on 29 June 1974.

In the immediate run-up to the referendum, The Spectator reiterated its support for a “No” vote: “nothing in the campaign so far has caused us to change our mind on the subject.” Cosgrave strongly attacked the pro-Marketeers’ reasoning, for arguing that Britain could not now afford to leave, having previously argued that the EEC needed the UK’s guidance, as “based on fear” and reliant upon “the inherent weakness and incapacity of their country and its people”. (24 May 1975). Voters were urged to possess the “moral resources” to defeat the “totally failed politicians and totally failed Civil Servants” who favoured Common Market membership for their own interest, not the nation’s (31 May 1975).

In the last issue before the referendum, the strident language and acrimony towards the EEC reached its pinnacle. On 7 June 1975, in an editorial entitled “Out and into the world”, Cosgrave regretted that “never has the country seen so systematic a campaign of denigration of its people and their capabilities by so many politicians.” No advantages had been incurred during the UK’s initial membership, the agrarian nature of the Community would lead to an exponential increase in prices and a single European state would culminate in “the gradual extinction of British law.” European assimilation would be a “suicidal vote … one in which the great island race voted to end its existence.” Writing in his political commentary Cosgrave evaded predicting the outcome though forecast that the floating voter would vote “No.” Following the two-to-one majority for Britain to remain in the EEC, The Spectator declared that, “for an objective observer it is impossible not to feel gloom.” Upon announcing his sale of the paper on June 14 1975, Creighton attributed the defeat to the assumption that, “many of the electorate simply thought that the glossy world of the holiday-travel brochure would be denied if they voted “No.”

Despite Cosgrave being de facto editor of The Spectator, Creighton did have some influence on the paper’s contents, notably introducing provocative gossip columns. Whilst Cosgrave never had a “moment’s trouble with Harry”33, he was not a popular proprietor; one member of staff described him as a “necessary burden that had to be carried.”34 He harboured ambitions to become a Conservative MP, but as Cosgrave said, “if Creighton wanted to cultivate the Tory party establishment he would never have let us get loose with our campaign over the EEC”.35 Though becoming in his words, “editor by purchase”36, Creighton was merely extending a Spectator tradition. His successor Henry Keswick was the first proprietor not to have had a stint as editor.

In being responsible for reinstating daily lunches at Gower Street by day and taking female staff to Annabel’s discotheque by night, Creighton clearly relished what Macpherson delightfully termed the, “rascalry nonsense”,37 that proprietorship of The Spectator offered. Yet capital investments and marketing were minimal due to regular weekly losses and sporadic libel difficulties. Cosgrave even supposed that, “by the time he’d got rid of George [Gale] he [Creighton] had given up on The Spectator.”38 The anti-Marketeer campaign appealed to Creighton’s defiant streak with Courtauld describing him as a “maverick figure [who] liked the idea of taking an independent and minority position, compared to the rest of the press.”39 In his final notebook on 14 June 1975, Creighton wrote that “the latest of our crusades - that against membership of the Common Market is over, at least for the moment, and there is a sense of anti-climax.”

Of course, far from diminishing, the European debate intensified in 1973, climaxing at the time of the national referendum.40 In addition to Gale’s primary concern with national independence and Parliamentary sovereignty, Cosgrave centred his opposition around the practical disadvantages of membership such as food prices and employment prospects. The European issue was also inextricably linked with the future of the Conservative Party. Reviewing Heath’s autobiography in 1998, Cosgrave speculated, “I suppose I have written more vitriolic words about Edward Heath than any other British journalist — certainly than any of a Tory disposition.” He added that the campaign only became more personal, “when he [Heath] deliberately and cravenly reversed the domestic policies on which he had been elected in 1970.”41 Over Europe, “where we got vicious was the fact that he had said in Paris, “[that Britain would only join the Community] with the full-hearted consent of Parliament and the people.”42 Cosgrave had particular reason for vilifying Heath — he told me that he had written the “with the full-hearted consent”, passage himself while working for the Conservative Research Department in 1970.43

The Spectator was the most influential press channel for opposing Community membership, yet the “No” campaign was additionally only supported by the Morning Star, Tribune, the Scottish Daily News and the Dundee Courier.44 Since the press was so overwhelmingly pro-Marketeer, Cosgrave stated that, “we had to up the ante as we were the only paper of sufficient importance to advocate withdrawal from the EEC, added to the fact that we had a small circulation.”45 Support for the anti-Marketeer cause during the referendum was substantially given in practice as well as in print. Negotiations between the Get Britain Out and the Common Market Safeguards Campaign groups, culminating in the formation of the National Referendum Campaign (NRC), were conducted at The Spectator offices. Courtauld believed that, “the idea of making waves and fun” mattered more to Creighton than “a serious political concern”46, but his conviction over Europe was enough for the proprietor to attend NRC executive campaign meetings. Gale and Cosgrave were particularly, involved, with Cosgrave alongside Paul Johnson anchoring the NRC television broadcasts. Creighton played host to anti-Marketeer MPs and Trade Union officials and the NRC’s campaign was partially co-ordinated and administered at the paper’s offices. Although on 7 June 1975 Cosgrave praised the, “many examples of excellent comradeship between right and left in the anti-market camp”, the alliance was somewhat strained. The fact that the major thrust of the anti-Marketeer support came from the left was invariably awkward for the Tory right.47

Whilst Cosgrave was more of a ‘Conservative’ than Gale, the Powellite ideal of principle before party gave contributors not familiar to The Spectator a platform to vent their opposition against the EEC. Furthermore, compared to its predecessor, Creighton’s Spectator had much shorter and more numerous leading articles, which made it inevitable that their coverage would develop from, rather than revolve around the editorial position. From 1973-5 The Spectator mounted a sustained and varied campaign against the EEC in its non-editorial pages, intent on proving that the fears expressed in 1970-2 had not been unfounded. The formation of a European Monetary Fund in April 1973, the deadlock and the government’s dispute with the EEC over regional policy were both addressed more prominently in the outside pages than in editorials.

