Ingham on Europe

Bernard Ingham and Margaret Thatcher
In today’s FT, William Hague underlines (again) that a new Conservative government will see the European Union as a platform for achieving progress on global issues.

With David Miliband’s enthusiasm for a G3, we’re left with robust cross-party consensus on Europe’s role as a foreign policy actor (whether it can fulfil this role is another matter).

I’m reminded of how Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary, Bernard Ingham reacted when asked, shortly after the new Tory government took office, to write a report on how the government could build public support for the European Community.

According to Robert Harris, Ingam wrote that:

A community of 250 million could achieve more than a ‘debilitated nation of 55 million, however much the latter may trade on past imperial glory‘.

Government publicity should stress this, ‘with all the instruments of the orchestra, not only central Government, reading the same score, playing the same tune and coming in on cue.’

True in 1980. Even more so thirty years’ later.

(Photo from Iain Dale.)