tv Former Thatcher Speechwriter Discusses Brexit Vote CSPAN June 20, 2016 8:31am-9:43am EDT
parliament paid tribute to labour party lawmaker joe cox who was shot and killed last week. live coverage from the british house of commons today at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span2. >> the heritage foundation hosted a discussion friday with margaret thatcher's former speech writer on the upcoming e.u. referendum vote set to take place this thursday. this discussion also comes a day after jo cox was shot and killed outside her constituency in leeds. as a result, campaigns for the referendum were halted. this is just over an hour. [applause] >> thank you very much, john. good morning. welcome to the heritage foundation and the margaret thatcher center for freedom. it is my great pleasure to introduce john o'sullivan. i've known john for over 15 years and first met him when i worked for lady thatcher's
private office in london. he is one of the most gifted conservative writers of his generation. and is responsible for crafting some of margaret thatcher's most powerful speeches. it is fitting, therefore, that john is able to join us today to talk about margaret thatcher and brexit just days before the historic british referendum on e.u. membership due to be held on june 23rd, next week. john o'sullivan served as special adviser to prime minister thatcher on downing street from 1976-1988 and assisted her in the best selling memoirs, the downing street years. john is editor of quadrant magazine and president of the danube market in budapest, hungary. john is also senior fellow at the national review and editor at large of national review
where he served as editor-in-chief for almost a decade. in four decades as a writer, columnist, editor on both sides of the atlantic, john o'sullivan served most recently as the executive editor of radio-free europe, radio limiter in prague, and as editor-in-chief of united press international. his book, the president, the pope and the prime minister on the roles played in the clash of communism and the revival of western democracies has been published in seven languages. please join can me in welcoming -- join me in welcoming john o'sullivan. ms. . [applause] >> now, ladies and gentlemen, many thanks for inviting me today. and for giving me such a generous introduction. as my mother used to say when she heard things like that, john just doesn't seem to be able to hold down a job. [laughter] you've given me, also, a very strong topic and a highly
controversial topic, namely brexit and next week's referendum on it. now, controversy on that question has been briefly stilled in britain by the day of mourning for jo cox, the young woman labour mp who was murdered yesterday in the most brutal and horrible fashion by one of her constituents who we must hope was a mentally disturbed man and not some kind of political fanatic. most of us here in this room would not share ms. cox's politics, but she was public spirited, adventurous intellectual my, a bonny opponent, a wife and missouri and someone who had run -- risen from a poor background, the first member of her family to go to college to the anteroom of high political office. we should mourn her passing, seek justice from her murderer. all quarrels halt at the grave. we here carry on disagreeing.
my topic today is thatcher. thatcher on brexit. it seemed to me a few months ago, highly significant, that almost the first battle of the referendum campaign was over the question what would maggie do. more precisely, how would maggie thatcher vote in next thursday's referendum. it was a quarrel between mrs. thatcher's former aides, friends of mine -- and of yours now -- but not household names outside that small circle. but it was, therefore, a well informed debate. what is more interesting even in the outcome of that controversy, however, is the fact of it. fully a quarter sently after she left office -- century after she left office, margaret thatcher is only two post-war british prime ministers, the other is churchill, whose views remain both contested and important to large numbers of british people. that is because whatever other sit drivens may be leveled
against them and may be believed, both leaders are recognized universally to have had a visceral patriotism that made them love their country and fight hard for its interests. no other prime ministers before or since inspire quite that same belief. and that's why people ask what would maggie do. i'm going to return to that question in a few minutes. but to do so, i must first describe the thatcher legacy or what is also called thatcherrism. if you want to understand the basic emotional drive of margaret thatcher embodied in thatcherrism, it is to be found in some words that she addressed to a television interviewer towards the close of the 1979 election campaign. with the election campaign almost over, she felt able for a moment to let down her guard. and she exclaimed, i can't bear britain in decline. i just can't bear it. now, that outburst was
completely sincere. it was also prophetic. whatever else it was, thatcherrism was a politics designed to halt and reverse the decline of britain. but margaret thatcher was a practical politician rather than a philosopher, and her legacy is the record and result of practical responses to the problems facing britain of the day. initially, excuse me, initially, reversing britain's decline was seen by her in economic terms. because the most obvious problems were economic ones. her remedies were cautious, flexible and responsive to those problems as they crossed the government's path. insofar as they were rooted in ideology, they were drawn largely from the anglo-scottish tradition of classical, liberal economics. but as the late shirley ledwin points out in her fine study, the anatomy of thatcherrism, that had belonged to both