The Labour anti-Marketeer Douglas Jay continued to rail against the effects of the CAP and advocated EFTA as the alternative to the Common Market while Gerald Segal became the de facto “Common Market” correspondent, based in Brussels, chronicling the EEC’s relations with Russia, Israel and the Atlantic Community. Developments favourable to the anti-Marketeer cause were published, most notably a leaked memo relating to the Wilson’s government commitment to renegotiate the Treaty of Accession to the EEC (13 July 1974). Less sensationally, a draft supporting a referendum written by Clive Jenkins, the Trade Union leader of ASTMS (18 January 1975) and a letter from Tony Benn to his constituents on democratic rights and sovereignty vis-à-vis EEC membership (12 October 1974) were also re-printed in the paper.

In order to formalise its campaign, a weekly series “Sovereign State” was initiated in The Spectator on 25 January 1975. “Sovereign State” encapsulated the diversity of opposition, from an Enoch Powell discourse on imperial sovereignty (22 March 1975) to Christopher Harrison, a farmer, arguing that his plight was worse than “if we had not been persuaded to join in the first place.” An eight-page article on 8 March 1975 by William Pickles, a European integration lecturer at the LSE, surmised the paper’s position on sovereignty, reflecting the Powellite notion that since Parliament enacted the legislation taking the UK into the Common Market, then it had the power to leave. If The Spectator’s arguments were accused of being insular, then the same charge could not be levied at its contributors that included Lionel Gelber, a Canadian author, and Philip Hewland, a New Zealand industrialist. It also served as a forum for journalists on different newspapers to publish anti-Marketeer pieces. C. Gordon Tether of the Financial Times and George Clark of The Times wrote articles in The Spectator that went against the established Fleet Street line.

However, The Spectator campaign against EEC membership was debilitated by the paper’s financial predicament. Cosgrave, referring to Milton Friedman and Friedrich Von Hayek, commented, “we couldn’t afford many of the writers we would have desired. Because of our resources, we had to attack the pro-European cause on a limited budget.”48 During the entire duration of Harry Creighton’s editorship only two articles were published sympathetic to the European cause. As he had done during Gale’s editorship, Oswald Mosely came out in favour of the EEC and Ernst Albert argued that Britain was wrong to re-negotiate after such a short period. A disclaimer accompanying Albert’s piece on 7 September 1974 noted that the article was "published in line with this journal’s policy of offering its readers a variety of arguments on controversial subjects, although it is of course, opposed to the general view of The Spectator.” Cosgrave also unsuccessfully tried to get leading pro-Marketeers to write on the issue. The Spectator’s former proprietor and editor, Ian Gilmour was one who declined to contribute, though this may have been due to him having read Cosgrave’s assessment on 8 February 1975 that, “everything that Mr Gilmour has been saying in recent speeches is rubbish … he simply does not understand the history of the Conservative Party.”

The special referendum issue, in addition to Cosgrave’s leading article and political commentary, covered the EFTA alternative, political elitism and the economic costs of the Community (7 June 1975). “Prominent citizens”, including Kingsley Amis and John Osborne had revealed a week earlier why they were voting “No.” Creighton’s editorship saw coverage on Europe seep into the arts pages and gossip columns. The literary diary, Bookend, written by arts editor Kenneth Hurren, remonstrated against the prospect of VAT on British books (29 September 1973), while Peregrinations, the idiosyncratic gossip column, praised the EEC on 10 May 1975 over, “the number of international free-loads available to spongers like myself.” In the Society Today section, Jane McLoughlin criticised the CAP for having created a milk shortage that led to an increase in butter prices (21 September 1974). As one reader wrote on 1 February 1975, it was as if there existed a “clause No.1 which is mandatory and requires all contributors to work in at least five per cent on how ghastly it would be if we were to join the Common Market.”

Although letters were printed that vigorously objected to The Spectator’s attitude (“your atavistic hatred of the EEC verges on the pathological” one said on 27 April 1974), the majority of those readers often went further than the most nationalistic editorial: “To say ‘Yes’ … will mean the end of ordered and accepted government, the triumph of anarchy”, wrote M.G de St V Atkins on 12 April 1975. Ernest Wistrich, the Director of the European Movement frequently riposted anti-Marketeer claims (although the Movement stopped advertising in the paper as had been the case during Gale’s editorship). The assorted anti-Marketeer interest groups, particularly Get Britain Out, advertised meetings and speakers in The Spectator while the opportunity of individual expression on the referendum was utilised most notably by Air Vice-Marshal Donald Bennet in his independent “Operation Out” campaign.

Behind the veneer of his rhetoric that the elite consensus would be defeated, Cosgrave disclosed that the only person who thought the anti-Marketeers could win the referendum on the Common Market was John Gilbert, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.49 At the start of 1975 the proprietor had signified his desire to sell the paper and Courtald described the referendum campaign as being “Harold Creighton’s last gasp and he was going to make as much noise as he could.”50 (Further evidence of Creighton’s European conviction is that prior to selling the paper, a bid from the owner of Punch, Sir William Barnetson, was turned down on account of it being evident that Cosgrave’s services would not be retained).51

Contrasting The Spectator’s support for the public finally being consulted over the EEC, newspapers disliked the idea of a referendum, called by Wilson to remove dissension among the left-wing of the Labour party. Whatever their political outlook, all national newspapers continued to supported the pro-Marketeers. This further heightened the perception that the “No” vote, suffering from vastly inferior financial resources and spearheaded by Powell and Benn, was in Hugo Young’s words, a “fringe group of tolerated cranks.”52. As The Economist stated, the referendum was “a vote for the Status Quo … before entry, to vote for going in would have been to vote radically. But after entry it was at least as radical and unsettling to vote for leaving.”53 The relaxation of government collective responsibility ensured that the degree of co-operation between the rival party pro-Marketeers was as unprecedented as the unanimity of the national press, dealing a fatal blow to The Spectator’s hopes of winning the referendum battle.

