01 August 2018, The Tablet

When it comes to Europe, many British politicians don’t do harmony


In the square in front of the very fine railway station in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, there stands a bronze statue of Harold Wilson, a local boy who made it to 10 Downing Street, in mid, purposive (a favourite word of his) stride. I viewed it and warmed to his memory when visiting the University of Huddersfield for a nephew’s PhD graduation during the week when Theresa May survived a pair of perilous votes in Parliament.

I liked Harold Wilson. He had a genuinely warm side. He was very kind to me in the late-1970s, when I was a young journalist. When it came to discussing the mechanics of government, we were nerds together.

Seeing his memorial in his hometown, at a time when the European virus was scouring the arteries and capillaries of our political life, reminded me of just how cannily he and his Foreign Secretary, Jim Callaghan, had conducted the renegotiation of the original 1973 terms of British entry.

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