parties. it was seen as a conservative or nonpartisan tradition as much as the classical liberal one. it was also an intellectually formidable tradition. bo all, however -- above all, however, the most obvious rival set of economic solutions, social democratic version of keynesianism, seemed to have come to the end of its tether with strikes that brought britain to a standstill this what became known as the winter of discontent. thatcherrism and economics, therefore, had a strong claim to being a new economic common sense following the implosion of post-war consensus economics. but thatcherrism was never a purely economic set of ideas. when british interests were challenged from other directions as in the falklands war and the cold war, mrs. thatcher drew on ore relevant traditions; notably, tough-minded realism
and a moralistic one of liberal internationalism to justify whatever her patriotic purposes were of the day. moreover, thatcher -- whether in economics or foreign policy were not the final determinants of policy. a fierce patriotism drove her. but it was governed by a highly practical prudence. her two central victories in the falklands war and the miners' strike showed this is so. she did not expect or plan for an argentinean seizure of the falklands. but a politics of national regeneration could hardly refuse such a challenge. she let mediation efforts play out til the end. she took calculated risks militarily and dip diplomaticaly but only after she had digested the midwest economic and
military advice. at several points she offered concessions that she privately thought danger, but she did so from the calculations that greater dangers lay in on door city. all in all, she maneuvered to victory as much as moving boldly towards it. similarly, she veppedded to the miners' union demands in 1981 when she was informed that britain had insufficient coal stocks to resist a strike. but she at once began a buildup of coal stocks and other preparations to resist a strike that might come later. when it did come later, three years later, she defeated it. these two outright political victories, one military, ran counter to the usual post-war british politics of compromise and splitting the difference. together with her prominence in cold war diplomacy and her
successful economic policy, they established her domestic dominance, entrenched her economic and labour movement reforms and elevated her international profile. in foreign affairs be, mrs. thatcher personally played a crucial role in helping other west european governments to resist the powerful peace movement and, thus, getting u.s. missiles stationed in western europe. in my view, that's the moment we won the cold war. she brought together reagan and gorbachev towards ending the cold war peacefully at the various summits of the mid to late 1980s. to be sure. thatcher was, obviously, a subordinate partner in the thatcher/reagan relationship on military and diplomatic policy. given the relative size of the two economies and militaries,ing it could hardly have been otherwise. indeed, she should also have been the junior partner in term ors of economic influence too.
but she wasn't. it is mrs. thatcher who will probably be regarded but history as the more influential and revolutionary economic reformer. why should that be so? in the first place, the recovery of the british economy in the 1980s was more impressive because it started from a lower economic point and occurred in a more left-wing country. jimmy carter was quite good at ruining an economy, but he didn't match anyway the socialists who had been running britain for most of the post-wartime. then mrs. thatcher had a harder opposition to overcome. her labour market deregulation, for instance, had to overcome resistance from the timid torrey wets as well as from labour. and finally, the reforms had to defeat major nonparliamentary challenges from the unions. once the miners were defeated, however, the british economy joined the american one in providing a demonstration effect
of what free market reforms could accomplish in a relatively short time. those demonstration effects were no, however, identical. tax cuts were america's principal intellectual export in the reagan years. privatization was britain's. of the two, privatization turned out to be more important globally since both third world and post-communist economies were burdened by large, inefficient state industries to which privatization was a ready-made solution. so when privatization succeeded, which it did with surprising speed, the most unlikely converts took note. thatcher even more than reagan posed an economic challenge to the soviet union. either reform or fall further behind the capitalist west. the comparison between the british economy after a decade of free market economics and the continuing stagnation of the soviet economy after 70 years of
communism were simply too embarrassing to ignore. once perestroika was introduced, however -- and that was the result. once it was introduced, it very rapidly destroyed the communist system it was designed to save. and once the command economies of the soviet bloc collapsed in 1989 revealing the extraordinary wasteland produced by state planning, it was the thatcher model that the new democracies mainly sought to emulate. thatcher, reagan and john paul ii were all heroes in post-communist europe. but it was thatcher to whom the new economy ministers such as poland's, czechoslovakia's and estonia's looked to as their model of how to reform a bankrupt socialist economy. they say as much today. and the more thoroughly they
followed the model, the more quickly their economies rose from the dead. it was not only in the post-communist world, however, that margaret thatcher was seen as an inspiration. thatcherrism had an important impact both in car and asia -- africa and asia. lower taxes, the reduction of barriers to trade and capital movements. these became the new, conventional wisdom in ministries of finance around the globe. their broad result? globalization has become -- became the watch word of world bank and imf reports. now, there are naturally points of view much more critical of the thatcher legacy than you have just heard from me. they argued that her economic policies, some, the labour veterans, argue that her policies failed. now, it is undoubtedly true that errors were made in the that manier years. it's hard to imagine any government that doesn't make some such errors.