An End to European Caricature:
Alexander Chancellor 1975—79

In July 1975 The Spectator acquired a new owner (Henry Keswick), new offices (in Doughty Street), a new editor (Alexander Chancellor) and a new editorial approach.54 Chancellor made it apparent from the outset of his editorship that the campaign over Europe would cease: “The Spectator was almost the only journal in this country to uphold the views of one third of the electorate on an issue of major importance to the future of Britain.” Despite “the battle being lost, The Spectator and Mr Creighton have a right to be proud of this, even if, as we believe, they were mistaken,” he wrote on 1 August 1975. Chancellor stated his reasons were twofold: “Personally as editor, I wasn’t against Europe and secondly I was very fortunate that it [the referendum] had been done. A large majority had decreed we should remain part of Europe, the campaign had closed and it would have been strange to go on campaigning in the same vein because it was the done thing. At the time everyone was exhausted by the subject.”55

Keswick had bought the title when it was consistently running at a persistent financial loss. Since the referendum a marked decline of media coverage of EEC had occurred and Chancellor objected to the paper’s previous stance on Europe both for what — and the way — it argued as well as its negative commercial repercussions. The terse anti-European dogmatism had evidently not been conducive to attracting new readers and pessimistic futures were forecast for The Spectator. Ironically given that he later extensively contributed to the paper, Christopher Booker had predicted in The Daily Telegraph after Creighton had become editor in 1973 that its demise was imminent, comparing it to a doctor writing, “over the terminal patient’s temperature chart — NTBR or not to be resuscitated.”56 After leaving the editorship of the New Statesman, Anthony Howard wrote that the political weeklies were destined for a “peaceful fall” and should [previously] have boldly stuck out for new ground.”57 Chancellor recognised that political coverage on television, the increasing analytical approach of the Sunday newspaper market and the enduring popularity of Private Eye had left The Spectator desperately in need of new readers and advertisers.

Aside from subscribing to the conventional belief that EEC membership was beneficial for British interests, Chancellor did not seem to have strong views on Europe admitting that, “ I wasn’t a particularly political animal. I hadn’t been close to British politics, having spent seven years abroad. I just was instinctively for it [membership of the EEC] probably in a rather ignorant way, but sort of in a gut way at that time.”58 This shift away from the credal approach to Europe adopted by Cosgrave and Gale was signified on 19 June 1976 by an editor’s notebook quoting the former Chairman of the 1922 Committee, William Anstruther-Grey: “the more policies you have, the more votes you lose.” The Spectator’s doctrinal European campaign, committed to a firm set of political principles, went against the political weekly’s increasing trend towards varied contributions, bolstered by minimal editorial interference. Auberon Waugh, dubbing the European campaign a “shameful episode”, asserted on 31 December 1977 that The Spectator, “betrayed everything the weeklies stand for — not because of the side it took, but because of its manner in taking sides.” Despite favouring a powerful Western Europe closely aligned with the USA geared towards reforming the Soviet Union, the idea of a firm editorial policy towards the EEC was adverse to the editor. The proprietor did not share Creighton’s zeal either. Referring to Keswick, Chancellor stated, “I don’t think he did have any particularly strong views on Europe and he didn’t interfere editorially.”59

Although the letters page, that had mostly endorsed The Spectator’s stance, continued to act as a forum for Common Market grievance, Chancellor deliberately lessened coverage of the issue. The paper adopted more of an internationalist outlook, relying on correspondents in France, Italy and America, but in relation to Britain and the Common Market, the coverage allocated was never more than sporadic. To a large extent, The Spectator’s attitude mirrored the government’s immediate approach after the referendum — a minimalist approach to the EEC with neither great interest nor marked antipathy shown towards its initiatives.60 Chancellor believed that the referendum had temporarily ended the European debate in British politics. “After all we had been in the EEC before so it wasn’t as if new things were happening in our relations with Europe. It was a continuation of the status quo.”61 Reflecting this apathy was an article by Richard West on 9 October 1976, entitled “Remember the Common Market?” that stated, “many have forgotten that it [EEC] exists … it was a great debate about nothing.” Writing about bores on 1 January 1977, Christopher Booker discerned, “there is the boredom induced by things such as the Common Market … this can usually be avoided by not reading about such things in newspapers.” (Less than two decades later Booker, together with Richard North, wrote The Mad Officials, that highlighted the excess bureaucracy inherent within the EC’s single market.) The paper’s book reviews poured scorn on the anti-Marketeer cause. Rudolf Klein described them on 14 August 1976 as “the Abdullanites of British politics” while Alistair Forbes termed 1970s Eurosceptics as “latter-day Luddites” (11 March 1978).

Yet with Britain failing to extract sizeable gains from EEC membership, the issue could not be completely ignored by The Spectator. Chancellor shared Lawson’s line that the Community’s substantial attractions to the UK were eroded by the ineptitude of a Labour administration. “Nobody at all can understand the policy of the British government”, Chancellor wrote on 8 December 1975, questioning whether membership had been acquired, “because we couldn’t think of anywhere else to go on a rainy afternoon.” With Roy Jenkins as EEC Chairman and Britain chairing the Council of Ministers, The Spectator declared on 8 January 1977 that the UK had political and constitutional opportunities to spearhead a common European policy. But the government’s “cowardly whining” meant they had “neither the vision nor the will to seize the moment”, contrasting their allies “consistency of friendship”. On 20 March 1976, upon his exit as Prime Minister, Harold Wilson was praised for his “adroit handling of the European issue”, that had “put an end to a damaging and divisive debate”, contrasting those “political hooligans” in the Labour Party who were “casting doubt on our European treaties” (11 June 1977).

As Chancellor had, according to Courtauld, “no experience of, nor any consuming interest, in politics”62, from the spring of 1977 George Gale returned to write the weekly leader. However, whilst there would be no weekly diatribes against EEC membership — Chancellor would not have permitted it — Gale’s influence is evident in an editorial on 28 January 1978 that characterised Heath as “the man who endlessly urges us to put Europe first, when most voters do not seem to want to put it anywhere.” However, The Spectator advocated joining European Monetary Union (EMU) on 15 July 1978. Though “such a grandiose prediction invites scepticism … there are real reasons both objective and subjective for thinking that the present attempt will be more successful.” In criticizing both Labour and the Conservatives for encouraging the “general unpopularity of the Common Market in this country”, The Spectator’s attitude towards the Community and popular opinion was the antithesis of Gale’s line. But by 9 December 1978, the paper had modified its stance towards EMU, conceding that the “highly desirable objective” of monetary stabilisation could only be implemented with the OECD’s intervention.

