the blackpool Resolution on the Common Market leaves the matter open. As the facts which George Brown is waiting for are revealed one by one over the next months of negotiation we can either press our opposition to Britain’s entry or allow the concessions that will be obtained to lull us into accepting that the minimum conditions of the Resolution have been satisfied. For there is little doubt that some concessions will be won by the Government at least for British, Danish and New Zealand agriculture and that some general understanding will be reached about Article 92, which limits government action in constraint of the free working of market forces.
At this point we shall be faced with a Government decision to join the Community, with full support from Labour’s Common Market enthusiasts and from the “practical men” who will tell us that there is no alternative but that we must make the best of it. If we are to maintain our opposition to Britain’s entry, we have to establish right now that there is an alternative with which Labour can rally the country in opposition to the Government. The Common Market may or may not be an issue on which an election can be won, but positive neutralism including an alternative to the Common Market and some real economic initiative at home towards planned modernisation of the economy provides just that.
Policy for Peace plus the Resolutions on Polaris and German bases and the speeches at Conference were much closer to neutralism than might have been supposed from the vote rejecting the T. & G.W.U. motion. But the weakness of this neutralism, based on appreciation of the danger and uselessness of nuclear threats, is the lack of a parallel economic policy to make neutralism viable. Without this the neutrals cannot be rallied with sufficiently unwavering strength to bring the necessary pressure upon the two great nuclear powers to disarm. This is where the presentation of a quite specific alternative to the Common Market for the future of Britain’s trade and the growth of the British economy become an essential part of a policy of positive neutralism.
What should this policy be? An alternative to the Common Market has to meet the main lines of argument that have been adduced in support of it at Blackpool and elsewhere and which are bound to be pressed ever more strongly over the next few months.
There are three main economic arguments: Modern industry needs for its efficient development a tariff-free market of over 50 million people, preferably over 200 million, and no other group of countries except the Six is prepared to offer this; our economy needs the stimulus of competition after its years of protection at home and privilege overseas; if we don’t join, we shall be excluded by the high Common Market external tariff and the growing share of our exports going to the Six will suffer.