burr they were far outweighed by the economic successes of thatcherrism; notably, a sustained rise in productivity. some of those successes were evident at the time. she left britain as the world's fourth largest economy. but the general and sustained economic performance continued through the major administrations more or less right up to the 2008 financial crisis. indeed, on becoming chancellor in 1997 after the labour victory, gordon brown was given a treasury briefing which concluded -- on the economy, which concluded with the words these are wonderful figures, to which he he famously replied, what do you want me to do, send them a thank you note? even if the liberal criticisms of thatcher's economic legacy were correct, however, they would not be a conclusive criticism of her overwith all record. her privatization revolution, her safeguarding constitutional
democracy by her defeat of the miners, her victory in the falkland, her role in the defeat of communism, her trade union reforms, these and other changes she wrought were plainly both important and beneficial in political or strategic or constitutional terms even if they had contributed nothing to economic improvement which, of course, they did. one can sensibly mount modest, particular criticisms of these achai.s. but it is -- achievements. but it is simply not possible to persuade open-minded people that they are substantial failures or political disasters. the proof of that is while parties continue to dislike them, they do not propose their repeal or rejection. now, the exception to this list of achievements is the european union. most of mrs. thatcher's biographers and critics believe that her stance on europe was the major historical error that
her party and her country would see in retrospect as nostalgia. she would be left behind by history and by britain when it eventually embraced a european future. and until the last few months when the brexit referendum revealed that britain is split down the middle on whether its identity ask and future are truly european, it looked as though her critics might be right. but it is clear that this question is still an open one. and since her views will and do influence others, the referendum debate on what would maggie do began. now, it began when charles powell, now lord powell of -- [inaudible] wrote an opening salvo in the sunday times in which he argued she would say vote yes in the brexit referendum. charles was lady thatcher's closest collaborator on foreign policy many downing street. his closeness is indicated by the fact that he and his wife,
carla, were the only other guests at the downing street dinner party that prime minister thatcher and sir dennis gave to president and mrs. reagan on his last official visit to britain. there were six people around that table, and charles and carla were among them. he remained a close and devoted friend to lady thatcher right until the day of her death. in fact, he was the last friend to see her. i think that his opinion on this question commands, therefore, respect. so, however, does the opinion of robin harris who vigorously disputed powell's judgment in the london spectator. robin was an adviser to mrs. thatcher on downing street, head of the conservative research department before that. one of the ghosts who helped with her biography as i did and as -- [inaudible] and the man who helped her with her final book, state craft. he declares adamantly, i know that margaret thatcher would have fought for brexit with all her strength.
charles' judgment was seconded in a a letter to the times by one former cabinet minister in mrs. thatcher's cabinet. robin's judgment was seconded by another, more politically substantial one, lord -- [inaudible] and also, as i recall now, by you. weighing in from the sidelines was charles moore, her distinguished most recent biographer who in the spectator cautiously said that he doesn't usually peck late on -- speculate on what mrs. thatcher might have done about controversies and issues that took place after her death. but he concludes that in the end, yes, she had firmly but privately embraced brexit by the end of her public life. this is a very distinguished list of mag enough coes. who is right? well, i customarily take the same position as charles when asked what mrs. thatcher would have done ant -- about the iraq
war or brexit or anything else. in the strictest sense, it is impossible to know what someone would have done about an event after her or his death for the simple reason that the deceased didn't know the circumstances in which the event takes place. and as edmund burke remarked, circumstances which for some gentlemen pass for nothing, here in reality every political principal, its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. the circumstances are what render or every civil and political climb either beneficial or noxious to mankind. in this case charles powell would presumably argue that the reforms prime minister david cameron brought back from his european tour forms europe and britain's relationship with it were a real improvement in the european union and, thus, favorable circumstances that would move a revive ared lady thatcher to remain in the
forthcoming referendum. equally, robin harris would doubtless respond that these reforms are so trivial they not only fail to render the european union less knox us, but even show a contempt for country. in other words, the debate would become one about the wisdom or otherwise of the substantive decision as much as or more than what mrs. thatcher would decide if given all the facts of the case. when that happens, i'm afraid we all bring our personal biases to making such judgments, and we risk fathering our own opinions on the deceased. that said, we need not observe the stricter standards in the interest of reaching a common sense verdict. in this case on what maggie would have done. to do that plausibly, we must test the reasons that these well informed and intelligent people give for holding such opposing views. robin harris and his side have
the more straightforward test. they simply quote statements mrs. thatcher made in state craft, her last book, in occasional public speeches and private conversations criticizing the european union. criticizing also its federalist ambitions and its direction of travel. some of her public statements go to the very brink of advocating for withdrawal from the e.u. and then just stop there. but she went further in private and told a number of people simply that she wanted to withdraw. charles powell does not deny this, but he argues that there were effectively two thatchers who veered back and forth between her excitable rhetoric and her rational decisions. she could fulminate against europe, he says, as harshly as the most hardened euro skeptic and then, i quote, settle for the best she could get in european negotiations. now, there's undoubtedly a great deal of truth in this picture that charles paints.
on a few occasions, i was in the room when she did exactly that. she was blowing off steam in frustration at the antics of britain's european partners, and having done that and relieved her feelings, she settled down to work out, generally, with charles powell what she had to to concede to get what she wanted. sometimes she later considered that she'd made a mistake. charles, in my view, would be less than human if believing in the remaining causes he does, he did not always believe that he would be able to work out a similar deal with her on this occasion to stay in europe on better or terms. that said, which version is closer to a dispassionate reality? let me suggest three criteria of judgment. in the first place, though there were occasions when mrs. thatcher fulminated in private and conceded later in public, her public statements were almost invariably cautious, well calculated and reflective of her intended policy.