The Spectator’s argument that, “rarely can any debate have been conducted in such an irrational, emotional and unconstructive fashion” (9 December 1978), seemed disingenuous given that its own coverage was limited to the odd political commentary or outside analysis by Ian Davidson or Roger Berthoud. Chancellor’s own mounting frustration with the EEC manifested itself in a notebook entry on 2 June 1979 that questioned, “if millions of people fail to vote in the European Elections, who can blame them?” Whatever the theoretical gains derived from membership, the practical difficulties of the cost of travel and property meant, “as far as the British people are concerned, membership has only increased their aggravation with their neighbours. The EEC seems deeply unbearable and this must be based principally on a failure of leadership.” Whilst praising successive government’s support for integration, it was “astounding that they have not even tried to make it appear at all attractive or exciting.” Chancellor’s continental political outlook led him to the conclusion on 30 December 1978 that while France had partaken in EMU because of a belief, “that she will certainly equal if not outstrip the Germans, we have not joined because we cannot.” In fearing that a frank debate over Europe was an electoral turn-off, Chancellor chastised Britain’s “dishonest and unscrupulous politicians [that] have sought to make it the scapegoat for all our troubles even though they are almost entirely self-inflicted.” Despite the tenacious language, editorially The Spectator seemed to regard the EEC as its political commentator Ferdinand Mount had once referred to Mrs Thatcher: a “Good Thing, but not an important Good Thing” (25 November 1978).

The effects of Creighton’s European obsession did not completely disappear upon Chancellor’s arrival. A reader from Magdalen College, Cambridge, lamented on 24 January 1976, that The Spectator was “respectable and boring now not when like over the EEC it found itself ranged against the whole power of the press, media and the establishment.” Cosgrave continued his political commentary until May 1976, occasionally complaining that, “neither government nor opposition has any clear idea of what future British policy within the Community ought to be” (15 November 1975). Testifying that The Spectator was still identified with its anti-Marketeer reputation, Douglas Jay and Hugh Macpherson both wrote attacking EEC policy relating to the CAP and poultry quotas respectively.

“Neither he [Callaghan} nor either of his foreign secretaries has had any idea of getting what they hoped out of the community … let alone any idea of how to about getting it.” The view by outside contributor Ian Davidson on 2 July 1977 corresponded with that taken intermittently by Chancellor. There was also a trend for The Spectator to publish articles by key European statesmen. Thus Peter Kirk, who had headed a British delegation to the European Parliament, wrote a two-part account of the “new impetus” that the British had given to the Common Market (21 August 1976). In response to an article from John Biffen MP endorsing the editorial concern of the rise of “EuroCommunism”, and calling on the EEC to show “sufficient flexibility and realism” (4 March 1978), Roberto Ducci, Italian Ambassador in London, focused two weeks later on the potential for Community involvement in Central Africa and Russia. Yet The Spectator’s debate over Britain and the EEC remained somewhat ad hoc: “Maybe we considered it a bit boring to write about European summits — it was more fun to write about something else”, Chancellor explained.63 Coverage given to the emergence of the New Right movement, Trade Union strife and immigration reflected an overall media shift away from Europe in favour of domestic issues during the late 1970s.

Until 1978, the paper’s political commentators did not extensively chronicle the Community’s relationship with the UK. After Cosgrave left to become a special adviser to Mrs Thatcher, his replacement John Grigg — like Chancellor — was not averse to making sweeping denunciations of the government’s European policy, but concentrated more on domestic political issues. Ferdinand Mount, his successor as political commentator, was more irresolute. Reviewing Phillip Norton’s Conservative Dissidents: 1970-4 (as personified by The Spectator itself) on 14 October 1978, Mount praised “Mr Heath’s tenacity … if this [EEC membership] was an end worth gaining, it was worth fighting for.” Contrasting Chancellor, on 28 October 1978 Mount dubbed the “disagreeable, complicated and ultimately pointless” EMU, an “Extravagant European Lark.” Warning of “the drift towards a politician-dominated, centralised sort of Europe, in which the impact of government reaches further and further into our lives”, Mount predicted that monetary union would “inevitably humiliate the British.” During the late 1970s his political commentaries increased in frequency and scepticism towards further European integration. Behind the attempts of the “Eurocrats” to silence noisy lawnmowers lay a “real worry” that the Commission would “take us further and further away from the basic principles of free trade which inspired the Treaty of Rome.” (24 March 1979).

Mount’s prediction that the Common Market would not be a key issue in voters’ minds at the 1979 general election was borne out by the fact that it was not mentioned in a Spectator editorial during the campaign. However, the occasion of the inaugural European Parliament (EP) elections marked Chancellor’s first EEC “special issue” on 2 June 1979. Articles included a disenchanted Labour MEP candidate, John Morgan, regretting that his “party did not care about Europe”, and reports by Sam White and Peter Nicholls, the regular Paris and Rome correspondents. A perceptive article, “How Europe Voted”, by Hugh Thomas, inferred from the results scepticism, “at the back of the minds of most British liberals and a few Conservatives too” towards federalism, forecasting both a reactionary shift against European integration from Labour and continued continental rather than British control in the decision-making process. Meanwhile Christopher Booker typified Chancellor’s editorial approach towards Europe by whimsically questioning whether the Common Market was an “enchanted castle piled high with VAT forms, and surrounded by wine lakes … devised purely for our entertainment” (16 July 1979).

Conclusion

A measured hostility shown towards the UK governments’ actions and evasions is the sole characteristic that unites the conflicting editorial attitudes adopted by The Spectator over European integration between 1966 and 1979. Nigel Lawson had brought the issue of Britain and the EEC to the forefront of The Spectator, entwining the issue with the economic deficiencies faced by the Wilson administration and thereby reversing the notion that Western Europe needed a strong Britain in order to be fully effective. His successor George Gale, bravely changing course, railed against an over-zealous parliament and a formidable elite consensus headed by Edward Heath, which heightened the paper’s coverage of the issue. In its role as the major media backer of a “No” vote during the 1975 referendum, inevitably The Spectator was construed to have adopted a minority die-hard position (though it represented the views of a third of the electorate). In fact however forthright their level of argument, The Spectator eschewed the more extremist anti-Marketeer arguments — for instance that the CIA was secretly supporting the “Yes” vote or that retention of EEC membership would lead to the re- introduction of conscription.64

Although Cosgrave believed that, “our anti-European line held The Spectator together”,65 in becoming editor immediately after the referendum in favour of EEC membership, Chancellor inevitably minimised coverage of the issue. However from the mid-1980s onwards, The Spectator under the aegis of Charles Moore (1984–90), regained its Euroscepticism. It was Moore’s successor Dominic Lawson (1990–5) who conducted the celebrated interview with Lord Ridley, then Secretary of State for Industry, that led to his resignation, on account of having described joint monetary policy as a “German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe” (14 July 1990).

