2016 – 028 1975 pamphlet on joining ECC – catalogue of lies from British Gov

This page contains the text of the Government produce pamphlet advocating a vote to stay in the “European Community (Common Market)” in the 1975 British Referendum on continuing British membership.
Every effort has been made to reproduce the style of the original pamphlet, especially in its placing of emphasis. The only additional text is this header and the bracketed annotations denoting such things as the original page numbers.

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Links to other parts of this page – click on a title to jump to that section

Quote from the PM, Harold Wilson
Message from PM Wilson
3 & 4
About the Referendum
About the Common Market
6 & 7
The European Community and its world-wide links
Map & list of counties with special trading links
8 & 9
The renegotiated terms of Britain’s membership
Opinions from & effects on the Commonwealth
11 &12
Assurances that Parliament will be independent
The supposed effects of a ‘No’ vote
The supposed effects of a ‘Yes’ vote
About deciding & voting
Exhortation to vote & info about the pamphlet



‘Her Majesty’s Government have decided to recommend to the British people to vote for staying in the Community’


[Link to the table of contents]


This pamphlet is being sent by the Government to every household in Britain. We hope that it will help you to decide how to cast your vote in the coming Referendum on the European Community (Common Market).

Please read it. Please discuss it with your family and your friends.

We have tried here to answer some of the important questions you may be asking, with natural anxiety, about the historic choice that now faces all of us.

We explain why the Government, after long, hard negotiations, are recommending to the British people that we should remain a member of the European Community.

We do not pretend, and never have pretended, that we got everything we wanted in these negotiations. But we did get big and significant improvements on the previous terms.

We confidently believe that these better terms can give Britain a New Deal in Europe. A Deal that will help us, help the Commonwealth, and help our partners in Europe.

That is why we are asking you to vote in favour of remaining in the Community.

I ask you again to read and discuss this pamphlet.

Above all, I ask you to use your vote.

For it is your vote that will now decide. The Government will accept your verdict.


Harold Wilson

[Link to the table of contents]

[Pages 3 & 4]YOUR RIGHT

The coming Referendum fulfils a pledge made to the British electorate in the general election of February 1974.

The Labour Party manifesto in the election made it clear that Labour rejected the terms under which Britain’s entry in to the Common Market had been negotiated, and promised that, if returned to power, they would set out to get better terms.

The British people were promised the right to decide through the ballot box whether or not we should stay in the Common Market on new terms.

And that the Government would abide by the result.

That is why the Referendum is to be held. Everyone who has a vote for a Parliamentary – that is, everyone on the Parliamentary election register which came into force in February 1975 – will be entitled to vote.

Polling will be in the normal way, at your local polling station, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Your poll card will remind you of the date and give other details.) You will get a ballot paper, and be asked to mark the ballot paper in one of two clearly marked places, in order to record a Yes or No vote about Britain’s continued membership of the European Community (Common Market).

The Government have recommended that Britain should stay in on the new terms which have been agreed with the other members of the Common Market.

But you have the right to choose.

[Link to the table of contents]


With Britain, there are nine other members of the Common Market. The others are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands.

Their combined population is over 250 million.

The Market is one of the biggest concentrations of industrial and trading power in the world. Its has vast resources of skill, experience and inventiveness.

The aims of the Common Market are:

  • To bring together the peoples of Europe. 
  • To raise living standards and improve working conditions. 
  • To promote growth and boost world trade. 
  • To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world. 
  • To help maintain peace and freedom.

[Pages 6 & 7]The European Community
and its world-wide links

[Illustration: map marking “Countries which have special trading links”, with an alphabetical list]

 [Link to the table of contents]

[Pages 8 & 9]THE NEW DEAL

The better terms which Britain will enjoy if we stay in the Common Market were secured only after long and tough negotiations.

These started in April 1974 and did not end until March of this year.

On March 10 and 11 the Heads of Government met in Dublin and clinched the bargain. On March 18 the Prime Minister was able to make this announcements:

‘I believe that our renegotiation objectives have been substantially though not completely achieved.’

What were the main objectives to which Mr. Wilson referred? The most important were FOOD and MONEY and JOBS.


Britain had to ensure that shoppers could get secure supplies of food at fair prices.

As a result of these negotiations the Common Agricultural policy (known as CAP) now works more flexibly to the benefit of both housewives and farmers in Britain. The special arrangements made for sugar and beef are a good example.