yet from her last year in office until she left public life, her speeches on the european union were almost uniformly critical on security, on its intrusions into domestic policy and on its weakening of national sovereignty. here is an excerpt from a speech she gave to the congress of prague in 1996. i quote: the overall european federalist project which was envisaged by some from the start but which has only in recent years come out into the open, is in truth a nightmare. or, from her book state craft: that such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a european superstate was ever embarked upon will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era and that britain, with her traditional strengths and global destiny, should ever have been part of it will appear to be a political error of historic
magnitude. i think it's hard to accept that this consistent line of argument over more than a decade was a case of blowing off steam, that she would discard when faced with the decision on brexit. secondly, although mrs. thatcher changed her mind on particularly european issue, she did not zigzag on europe. she doesn't go back and forth in policy terms. there is a clear trajectory in her career that takes her from being an unenthusiastic endorser of u.k. membership in the 1975 referendum through growing disenchantment towards it as prime minister to her later severe criticisms of it quoted above. she moved e erratically but consistently in a euro-skeptic direction, and there is no indication of any reverse movement later. finally, though charles is right to say she laid groundwork for making the european union a more
habitable institution for the british, she obtained, for example, a financial rebate for the u.k.'s excessive payments to brussels, it's also true that later prime ministers surrendered, gave that achievement back and surrendered still more sovereignty to brussels. again, it is hard to imagine her voting for a european legal order which means that sovereignty rests with european institutions like the european court of justice rather than at westminster. and, of course, the only way to remedy this is brexit. all of which inclines me to the robin harris side of the argument. it seems to me to be obvious, that the woman who said i can't stand britain in decline, i just can't stand it would be appalled by the leave campaign, the basis -- by the remain campaign, i'm sorry, the basis its case for the e.u. on the argument that britain, the fifth largest economy in the world thanks to her is too small and feeble to
exist outside a german-run -- [inaudible] but i am already on the brexit side of the argument, so you must, you must aim off for bias in my own views. that being so, let me try to go deeper into thatcherrism rather than simply consider what mrs. thatcher, the political leader, said on this. in her important study of thatcherrism, mrs. leftwin argues that thatcherrism drew more broadly on a distinctive english morality and philosophically sophisticated book she argues that since medieval times other european nations had a morality that drawing on the classical philosophers distinguished between reason and the passions, thinking that reason should be vested in a government powerful enough to control the unruly passionses of its citizens and to prevent their descent into conflict. the english, however, had developed a different view of
reason as something not distinct from or opposed to passions, but as integrated with them in a single faculty. in this moral vision, the thatcherite one, reason is a faculty that enables human beings to interpret and respond to experience as they will, a creative power that enables each person to choose differently from others. indeed, differently from what he himself did yesterday, unquote. so an individual is neither a mechanical effect of larger social causes, nor a plaything of his or her own ununruly passions. as she writes: in this picture then, a human being in possession of its faculties is never merely potter's clay. he is himself both potter and clay. because he necessarily decides what to make of whatever happens to him. and if individuals are rational beings making choices in the
light of the opportunities open to them, those choices should be respected. social and political institutions should not be their permanent guardians imposing order on them against their desires, but arrangements to enable them to make their choices without bumping into 'em each other and, therefore, allowing them the maximum freedom in doing so. thatcherrism is believes in this almost lost english social vision. .
>> but able to hold platoon. sing songs from her youth but others have forgotten until her singing stirs their memory. then they see things again as they want something. interview, the surprisingly swift revival of england's vigorous virtues and other concept, and lean enterprise. the swift recovery of british industry and economy once it has been given thatcher like freedoms. one need not share this entire analysis in order to see if thatcherism as the recovery of those forgotten songs. they are a theoretical spirit of english individuality.