Contrasting the commercial success of Charles Moore and Dominic Lawson’s editorships, The Spectator’s financial condition was precarious throughout its 1970s anti-Marketeer incarnation with circulation having fallen by 1976 to a post-war low of 13,246.66 Inevitably the perilous internal politics of the paper was entwined with its prominent EEC campaign. Auberon Waugh erroneously argued that the anti-Marketeer approach had jeopardised the paper’s future, by “deciding that because this [Europe] was the most political issue of this period, it is the one most people want to hear about. Nothing could be further from the truth. In pursuing, with its tiny circulation, demagogic bombast on an issue it could not hope to sway, The Spectator nearly destroyed itself on that occasion” (31 December 1977). “It cannot however be said that The Spectator flourished under the Creighton regime” was the less glib verdict of Lord Blake on 23 September 1978, in a history of The Spectator. Chancellor concluded, “I can’t really think of another period in The Spectator’s history exactly like that period, when it was against Europe.”67 Angered at the sparseness of debate concerning the full implications of EEC membership, the paper’s aggressive approach put them out on a limb, evidently failing to tap into the prevailing mood of the time that regarded Europe as a panacea for Britain’s economic ailments. The Spectator’s stance was at variance with the rarefied air of a conventional political weekly, which would be expected to support an Establishment line.

However, three decades later, The Spectator’s attitude to Britain’s accession into the EEC requires re-appraisal. The total pro-European partiality of the press, in the 1970s, contrasts with the majority of newspapers now being stridently opposed to further integration. Even The Guardian and The Independent employ “pro-European scepticism.”68 Given that the argument over European integration has accelerated rather than abated during the last ten years, The Spectator’s exhaustive editorial coverage during the 1970s, that helped to redress the disproportionate press levels of debate over the issue, was clearly justified. The increase in media Euroscepticism is partly accounted for by changes in the concentration of newspaper ownership; but it is also due to the changing attitudes towards the EU itself.

The Spectator was almost unique, among reputable publications, in rejecting the established belief that the effects of Britain’s Common Market membership merely lay in benefiting from a large free trade area and economies of scale. It recognised that the “Common Market” was a smokescreen for the ultimate supranational designs of the European Union, as it is now called. The White Paper of 1971 stated that membership of the EEC involved “no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty.”69 Indeed the “great debate” was characterised by pro-Marketeers stressing the economic and not political effects of EEC membership. Unlike The Spectator, the majority of politicians and the press were not prepared to publicly envisage the negative economic consequences in the form of sharply increased food prices and exorbitant agricultural payments in order to prop up the CAP.

Only the most resolute Europhile would now disagree with Norman Lamont’s retrospective opinion that, “the forces for political integration in Europe have proved stronger than was foreseen in 1972.”70 Therefore it is the critics who dismissed The Spectator’s warnings of the political and constitutional implications of Common Market membership that have been discredited by subsequent events. The paper’s argument that entrance into the EEC during Heath’s administration represented a betrayal of conservative principles at the expense of increased centralism and collectivism has been borne out by the excessive bureaucracy that has besieged British life as a consequence of the single market. Furthermore Gale and Cosgrave’s Spectator anticipated the ultimate aim of European political union, typified by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. As they feared, economic harmonisation, in the form of the single currency, has become synonymous with political integration. It is evident that enrolling in EMU is incompatible with the retention of national sovereignty and democratic self-government which The Spectator’s detractors ignored.71

Whilst it may not have been able to overturn the formidable consensual weight of opinion of its time, The Spectator’s aversion towards British policy-making over Europe has become ever more justified as history paints a clearer picture of events. As Sir Geoffrey Howe admitted in 1997 regarding the issue of sovereignty: “I remain at least plausibly exposed to the charge that less of [our] thinking than was appropriate was explicitly exposed to the House of Commons at the time the Bill was being passed.”72 The strong reservations expressed by The Spectator relating to the political nature of the European project have become part of the fabric of Conservative Party politics, irrevocably splitting John Major’s government and legitimising William Hague’s rejection of the euro.

In predicting the ultimate political objective of the EEC and detailing the costs that this would entail for the nation, the paper acted as a harbinger for the Euroscepticism that escalated in the media following Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech in September 1988. Historians chronicling Britain’s turbulent relations with Europe during the second half of the twentieth century have hitherto tended to ignore The Spectator’s role as a standard-bearer for future Euroscepticism — most only fleetingly mention the publication in the context of Lord Ridley. Arthur Schnitzler observed that “history is a conspiracy of diplomats against common sense”, and his maxim seems particularly appropriate relating to The Spectator’s position over Europe.

During the 1970s, The Spectator vainly swam against a tide of consensual opinion that dismissed its warning signs as those akin to a minority irritant. But the sea change in attitudes that has occurred over the last decade regarding the prospect of political and economic federalism has reinforced the notion that The Spectator’s campaign to highlight the political costs of European integration was way ahead of its time. The fate of many a prophet throughout history has been contemporary rejection followed by belated recognition. The Conservative party, a significant section of the press, and most crucially of all, the overwhelming majority of the public now subscribe to The Spectator’s viewpoint on the European Union. Expressed over a quarter of a century ago, their arguments now read as both astonishingly prescient and highly relevant to the current “great debate.” In their awareness that the overriding powers of the European Community represented a fatal threat to British parliamentary and judicial sovereignty, The Spectator stands spectacularly vindicated.