At the same time many food prices in the rest of the world have shot up, and our food prices are now no higher because Britain is in the Market than if we were outside.

The Government also won a better deal on food imports from countries outside the Common Market, particularly for Commonwealth sugar and for New Zealand dairy products. These will continue to be on sale in our shops.

This is not the end of improvements in the Market’s food policy. There will be further reviews. Britain, as a member, will be able to seek further changes to our advantage. And we shall be more sure of our supplies when food is scarce in the world.


Under the previous terms, Britain’s contribution to the Common Market budget imposed too heavy a burden on us. The new terms ensure that Britain will pay a fairer share. We now stand, under the Dublin agreement, to get back from Market funds up to £125 million a year.

There was a threat to employment in Britain from the movement in the Common Market towards an Economic & Monetary Union. This could have forced us to accept fixed exchange rates for the pound, restricting industrial growth and putting jobs at risk. This threat has been removed.

Britain will not have to put VAT on necessities like food.

We have also maintained our freedom to pursue our own policies on taxation and on industry, and to develop Scotland and Wales and the Regions where unemployment is high.

[Link to the table of contents]


It has been said that the Commonwealth countries would like to see us come out.

This is not so. The reverse is true.

Commonwealth Governments want Britain to stay in the Community.

The new Market terms include a better deal for our Commonwealth partners as well as for Britain. Twenty-two members of the Commonwealth are among the 46 countries who signed a new trade and aid agreement with the Market earlier this year.

Britain is insisting that Market aid for the poorer areas of the world must go to those in most need.

Here is what Commonwealth leaders have said about Britain’s role in the Market:

Mr. Gough Whitlam
Prime Minister of Australia, speaking in Brussels on December 18, 1974:
I do not want to give any impression that the present Australian Government sees any advantages for Australia, for Europe or for the world in Britain leaving the Community.

Mr. Wallace Rowling
Prime Minister of New Zealand, said in Paris on February 22, 1975, that it would not be in the long-term interest of the New Zealand economy if Britain were to withdraw from the Common Market.

Mr. Donald Owen Mills
Jamaican Ambassador to the U.N., New York, February 28, 1975, talking about the Lomé Convention for trade and aid between the Common Market, including Britain, and 46 developing countries:
The Convention is a major move towards the establishment of a new international economic order and demonstrates the considerable scope which exists for the creation of a more just and equitable world.

[Link to the table of contents]

[Pages 11 & 12]WILL PARLIAMENT

Another anxiety expressed about Britain’s membership of the Common Market is that Parliament could lose its supremacy, and we would have to obey laws passed by unelected ‘faceless bureaucrats’ sitting in their headquarters in Brussels.

What are the facts?

Fact No. 1 is that in the modern world even the Super Powers like America and Russia do not have complete freedom of action. Medium-sized nations like Britain are more and more subject to economic and political forces we cannot control on our own.

A striking recent example of the impact of such forces is the way the Arab oil-producing nations brought about an energy and financial crisis not only in Britain but throughout a great part of the world.

Since we cannot go it alone in the modern world, Britain has for years been a member of international groupings like the United Nations, NATO and the International Monetary Fund.

Membership of such groupings imposes both rights and duties, but has not deprived us of our national identity, or changed our way of life.

Membership of the Common Market also imposes new rights and duties on Britain, but does not deprive us of our national identity. To say that membership could force Britain to eat Euro-bread or drink Euro-beer is nonsense.

Fact No. 2. No important new policy can be decided in Brussels or anywhere else without the consent of a British Minister answerable to a British Government and British Parliament.

The top decision-making body in the Market is the Council of Ministers, which is composed of senior Ministers representing each of the nine member governments.

It is the Council of Ministers, and not the market’s officials, who take the important decisions. These decisions can be taken only if all the members of the Council agree. The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests. Ministers from the other Governments have the same right to veto.

All the nine member countries also agree that any changes or additions to the Market Treaties must be acceptable to their own Governments and Parliaments.

Remember: All the other countries in the Market today enjoy, like us, democratically elected Governments answerable to their own Parliaments and their own voters. They do not want to weaken their Parliaments any more than we would.”

Fact No. 3. The British Parliament in Westminster retains the final right to repeal the Act which took us into the Market on January 1, 1973. Thus our continued membership will depend on the continuing assent of Parliament.