both liberal and conservative, both patriotic and open-minded that once encompassed all english people and across both parties. now, however, they mark any division between those who still resonate to this old and liberals. and those converted to the new constructivist liberalism of europe. you may have thought my argument about reason and conflict has been unduly abstract and i would sympathize with you but consider this. the founders of the european union explicitly justified their new political order as a means of preventing their people from following their passions into conflict. that is why they have deprived them of so much, of the time of democratic institutions that we in this country and in england in 20 other areas i tend to take for granted. and yet almost inevitably given the paradox of history, it is
the european successes to those founding fathers who now activate national conflict and social distress by their own unruly passions for uniformity in the case of the euro and other european institutions. well, that was of course mrs. thatcher's last battle. she reached conclusions on the euro and more broadly on britain's european commitment. she took time to do so. as a practical politician she was always a work in progress. always the clever scholarship a girl reading a new book. feeling her weight a new policy areas, but as she grew more confident on an issue making judgments that were generally consistent with all her other political instincts. the more she encountered the european union, the more suspicious of which he became. it seemed to her to concentrate the centralizing and leveling
passions in one vast your credit machine, and sensitive both to the sovereignty of nations and to the aspirations of citizens. above all she believed it simply did not suit the british would grow up on the different institutions and with a different social outlook. on this issue she will prove to be neither ahead of her party or behind history. if brexit does occur, thatcherism might be the start of a new phase of english history. leading either to an adventurous independents english nationalism in the style though in different circumstances, an elizabethan england or to a renewed closeness to the countries of the anglo sphere straddling the world. if britain's -- that britain remains to vote in, she will be behind history. thatcherism will look like a glorious last stand by liberal in england before it is subsumed into a collective european non-identity. in my view, in either event she
will have deserved well of the people she governed for 11 years. without her they would not be having any choice in the matter. thank you. [applause] >> john, thank you very much those beautifully crafted remarks, extremely insightful, and i'd like to actually ask you an opening question with regard to the impact of brexit on the angle american special relationship. how do you see britain post-brexit be shaping the special relationship? could you also comment on the president obama's intervention a few weeks ago what he wanted the british people against leaving the european union, telling them they would be at the back of the
queue if they don't vote for brexit? >> well, if, indeed, the british vote for brexit, that will start a process. it will not come overnight there will be no change. they will be essentially two years of negotiating a new relationship between britain and europe. i think that will be accomplished much would easily than many people, including president obama, have argued. britain is the largest market for the goods of the risk of goods and services of the rest of europe, and it's not in anyone's interest that should a kind of trade war. and both sides will therefore i think act rationally once the shock is over. furthermore, even supposed for example, the british don't reach an agreement on entry into the single market, that doesn't mean that trade will stop. i mean, most of the world is not
a member of the european single market. america isn't. if america trades a more with the eu countries, than does britain, export more to them. i think it would be a period of rational reconsideration of the best deal that both sides can get, and i don't believe it will be a terrible outcome. i think will be a better outcome for both. because one of the disadvantages the europeans have had with the british and europe is that they were always objected to what most of the other european countries wanted to do. i think those objections are completely visible from of the british template. we are much more frequent than the rest of your. are much more critical of regulation, much more skeptical, much more for your economy the rest of europe. i personally think the best way to do with thos those questionss through the device of what's called jurisdictional competition, different countries have different taxes and regulations and we see which works out best when those
countries compete. i think we would be moving to that when we leave, if we leave the eu through brexit. so that i think is, massive change. into law what i think the british will tend to look first to the countries of the former commonwealth, now alone as the endless your. what of those countries will be america but i think some of the earlier arrangements will be with canada, australia and new zealand. in fact, some of you may know the work of james bennett, sometimes known as the father of the anglo sphere. is developed so for practical detailed plans which are available online. i recommend them to all of you. i believe without having his technical knowledge, and i think in some the work is done i believe there will be relatively easy to stop at of close relations which were severed by the british decision to enter europe in the '60s and '70s.
so i think it will be with those countries first that britain finds itself moving towards, the special relationship would like its part in that but it will not be the only relationship. and will be a slight nervousness at the beginning whoever is prime minister, and the ministers in the cabinet, and seeming to in this sense rush to be america's best friend. because at the moment the special relationship in england has been suffering something of a decline. i think we need to work on that but it will not be the very first thing of the british will do in the circumstances. they will be look at other members. when he did it with infielder of their in the strong position to approach the united states with some suggestions for social work. >> thank you, john. i'd like to invite questions from the audience. please do identify yourself in any institutional affiliation
you may have when you ask a question. >> you quite rightly make the point that leaving the eu is not the same as leaving europe. can i ask what you feel the outcome of what the june 23 vote will be and what you make of the view that britain should remain in the eu? >> two things. one is of course the tragic death of jo cox as innocents brought all of the discussion over next week to a halt. it may be that this will have some effect on the result of maybe pressing turnout for example, maybe producing some sentimental vote to be on her side.
and maybe, i haven't got the latest news, but the murderer seems that some sort of connection, i'm not sure about this, with fanatical groups. if that's the case i think i will be a slight disadvantage i can fairly for the brexit site. these things happen. i can't predict the outcome. i would've said last week that brexit seems likely to win, because the momentum was going towards it. and because the campaign to remain has been waged has been a failure. they have lost the battle in that sense. i will say this. what will happen as a result, whatever the results, whether it is yes or no, whether britain remains or goes, the european debate has been completely restored in british politics. we now know that people who want to leave the european union are half the population. then maybe 50-40% or 52%.
they may fall to 40 but they will not fall below. they may rise to 5 55 or 60 butt will not go about that. but they are there. you can't have half the population believing something powerfully with the rest of the political structure, the major parties, the bbc, the media acting as if they are a small handful of cracks. so the european debate has been completely transform in britain, and that's a permanent change. it have to be reflected in the conservative party. there's one interesting point about this debate, the last three or four months, it's been conducted almost entirely within the conservative party. because the parties just haven't counted. first of all the have been counted because, well, people thought they were uniformly committed to remaining within but that's not quite true. the labor vote contestants a lot
of people who want to leave. they are discovering this at some of the people move to brexit. move to ukip ukip itself is not a permanent part of the british structure, and if britain decides to remain in it will be a watchdog to make sure that any other government will continue to keep the promises they made to the british people in this campaign. british politics has been altered permanently by this referendum campaign, whatever the result. it's going to be altered in a way i think is better because the previous result was to try to deny the plain fact that millions of british people were eurosceptics, if you treat them as people who were really not worth listening to. i know tony as you public and i think they're very highly of them. i think he's wrong on this but it's not surprising.