Political Cartoons

A key expression of The Spectator’s attitude towards European integration between 1970 and 1975 was through the use of cartoons. Whilst Lawson had used only the occasional cartoon to satirize Britain’s fraught relationship with the EEC, Gale made extensive use of his covers to convey The Spectator’s disgust at the pro-Marketeers. The caricatures, mostly by Glan Williams, tended to depict two scenarios. The first was the perceived absurdity of leading politicians (invariably Edward Heath). Thus the Prime Minister was portrayed as a burglar stealing ‘loot for the EEC’ from a sleeping man draped in a Union Jack flag; or as a seaside reveller flaunting his outstretched gut. The cover of the referendum issue [shown at the Introduction page] depicts a cross-party establishment headed by Heath, Jenkins and Thorpe together with Oswald Mosley holding aloft a Union Jack flag which the Manneken Pis urinates on — a metaphor for The Spectator’s anti-establishment stance. In the wake of the Treaty of Rome being signed in Parliament the cartoon cover by Glan Williams [this page above], for the edition of October 23 1971, shows a miniscule Edward Heath handing over the British Isles on a platter to a cluster of historical figureheads including Ceasar, Emperor Nero, Kaiser Willhelm, Mussolini, Hitler, Richelieu and Napoleon. The second type of cartoon depicted the terrifying consequences of membership for Britain. John Bull is hanging on the gallows with Heath’s nose merged onto a signpost pointing to Europe. The issue of 19 February 1972 simply had a white placard on its cover with the words, ‘Common Market! No’, the last word drenched in blood red. The "one-arm bandit" cartoon [shown in Chapter 3] was even mentioned by Sir Christopher Soames in a speech to the Conservative Political Centre where he challenged the idea that the EEC was a fruit machine where millions would be paid in: contrasted to nothing being recouped.

Notes

  1. Peter Mandelson, ‘The Press’s distorted coverage of Europe must stop’, The Independent, 2 July 2000.
  2. Philip Howard, ‘How the Politics of defeat has changed the tone of Britain’s political weeklies’, The Times, 20 July 1976.
  3. Nigel Lawson., The View from No.11 (Bantam, 1992) p. 892.
  4. Ibid., p. 272; ‘Why Europe should slow down’, review of Democracy in Europe by Larry Siedentop, Sunday Telegraph, 2 July 2000. Lawson is also a member of New Europe, committed to the EU but against the euro.
  5. As quoted in David Gowland and Arthur Turner, Reluctant Europeans: Britain and European Integration 1945-1998 (Longman, 2000) p. 151>
  6. Simon Courtauld, To Convey Intelligence: The Spectator 1928-98 (Profile, 1999) p. 117.
  7. Lawson, The View from No.11, p. 5.
  8. Op. Cit.Courtauld, To Convey Intelligence, p.116.
  9. Auberon Waugh, Will This Do? (Century, 1990) p. 191.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. See Martin Holmes, ‘The Conservative Party and Europe’, contained in Holmes, M (ed.), The Eurosceptical Reader (Macmillan, 1996) for an account of the Conservative’s stance towards European integration during the 1960s.
  13. Douglas E. Schoen, Enoch Powell and the Powellites (Macmillan, 1977) p.23
  14. Simon Heffer, Like the Roman: The life of Enoch Powell (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1998) p. 568.
  15. For a succinct account of Powellism and the “Peterhouse Right”, see Maurice Cowling, ‘The Sources of the New Right’, Encounter, Nov. 1989, subsequently republished as the introduction to Mill and Liberalism (1990 ed.)
  16. Interview, Maurice Cowling, 26 October 1999.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Interview, Hugh Macpherson, 4 January 2000.
  19. Gale presented a talk show on the London Broadcasting radio station during the 1970s and 80s.
  20. Interview, Maurice Cowling, 26 October 1999; Cowling told me that, “the quality of the anti-Europe stuff wasn’t good enough. The George Gale period was not effective either when I was there or when I wasn’t. There was a perfectly good, sustainable anti-European position which could have been taken but wasn’t.” However, he stressed that he was at a loss to think of many writers that could have met the required criteria.
  21. Courtauld, To Convey Intelligence, p.142.
  22. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  23. Interviews, Simon Courtauld, 1 October 1999; Hugh Macpherson, 4 January 2000.
  24. The pseudonym was borrowed from Powell’s devastating critiques of modern conservatism for The Times in 1964.
  25. Interview, Hugh Macpherson, 4 January 1999
  26. Interview, Simon Courtauld, 1 October 1999.
  27. David Rendel, Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion: a Study in the Manipulation of Public Opinion in Britain (1972).
  28. See Michael Crick, Jeffrey Archer: Stranger Than Fiction (Hamish Hamilton, 1995) pp.165-6.
  29. Interview, Simon Courtauld, 1 Oct 1999.
  30. Cowling, ‘New Right’, Encounter, September 1989.
  31. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999. Cosgrave left The Spectator to become a special adviser to Mrs Thatcher from late 1976 onwards.
  32. Schoen, Enoch Powell, p.148.
  33. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  34. Op. Cit. Courtauld, To Convey Intelligence, p. 154.
  35. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  36. Op. Cit. Courtauld, To Convey Intelligence, p. 153.
  37. Interview, Hugh Macpherson, 4 January 1999.
  38. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  39. Interview, Simon Courtauld, 1 October 1999.
  40. Op. Cit Gowland and Turner, Reluctant Europeans, p. 198
  41. Patrick Cosgrave, The Independent, 13 October 1998.
  42. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  43. Ibid.
  44. David Butler and Uwe Kitzinger, The 1975 Referendum (Macmillan, 1976) p.108
  45. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  46. Interview, Simon Courtauld, 1 October 1999.
  47. Butler and Kitzinger, 1975 Referendum, p. 109
  48. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  49. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  50. Interview, Simon Courtauld, 1 October 1999.
  51. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  52. Young, This Blessed Plot, p. 378.
  53. The Economist, 7 February 1976, as quoted in Denman, Missed Chances, p. 250-1.
  54. P. Howard, ‘Politics of Defeat’, The Times, 20 July 1976.
  55. Interview, Alexander Chancellor, 11 March 2000.
  56. As quoted in Courtauld, To Convey Intelligence, p.156
  57. Anthony Howard, ‘The rise and peaceful fall of the weeklies’, The Times, 22 July 1978.
  58. Interview, Alexander Chancellor, 11 March 2000.
  59. Interview, Alexander Chancellor, 11 March 2000.
  60. Gowland and Turner, Reluctant Europeans, p. 195
  61. Interview, Alexander Chancellor, 11 March 2000.
  62. Courtauld, To Convey Intelligence, p.163.
  63. Interview, Alexander Chancellor, 11 March 2000.
  64. Young, This Blessed Plot, p. 384 ; Gowland and Turner, Reluctant Europeans, p. 204.
  65. Interview, Patrick Cosgrave, 22 December 1999.
  66. Audit Bureau of Circulation figures.
  67. Interview, Alexander Chancellor. 11 March 2000.
  68. P.J Anderson and A.Weymouth, Insulting the Public? The British Press and the European Union (Addison Wesley Longman 2000) p.141.
  69. The United Kingdom and the European Union, White Paper, Cmnd 4715 (London: HMSO, 1971.)
  70. Selsdon Group Speech, 11 October 1994: re-printed in Eurosceptical Reader (ed Holmes) p. 98.
  71. See recent speeches by Jacques Chirac and Joshcka Fishcher. Chirac called for a “pioneer group” of states to press ahead with common policies on economic management and defence while Fischer outlined a vision of a Federal Europe with a uniformal central government buttressed by a new European Federal Constitution.
  72. Young, This Blessed Plot, p.250.

