Anita Pollack

Anita Pollack

Wreckers or Builders?

"Wreckers or Builders?"


The scene

The first five years of a democratically elected European parliament had a reluctant Labour Group split down the middle on membership of the European Community. Budgetary problems, the British rebate and agriculture over-production dominated the debates. Thatcherism, unemployment and recession took hold in the UK. The Parliament, without much power apart from the ability to block the budget, was seen in the UK as a mere talking shop. The Labour Party was committed to withdrawal. Cruise missiles caused dismay. Debates began on the draft Treaty of European Union. The Isoglucose Judgement of the Court of Justice in 1980 gave Parliament a de facto delaying power on legislation. Some Labour Members changed their mind on EEC membership. Four of them were to migrate to the House of Commons by the end of the five year period. The Labour Party at home was facing internal battles against the Trotskyist Militant tendency. The 1983 General election was decisively won by the Conservatives. By the end of the Parliament three Labour Members had been deselected, one of whom defected to the pro-European Social Democratic Liberal Alliance.