the entire kind of international establishment which tony as a kind of not a member of but nonetheless he didn't i think, he would've had to spend a lot more time thinking about it and really looking into it before he felt he could come out with anything on the other side. i think he did have, i think is may notice, he must speak for himself but i think his main concern was the unity and stability of europe at a time when it is being threatened by putin. i understand the. i don't think it needs to the conclusion that he reached that it's a very serious matter and, of course, retrospect that kind of reasoning. >> to questions confront. i will take them together. >> john, you didn't discuss the future of united kingdom if we have brexit. that is, could you comment on
scotland and how that might fit into the debate? >> "u.s. news & world report." i'm just curious, your thoughts on whether or not europe is willing to let europe go regardless of the reference. here in the united states with operators on the idea that we are sovereign political entities joined together in free association from which they could withdraw and i did was put to bed in 1865. so i'm wondering if europe will actually let britain go? >> first of all, nice to see you again. what was your question now? i forgot. okay, the answer is we have to pile hypotheticals on hypotheticals. we don't know the results of brexit are supposing brexit passes. we don't know whether or not it would pass in scotland. i know scott's committed what he says the scots will vote against it. they may. by how much?
thirdly, who is going to bring him who is going to pass this built up a second referendum? it would have to be eventually agreed by the british government which bobby weed and agree you had a referendum in scotland two years ago, and referendums are not, what's that famous punch cartoon? to have a copy of the french constitution? i'm sorry, we do not stock during articles. and final w we don't know it wod get to the scottish bar but because the scottish national party no longer has a majority. most of the other parties would be opposed to leaving. i think all of them. it's a possibility it may happen. have been. my view of scottish independence referendum was i didn't want the scots to leave the union, and it turned out they didn't but they decided if they wanted to go, i think it would not, my final point on this, i think the scots if they wanted to go would look at the changed circumstances
that they would be facing as a country leaving the uk with the price of oil in the basement, which come and that was, high price of oil was basis of the economic case for scottish independence. and with the spaniards determined not to an incentive to catalonia, a president for catalonia leaving by letting the scots and. i don't think i think it's one of those scare stories which will become it doesn't matter. isn't true. it's not something which keeps me awake and i. finally, because after all, if the scots want to go, we will let them go. they may come back. i didn't recognize you with the beard. how are you? and what was your question? [inaudible] spent i think there's no doubt about that. it is possible to imagine circumstances in 200 years in
which a european super state would not allow one of its members to disappear. but i think we're talking about it in a completely different world. we don't know what it will look like for the moment. the great desire in europe to keep people in. but the way it's done is not with the guns but with large checks, which the northern europeans right and the southern europeans cash. i think that would be true until germany runs out of money, and i think it will be interesting i don't think there will be a battle. >> a question right here in front. >> i have a question about the effect of brexit on the relationship between the european union and russia. so i'm thinking both that
western europe tends to be more accommodationist with russia than britain is. and also a populist parties am a the pro-exit the parties of the european union tend to be accommodation, accommodationist unless they are right on the border of russia. and so won't all of this, and the tendency to accommodate i germany, won't all those tendencies get greater impetus either for the breakup of the union or for more accommodation, or both? >> let me try to answer to his. i will talk about nato on the one and talk about the countries of central europe which i think you award of becoming to accommodationist. my own view is european defense policy, the attempted rape a separate, independent european
defense, separate, i'm a european army, for example, is either diverts resources from nato or duplicates what nato already does is a bad thing. the americans come and before the british, should not have gone along with it. they should've insisted that the european defense treaty, which protects the whole of europe and has done so now since that 49 is nato. we don't want what is it, except no substitutes because those substitutes are a distraction, and the resources, at a time when the europeans are not spending enough money on defense of any kind. that's what we should be sent to them. instead of creating these fancy dress uniforms, what we need is the europeans to spend more on defense. i think that may happen as a result of the rising anxiety about putting and russia.