Bibliography

Unpublished Primary Sources

Taped Interviews

  • Alexander Chancellor: 11 March 2000
  • Maurice Cowling: 22 October 1999
  • Patrick Cosgrave: 22 December 1999
  • Simon Courtauld: 1 October 1999
  • Bernard Ingham: 8 October 1999
  • Hugh Macpherson: 4 January 2000

Primary Sources

  • London, The Spectator offices/ Newcastle, Northumbria Library, The Spectator: 1966-98

Secondary Sources

Books

  • Anderson, P and Weymouth A., Insulting the public: the British Press and the European Union (Longman, 1999)
  • Butler, D. and Kitzinger, U., The 1975 Referendum (Macmillan, 1996)
  • Campbell, J., Edward Heath (Jonathan Cape, 1993)
  • Cosgrave, P., The Lives of Enoch Powell (Bodley Head, 1989)
  • Courtauld, S., To Convey Intelligence: The Spectator 1928-98 (Profile, 1999)
  • Crick, M., Jeffrey Archer: Stranger than Fiction (Hamish Hamilton, 1995)
  • Denman, R., Missed Chances (Cassell, 1996)
  • Fisher, N., Iain Macleod (Andrè Deutsch ,1973)
  • George, S., An Awkward Partner: Britain in the European Community (Oxford University Press, 1994)
  • Goodheart, P., Full-Hearted Consent: The story of the Referendum Campaign - and the Campaign for a Referendum (1976)
  • Gowland, D. and Turner A, Reluctant Europeans: Britain and European Integration, 1945-98 (Longman, 2000)
  • Heath, E., The Course of My life: My Autobiography (Hodder and Stoughton, 1998)
  • Heffer, S., Like the Roman: The life of Enoch Powell (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1998)
  • Holmes, M., The Failure of the Heath Government (Macmillan, 2nd edn, 1997)
  • Holmes, M (ed.), The Eurosceptical Reader (Macmillan, 1996)
  • Koss, S., The Rise and Fall of the Political Press, Volume 2: The Twentieth Century (Hamish Hamilton,1984)
  • Lawson, N., The View from No. 11: Memoirs of a Tory Radical (Bantam Press, 1992)
  • Newton G., (Rutherford M.,ed.), A Peer Without Equal: Memoirs of an Editor (Intype, 1997)
  • Schoen, D.E., Powell and the Powellites (Macmillan, 1977)
  • Waugh, A., Will This Do? (Century, 1990)
  • Young, H., This Blessed Plot (Macmillan, 1998)

Articles

  • Cosgrave P., review of The Course of My Life by Edward Heath, The Independent, 13 Oct. 1998
  • Howard A., ‘The rise and peaceful fall of the weeklies’, The Times, 22 July 1978
  • Howard P., ‘How the politics of defeat has changed the tone of Britain’s political weeklies’, The Times, 20 July 1976
  • Lawson N., ‘Why Europe should slow down’; review of Democracy in Europe by Larry Siedentop, The Sunday Telegraph, 2 July 2000
  • Mandelson P., ‘The Press’s distorted coverage of Europe must stop’, The Independent, 4 July 2000
  • Wright P., ‘Spectator Sports’, The Guardian, 4 July 1994


NEWSLETTER
 

Sign up for our mailing
list and receive our
latest news, comment
and events.


But were afraid to ask
Everything you wanted to know about the EU
Robert Oulds 

Re-joining EFTA as an alternative to membership of the European Union
The Norway Option
Dr Richard North 

What is the best option , or best options, for Britain trading with EU countries?
EFTA or EU? Qs & As
Hugo van Randwyck 

Montgomery and the Battle of the Bulge
Knife Edge
Robert Oulds 

Rejecting the EU's regulatory instrument
Saying No to the Single Market
Ruth Lea 
Barry Legg 
Dr Andrew Lilico 
Ian Milne 
Professor David Myddelton 
Professor Jean-Jacques Rosa 

What a British Military Hero Can Teach Those Fighting Today's War on Terror
Montgomery and the First War on Terror
Robert Oulds 

Divide and Conquer
British Regionalization
George Buchan 
John Griffing 

Amounts, safeguards and breaches in the dyke
The UK’s risks and exposure to the EIB and other European financial mechanisms
Bob Lyddon 

'Isolation' and inward investment
Does the EU’s Single Market Encourage FDI into the UK?
Michael Burrage 

Enlightened despotism is despotism nonetheless
National Interests and the European Union
George Buchan 

The End of Imitative Europeanization?
The Eastern Partnership’s Troubles
Dr Andrey Karbovskiy 

To protect liberty we must preserve national sovereignty
Sovereignty and Liberty: An American Perspective
John Griffing 

A viable alternative to EU membership
EFTA or the EU?
Hugo van Randwyck 

Why the Euro cannot survive with Germany at its centre
German Economic Policy and the Euro 1999 - 2010
Richard Conquest 

The stark economic facts as to why the UK should leave the EU
The Single Market and British Withdrawal
Ian Milne 

The Ideology of Anti-democratic Governance
European Union Power
George Buchan 

The anti-democratic system by which we are governed
How EU Laws are Made
Dr Lee Rotherham 