The White Paper on the new Market terms recently presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister declares that through membership of the Market we are better able to advance and protect our national interests. This is the essence of sovereignty.

Fact No. 4. On April 9, 1975, the House of Commons voted by 396 to 170 in favour of staying in on the new terms.

[Link to the table of contents]

[Page 13]IF WE SAY ‘NO’

What would be the effect on Britain if we gave up membership of the Common Market? In the Government’s view, the effect could only be damaging.

Inevitably, there would be a period of uncertainty.

Businessmen who had made plans for investment and development on the basis of membership would have to start afresh.

Foreign firms might hesitate to continue investment in Britain. Foreign loans to help finance our trade deficit might be harder to get.

We would have to try to negotiate some special free trade arrangement, a new Treaty. We would be bound by that Treaty. Its conditions might be harsh. But unless and until it was in force, Britain’s exports to the Common Market would be seriously handicapped.

We would no longer be inside the Common Market tariff wall – but outside.

For a time at least, there would be a risk of making unemployment and inflation worse.

Other countries have made these special arrangements with the Community. They might find Community decisions irksome, even an interference with their affairs.

But they have no part in making those decisions.

The Common Market will not go away if we say ‘No’.

The countries of the Common Market would still be our nearest neighbours and our largest customers. Their policies would still be important to us. But Britain would no longer have a close and direct influence on those policies.

More than that, decisions taken in Brussels – in which Britain would have no voice – would affect British trade and therefore British jobs.

Britain would no longer have any say in the future economic and political development of the Common Market. Nor on its relations with the rest of the world – particularly on the help to be given to the poorer nations of the world.

We would just be outsiders looking in.

[Link to the table of contents]

[Page 14]IF WE SAY ‘YES’

Let us be clear about one thing: In or out of the Common Market, it will be tough going for Britain over the next few years.

In or out, we would still have been hit by the oil crisis, by rocketing world prices for food and raw materials.

But we will be in a much stronger position to face the future if we stay inside the Market than if we try to go it alone.

Inside, on the improved terms, we remain part of the world’s most powerful trading bloc. We can help to fix the terms of world trade.

Inside, we can count on more secure supplies of food if world harvests turn out to be bad. And we can help to hold down Market food prices – as we have done since we joined in 1973.

Inside the Market we can work to get more European Community money spent inside Britain:

More from the Social Fund for retraining workers in new jobs. Since we joined we have benefited from this Fund to the tune of over £20 million a year.

More from the Community’s new Regional Fund, which already stands to bring us £60 million in the next three years.

More from the Farm Fund when world prices are high. For instance, up to now we have obtained £40 million from this Fund to bring down the price of sugar in the shops.

More from the Coal & Steel funds and the European Investment Bank. Since we joined, arrangements have already been make for loans and grants of over £250 million.

The long period of negotiation between Britain and the other Market countries has proved that the Market is not a rigid organisation.

It is flexible. It is ready and able to adapt to changing world conditions.

It can, and does, respond to the differing needs of member states.

The Market is aware of the need to help the poorer nations of the world outside Europe.

Whether we are in the Market or not, Common Market policies are going to affect the lives of every family in the country.

Inside the Market, we can play a major part in deciding these policies.

Outside, we are on our own.

[Link to the table of contents]

[Page 15]AND NOW – THE

When the Government came to power in February 1974 they promised that you, the British voter, should have the right to decide – FOR continued membership of the European Community (Common Market) or AGAINST.

It is possibly the most important choice that the British people have ever been asked to make.

Your vote will not only affect you life and you neighbours’ lives. It will affect your children’s lives. It will chart – for better or for worse – Britain’s future.

We are only at the start of our relationship with the Community. If we stay inside we can play a full part in helping it to develop the way we want it to develop. Already Britain’s influence has produced changes for the better. That process can go on. The Common Market can be made better still.

The Government have made THEIR choice. They believe that the new terms of membership are good enough for us to carry on INSIDE the Community. Their advice is to vote for staying in.

Now the time has come for you to decide. The Government will accept your decision – whichever way it goes.

The choice is up to YOU. It is YOUR decision.

[Link to the table of contents]

[Back Page]YOUR VOTE

This booklet is being distributed to all households by the Post Office. Extra copies will be available in main Post Offices during the days immediately before the Referendum.

Issued by HM Government

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