-- putin. i think britain leaving the european defense structure would be a plus, it would be a good thing and we shouldn't fear it. the second point, quickly, i think the stuff about the accommodationist answer to your is overdone. it is a reaction to the fact that in 2009, president obama essentially told the central europeans that he wasn't interested in them. he withdrew the deal over the missile defense treaty. he told the polls on the anniversary of the invasion of poland of 1939, and so that quite recently begun to fear is what got an aggressive russia on our border our next-door to our border, we have to find a way of not irritating them. i think that is more than anything else is the response. you will have noticed that the center european countries have
continued to play their part in upholding nato and eu sanctions on putin's russia. they haven't stopped the. they don't like it because it called for their economies which are often quite, falling week. but they have kept, signed on and kept, maintained, the sanctions on russia. i think this is overstated. >> it seems that today immigration and sovereignty motivate the right in the uk, and what you said about english morality, you kind of associate that with economic and foreign policy. and today, the children -- [inaudible] a post to the eu and immigration. to what extent does not appeal
to those people today? >> well, i think immigration policy should be always in all countries, should be determined by the capacity of the country, both economic terms and in cultural terms. what you want is immigration to run as a level. that means those people don't feel that new arrivals don't feel they are joining a small imitation enclave of their own country, but i don't america are joining britain were joining australia. in general, that has been true and successful. for how long? well, i think it was successful until sometime in the '80s. and since then the numbers of
immigrants coming in in all countries, sometimes their character, the sense that they want to maintain separate kind of institution, separate kind of nationality within america or within britain, that has led to really serious problems. problems of national cohesion and social order, terrorism. so we have to bear all those things in mind in a practical way. mrs. thatcher did control immigration. she didn't stop it. it continues at a moderate level but it didn't rise to the level of which it created and fostered tension in society. groups assimilated fairly well. not all groups as a new. muslims are always hard to assembly. they have a much more impervious separatist culture, and they
assimilate in one sense. they get jobs, become productive members of society but often maintain a different consciousness from the rest of society. the problem is britain is that the british and portuguese interestingly. we no longer teach our own children to be proud of being british. something which is disappeared. you still do. and mrs. thatcher sort i wanted to do. at one point in the war, churchill was asked by one of his ministers, butler, what i'm going to teach the children in the new schools w we're plannin? and churchill said, taliban how wolf took québec -- tell them. in the way he's right. but we need to work out the implications of churchill's remarks and we have to apply it in our own schools. it's interesting that countries like india, for example, to stress in their schools commitment to the country. they have the same kind of
attitudes as americans do. they pledge allegiance to the flight and that kind of thing. it's very hard to imagine that happening in britain today but if britain is to survive, it's going to be, thinkable again. >> i'm curious about your views as pointed out on breitbart news, immigration is really the successful argument that belief campaign has used against the state campaign. the second part is i remember reading in a canadian newspaper during lady thatcher's governance and one of the newspapers about his proposal about a monetary union within the anglosphere. thank you for using that term, between u.s., canada, between canada, uk, australia and new zealand.
spent i'm sorry, so the question? sorry, what's the question? [inaudible] >> i'm not an economist. looking at the euro makes me think there should be very series of tests before we have monitored you. we would of course be going back to a sterling ever. i would like to leave it to the monitor experts. i can see where something is feeling like you're i don't necessarily want to lay the groundwork for something that might fail as well. as regards immigration in the debate, yes. in a way the battle company's you are thinking over brexit has been the battle between the remaining people so wrapped remain in europe to be prosperous your i personally think that's false, and so do a
lot of economist. apparently not the majority but, frankly, with experts in different it's for the rest of us to make the best choice weekend. there isn't a single expert view on the. that's what they are saying. we've got to remain in to be prosperous. the other side says look, i'm happy to me in a free trade area but we don't want to find ourselves living in a country in which we don't govern ourselves. britain has been self-governing democracy, and we don't see any reason why we should do that. the sovereignty argument. the problem with the sovereignty argument has been that it is a somewhat abstract argument. unless you have an example of a loss of sovereignty is damaging to you. and in this case the fact that you're under the rules of the european union computer able to control the entry of european citizens into your country at all.
they have free movement of labor and free movement of persons. so you've lost control of the immigration, immigration has been very high, old from the eu and from other parts of the world, and the majority of citizens are very worried about it. during the campaign new figures came out suggesting that the government simply didn't know how many people were come into the country enemy people are actually claiming tax was and so on and so forth. so the immigration has been a very important part of the brexit debate because it's been a very strong illustration of a loss of sovereignty and what it can mean in practical terms. and if brexit is passed that would be one of the major reasons it has passed. >> i'm one of your former employees.