Comparing the EU and the US response to climate alarmism
A Lesson in Democracy
Jeremy Nieboer 

How trust broke down in Britain
A Crisis of Trust
Stuart Wheeler 

The EU and its attack on Britain’s most successful industry
The City of London Under Threat
Professor Tim Congdon 

The Cameron approach does further damage to Britain’s ‘broken politics’
Tory ‘renegotiation’ is a slogan not a policy
Gerald Frost 

The impact of European Union legislation on Britain’s railways
On the Wrong Track
John Petley 

The United Kingdom and the European Union
Our Fight for Democracy
John Strafford 

Why the EU’s climate alarmism is both mistaken and dangerous
Cool Thinking on Climate Change
Roger Helmer MEP 

Analysis of the potential disaster facing the eurozone
Is the euro Sustainable?
Richard Conquest 

EU recovery plan costs UK £25 billion
The EU’s Credibility Crunch: Creator of economic downturn, Impediment to recovery
Damon Lambert 

£106,117 Per Minute Scandal
How much does the European Union cost Britain? 2008
Gerard Batten MEP 

Corporate Tax Threat to the Economy
Costly, Complex and Counterproductive: The Case Against a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base
Damon Lambert 

Submitting to authority dressed as virtue
Are the British a Servile People? Idealism and the EU
Professor Kenneth Minogue 

The radical changes needed if we are to survive as a free people
The Costs of Regulation and How the EU Makes Them Worse
William Mason 

Galileo up-date
Black is White: Government deception and the Galileo project
Gawain Towler 

Exposing the revived and renamed EU Constitution
A look at the Lisbon Treaty
Robert Oulds 

Discussing European integration and Britain's special path in history
The Principles of British Foreign Policy
Philip Vander Elst 

Britain in the 21st Century
Lost Illusions: British Foreign Policy
Ian Milne 

EU costing Britain £60.1 billion per year
How much does the European Union cost Britain? 2007
Gerard Batten MEP 

How can we afford to stay in
How much does the European Union cost Britain? 2006
Gerard Batten MEP 

Micro guide # 3
Another slice of the Salami: How the European Criminal Code is being introduced by stealth
Gawain Towler 

Alternatives to the EU #1
The Case for EFTA
Daniel Hannan MEP 

Alternatives to centralisation
Plan B For Europe: Lost Opportunities in the EU Constitution Debate
Dr Lee Rotherham 

Micro guide # 2
The Corpse Bride
Dr Lee Rotherham 

Micro guide #1
Can the EU be Reformed?
Robert Oulds 

Exposing the facts, busting the myths
All you need to know about the EU
Robert Oulds 

Europe's last chance
The Bottom Line
Robert Oulds 
Dr Lee Rotherham 

EU Constitution Briefing Paper # 06
Will the EU's Constitution Rescue its Currency?
Professor Tim Congdon 

Paper No. 47
Galileo: The Military and Political Dimensions
Dr Richard North 

A New World Order: What Role for Britain? #1
The Fate of Britain's National Interest
Professor Kenneth Minogue 

EU Constitution Briefing Paper # 05
Health and the Nation
Dr Lee Rotherham 

EU Constitution Briefing Paper # 04
Criminal Justice and the draft Constitution
The Rt Hon. Oliver Letwin MP 

EU Constitution Briefing Paper # 03
Subsidiarity and the Illusion of Democratic Control
John Bercow MP 

EU Constitution Briefing Paper # 02
A Constitution to destroy Europe
Bill Jamieson 

EU Constitution Briefing Paper # 01
Giscard d'Estaing's "Constitution": Muddle and Danger Presented in Absurd Prolixity
Leolin Price CBE QC 

Paper No. 46
Free Speech: The EU Version
Dr Brian Hindley 

Paper No. 45
Federalist Thought Control: The Brussels Propaganda Machine
Martin Ball 
Robert Oulds 
Dr Lee Rotherham 

Paper No. 44
Democracy in Crisis: The White Paper on European Governance
Nigel Farage MEP 

Paper No. 43
European Union and the Politics of Culture
Dr Cris Shore 

Paper No. 42
Britain and Europe: The Culture of Deceit
Christopher Booker 

Paper No. 41
Ultimate Vindication: The Spectator and Europe 1966-79
Thomas Teodorczuk 

Paper No. 40
William Hague's European Policy
Dr Martin Holmes 

Paper No. 39
The Myth of Europe
Russell Lewis 

Paper No. 38
Alien Thoughts: Reflections on Identity
Robert W Cahn 
Yahya El-Droubie 
Dr Helen Szamuely 

Paper No. 37
The Bank that rules Europe? The ECB and Central Bank Independence
Mark Baimbridge 
Brian Burkitt 
Philip Whyman 

Paper No. 36
Conservative MEPs and the European People's Party: Time for Divorce
Martin Ball 
Jonathan Collett 

Paper No. 35
Franco–German Friendship and the Destination of Federalism
Dr Martin Holmes 

Paper No. 33
Aiming for the Heart of Europe: A Misguided Venture
John Bercow MP 

Paper No. 32
Britain's Economic Destiny: A Business Perspective
Sir Michael Edwardes 

Paper No. 31
Is Europe Ready for EMU? Theory, Evidence and Consequences
Mark Baimbridge 
Brian Burkitt 
Philip Whyman 

Paper No. 30
Reviewing Europe: Selected Book Reviews 1991 - 7
Dr Martin Holmes 

Paper No. 28
John Major and Europe: The Failure of a Policy 1990-7
Dr Martin Holmes 

Paper No. 26
Professor A.J.P. Taylor on Europe: The Historian Who Predicted the Future
Peter Oborne 

Paper No. 25
Godfather of the European Union: Altiero Spinelli
Lindsay Jenkins 

Paper No. 24
A Single European Currency: Why the United Kingdom must say 'No'
The Rt Hon. David Heathcoat-Amory MP 

Paper No. 23
The Conservative Conference & Euro-Sceptical Motions 1992-95
Martin Ball 

Paper No. 20
From Single Market to Single Currency: Evaluating Europe's Economic Experiment
Dr Martin Holmes 

Paper No. 17
The Conservative Party and Europe
Dr Martin Holmes 

Paper No. 34
Bruges Revisited
The Rt Hon. Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, FRS