Sir Geoffrey Howe: ‘resignation speech’ (1)



Sir Geoffrey Howe :: Sir Geoffrey HoweAs long ago as 1962 it was Lord Stockton, formerly Harold Macmillan, who first put the central point clearly. He argued that we had to place and keep ourselves within the Community. He saw it as essential then as it is today not to cut ourselves off from the realities of power, not to retreat into a ghetto of sentimentality about our past and so diminish our control over our own destiny in the future. The pity is that the Macmillan view had not been perceived more clearly a decade before in the fifties. It would have spared so many of the struggles of the past twenty years had we been in the Community from the outset, had we been ready, in the much too simple phrase, to surrender some sovereignty at a much earlier stage. Had we been in from the start we should have had more not less influence over the Europe in which we live today.

We should never forget the lesson of that isolation, of being on the outside looking in, for the conduct of today’s affairs. We have done best when we have seen the Community not as a static entity to be resisted and contained, but as an active process which we can shape often decisively provided we allow ourselves to be fully engaged in it with confidence and enthusiasm and in good faith. We must at all costs avoid presenting ourselves yet again with an over-simplified choice, a false antithesis, a bogus dilemma, between one alternative starkly labelled ‘cooperation between independent sovereign states’ and a second equally crudely labelled alternative ‘a centralized federal super-state’ as if there were no middle way in between

We commit a serious error if we think always in terms of surrendering sovereignty and seek to stand pat for all time on a given deal by proclaiming, as the prime minister did two weeks ago, that we have surrendered enough. The European enterprise is not and should not be seen like that, as some kind of zero sum gain. Sir Winston Churchill put it much more positively forty years ago when he said: ‘Is it not possible and not less agreeable to regard this sacrifice or merger of national sovereignty as the gradual assumption by all the nations concerned of that larger sovereignty which can alone protect their diverse and distinctive customs and characteristics and their national traditions?’ I find Winston Churchill’s perception a good deal more convincing and encouraging for the interests of our nation than the nightmare image sometimes conjured up by the prime minister who sometimes seems to look out on a Continent that is positively teeming with ill-intentioned people scheming, in her words, to extinguish democracy, to dissolve our national identity, to lead us through the back door into a federal Europe.

1 thought on “Sir Geoffrey Howe: ‘resignation speech’ (1)

  • diminish verb
    to become or make something become smaller or less  SYN reduce : 

    The party’s share of the electorate has diminished steadily.
    These drugs diminish blood flow to the brain.
    The world’s resources are rapidly diminishing.
    His influence has diminished with time.
    Our efforts were producing diminishing returns (= we achieved less although we spent more time or money).
    He has done nothing to diminish the demands before the start of a professional career.
    For this very reason, though, inequality among nations diminishes too.
    Unfortunately, the payoffs diminish as the story wears on.
    Those who were selfish and well-connected saw their reputation diminish.
    However, they stressed it did not diminish their support for the international air campaign.
    However, this casual attitude does not diminish the utility of the tiny tome.
    Of course, the fact should be kept in mind that these are air tanks, not to be used so as to appreciably diminish their buoyancy.
    Already, the nation had diminished in population and territory.
    Such carelessness can only diminish the book’s credibility.
    Disruptions of any kind diminish the learning process.

    sovereignty noun
    the power that an independent country has to govern itself : 

    the defence of our national sovereignty
    The country claimed sovereignty over the island.
    the sovereignty of Parliament
    (figurative) the idea of consumer sovereignty

    decisively adjective
    1 an action, event etc that is decisive has a big effect on the way that something develops

    decisive factor/effect/influence etc
    Women can  play a decisive role  in the debate over cloning.
    decisive action/steps
    We will  take decisive steps  towards political union with Europe.
    Climate was a decisive factor in establishing where the tournament should be held.
    She has played a decisive role in the peace negotiations.
    a decisive step (= an important action that will change a situation) towards a cleaner environment
    2 definite and clear in a way that leaves no doubt  OPP  indecisive
    decisive victory/result/defeat etc
    The answer was a decisive no.
    decisive management
    The government must take decisive action on gun control.
    decisively adverb : 
    Yet again, we have failed to  act decisively .

    bogus
    not true or real, although someone is trying to make you think it is  SYN  false : 

    bogus insurance claims
    bogus applications for asylum 
    a bogus doctor/contract
    bogus claims of injury by workers

    dilemma noun
    a situation in which it is very difficult to decide what to do, because all the choices seem equally good or equally bad : 

    a moral dilemma
    in a dilemma
    I’m in a dilemma about this job offer.
    This placed Robert Kennedy in a dilemma .
    Many women are faced with the dilemma of choosing between work and family commitments.
     → be on the horns of a dilemma at horn 1 ( 6 )
    to face a dilemma
    to be in a dilemma
    I’m pretty new and want to really delve into this game but I have a dilemma.
    Sometimes it takes a small, focused company to solve a vexing design dilemma.
    So we are still facing the dilemma.
    He carried the dilemma of whether to intrude or not to intrude.
    The dilemma arises, however, when we attempt to implement these fundamental constitutional principles.
    But it also posed a real safety dilemma.
    In addition, her dilemma regarding a friendship with her neighbor Ruth is never resolved.
    Pious statements, high-sounding resolutions, and dire warnings do not solve our dilemma.
    This is a dilemma and it can’t be solved.
    Working at home presents a different kind of dilemma.

    starkly

    stark adjective
    1very plain in appearance, with little or no colour or decoration :

     In the cold dawn light, the castle looked stark and forbidding.
    the stark beauty of New Mexico
    I think white would be too stark for the bedroom.
    The hills stood stark against the winter sky.

    2unpleasantly clear and impossible to avoid  SYN  harsh :

     The movie shows the stark realities of life in the ghetto.
    The extreme poverty of the local people is in  stark contrast  to the wealth of the tourists.
    We are faced with a  stark choice .
    a  stark reminder  of life under Communist rule
    The author paints a stark picture of life in a prison camp.
    a stark choice
    The remains of the building stand as a stark reminder of the fire.
    He now faces the stark reality of life in prison.
    The stark fact is that even with more time, we still couldn’t raise enough money.
    stark differences
    Social divisions in the city are stark.
    The good weather was in stark contrast to the storms of previous weeks.

    starkly  adverb
    The interior is starkly simple.
    The lighthouse stood out starkly against the dark sky.
    We are starkly aware of the risks.
    These theories contrast starkly with the reality of everyday life.

    crudely

    crude adjective
    1not exact or without any detail, but generally correct and useful  →  approximate : 
    a crude estimate of the population available for work

    2not developed to a high standard, or made with little skill : 
    a crude wooden bridge
    crude workmanship

    crudelyadverb : 
    crudely built shacks
    a crudely drawn ship
    To put it crudely, the poor are going without food so that the rich can drive cars.

    merger noun
    the joining together of two or more companies or organizations to form one larger one

    merger of/between
    a proposed merger between two of the largest software companies
    merger with
    There has been a lot of talk about a merger with another leading bank.
    merger negotiations
    a merger between the two banks
    our proposed merger with the university

    conjure something ↔ up phrasal verb
    to bring a thought, picture, idea, or memory to someone’s mind

    conjure up images/pictures/thoughts etc (of something)
    Dieting always seems to conjure up images of endless salads.
    That smell always conjures up memories of holidays in France.
    He strained to conjure up her face and voice, but they had vanished.

    extinguish verb formal
    to make an idea or feeling stop : 
    All hope was almost extinguished.
    News of the bombing extinguished all hope of peace.

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