my question is i know you are for brexit. if you are running the campaign against it but would you say is the best argument? >> that's an interesting question. because the campaign hasn't succeeded. that is to say they may win narrowly, but the campaign as a whole of the remaining people has been a failure. one of the reasons being that if you keep some of the claims of what will happen becomes so ludicrous exaggerate the people just dismiss them. probably, you may not have seen a television, david cameron's first exposure to this when he gave an interview to, i forget which a television company, but the interviewer said to him, mentioning two recent prophecies of his own, said tommy, a
minister, what's going to come first after brexit? world war ii or the great depression? .gov the whole audience exploded in laughter because obviously the kind of exaggerated claim was simply not being believed. i thought at that point, they will have to scale back of that. they will have to be doing something a bit cool and calm her, but they haven't. this week the chancellor of the exchequer george osborne threatened an emergency budget if brexit passed that would raise taxes by 30 billion pounds. that is produced two very strong rebukes. 57% of mps said they would never vote for such a budget which was the exact opposite of what she should do in the event of the problems he was predicting. and two former judge source of the exchequer and to party leaders wrote a letter to the telegraph saying that osborne was indulging in silly scare
stories on desperation. this is the key since. you don't often get former party leader scientists. no responsible chancellor could make such, could pursue such a policy. inventory turns, the arguments tend to be discreet, that is a nuclear weapon. so is a very, so that policy fail. i suppose i would stress as they have done the uncertainties and risks of life outside. that's what they've done. the problem is that the other side can stress of the uncertainties of risks remain within the european union, particularly if the european union is thinking about establishing new sorts of european institutions like a european army our new fiscal union that will, in fact, take away fiscal sovereignty from the eurozone states. i think answer is coming up as
follows. i don't think there's a good case for it actually and it would be hard for me to think of one. >> thank you. one of the arguments you hear about washington is if britain leads the eu it will weaken the relationship. how will that perhaps strengthen the relationships because i don't think it would weaken the special relationship at all. one of the problems, if you're a journalist to write about these things, you go to people who been in previous administrations or the existing one, and they are all part of a kind of setup quote responsible public officials and to take a cue from each other just as all of the economic institutions, they sit on the same panels, exchange of the same ideas. they fall victim to a kind of
conformity, what's it called, groupthink, which is kind of conformity enforced by scapegoating that if you look at the institutions which have recently been issuing these condemnations at the idea of brexit, you would generally find, you will find people slightly lower down from the top person, two levels down, giving a speech of someone saying actually i don't agree with what, what what the imf is thinking or don't think that bank of england is correct on this. and again and again that they become ford's think this is nonsense. it's not that there might not be some negative impact. been a deposit impact to counter it but we are completely sure that leaving a system which is fundamentally a 3% common tariff barrier and an intrusive regulatory system called harmonization, is not going to have a terrible effect on the
british economy on the british society. so quite a lot of these arguments just have to be met with a kind of robust realistic commonsense and a reckless these people think again. i'm sorry, i'm not answered your question, am i? automatic spend i don't think it would. i don't think it would weaken the special relation in the slightest. let me put it this way. i am a huge fan of america, right, and they bring cardholder. i married speed we believe this takes program. the quick when you can see this in any program online anytime at c-span.org. going live to the british house of commons where members have been recalled from its scheduled recess to pay tribute to jo cox, their colleague was murdered last week. this is live on c-span2. >> of this person, our
democratically elected colleague jo cox is particularly shocking and repugnant. all of us who came to know jo during her all too short service in this house became swiftly aware of her outstanding qualities. she was caring, eloquent, principled, and wise. above all, she was filled with and fueled by love for humanity. devoted to her family, and a relentless campaigner for equality, human rights and social justice. jo was proud to be a member of
parliament, where she had her roots, and she was determined to live life to the full. she succeeded superbly. jo was murdered in the course of her duty serving constituents in need. she thought for them, just as she thought for others, at home and abroad, who are victims of poverty, discrimination, or injustice. an attack like this strikes not only at an individual, but at our freedom. that is why we've assembled
here, both to honor jo, and to redouble our dedication to democracy. i call the leader of the opposition, jeremy corbyn. >> thank you, mr. speaker. last thursday, jo cox was doing what all of us here do, representing and serving the people who elected her. we have lost one of our own, and our society as a whole has lost one of our very best. she spent her life serving and campaigning for other people, whether as a worker for oxfam over the antislavery charity, the freedom fund, as a political activist, and the horrific act that took her from us was an
attack on democracy, on our whole country, has been shocked and saddened by. but in the days since, the country has also learned something of the extraordinary humanity and compassion which drove her political activism and beliefs. jo cox did not just believe in loving her neighbor. she believed in loving her neighbors and neighbor. she saw a world of neighbors. she believed every life counted equally. in a very moving tribute, kate allen, the director of amnesty international said her campaigning on refugees, syria, and the rights of women and girls made her stand out as an mp who always put the lives of the most vulnerable at the heart of her work. her former colleague at the freedom fund make, said jo was a
powerful champion for the world's most vulnerable and marginalized. she spoke out in support of refugees, for the palestinian people and against islamophobia in this country. her integrity and talent was known by everyone in this house. i the community which she proudly represented here for the past year. but it was that community that brought her up as well as of course a wonderful family to whom we share their grief today. her community and the whole country has been united in grief. and united in rejecting the wealth of hatred that killed her coming what increase in appears to have been an act of extreme political violence. we are filled with sorrow for her husband, brandon, and young children.
they will never see her again, but they can be so proud of everything she was. all she achieved and all she stood for, as we are, as are her parents, as is her sister, and her whole life family. jo would've been 42 this wednesday. she had much more to give. and much more that she would have achieved. i want to thank the heroes who tried to intervene, bernard kennedy, a 77 year old former minor, saw the need them and to her aid. he was stabbed and taken to hospital. i'm sure, can do the whole house will join in wishing him a speedy and full recovery. >> here, here. >> many shopkeepers and bystanders also tried to help. administered first aid to both
jo and bernard. the police officers who made the arrest, the national health service paramedics who were on the scene so quickly. in her maiden speech last year, jo said this -- our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration. why we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as i travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and are far more in common with each other than things that divide us. we need, trying to a kinder and gentler politics. this is not a factual party political point. we all have a responsibility in this house, and beyond, not to whip up hatred or so division. >> here, here. >> thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you to the prime