The Great Deception – Part 1


This is one of those books that is culture changing.   Written by Christopher Booker and Richard North, it is a detailed, well-researched and brilliantly argued book about the history of the European Union. It was first published in 2003 but this updated edition was released in 2016.

 “A superb history of the EU and of Britain’s relationship with it…every MP, every senior civil servant, every journalist with any claim to understanding the current state of the country, should read it” Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

I would wholeheartedly endorse Hitchens view. I spend far too much time arguing with politicians and others who have bought into the EU’s myth about itself.   My challenge is very simple. Every one of our lawmakers and opinion formers should read this. If they can prove it wrong, so be it. I would probably change my mind. But if it is right in its main thesis then it is a devastating expose of the EU, and should make every rational person, glad that we voted to get it and should add to our determination to get out.

I am reminded of the saying that “those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.” We need to learn.

The Great Deception answers such questions as – Why are people so fanatical about the EU? Why have the SNP (at least in its leadership) given up on Scottish Independence? Why are academics so vastly behind the EU? Why are the big corporations, the CBI, most of the trade unions and the Americans so supportive of the EU?

What did Thatcher get wrong? Did Blair and Heath lie? Who are the current players in the EU game? What do they want? Why does it all matter?

It is political, historical, economic, and philosophical. Unquestionably the book of the year – no book of the decade and one that is key to understanding where we are.   Like the Church of England Newspaper I found it to be a ‘real page-turner”.

However there are a lot of pages to turn and I’m not sure that everyone has the time, so I thought over the next few weeks I would summarise the arguments, main lessons and give the most pertinent quotes from the book. I will try and put up on chapter per week.

Lets begin with the introduction and the lessons we learn from that.

  1. Britain entered the EU on the basis of a lie

But, alas, the British people have still not really begun to understand how consistently and comprehensively they have been deceived.” P vi

The Great Deception shows the extent of much we have been fooled. Forget the £350 million that even if it was a lie (in reality it was a slight of hand confusing gross and net payment, which is what politicians often do), is almost a white lie, compared to the lie that Heath, Blair and others sold to us.

2.  The EU was always intended to be a ‘supranational’ body which does away with nation states.

Booker and North explain what the purpose of the EU was and is, from the beginning. It was never intended to be a ‘trading area’ or a ‘common market’. I am still astounded at the Tweet I got from an SNP MP who said that the EU did not need to be democratic because it was just a trading arrangement!   Until we understand the nature of the EU, then we cannot have a sensible discussion about it.   For far too long that nature has been hidden from us.

“The form of government it created was unique because it was designed to place the nation states which belonged to it under a ‘supranational ‘power, unaccountable to any electorate, ruling its citizens through the agencies of each countries national authorities.” P.vii

The whole purpose of the EU is to be a ‘supranational’ power.   It is not a collection of individual sovereign states who each retain their sovereignty and work together in a collective capacity. In the infamous words of the SNP slogan “an independent country in an interdependent EU”. The point about the EU is that it is designed to do away with independent countries. And for good reason. Its not just the reminder of the horrific two wars in the 21st Century fought largely between, and because of, European nations; its also as one of the key founders put it –

“The sovereign nations of the past can no longer solve the problems of the present: they cannot ensure their own progress or control their own future. And the community itself is only a stage on the way to the organised world of tomorrow” Jean Monnet p.1

Although much is spoken of ‘subsidiarity’, or the rights of countries to veto – the whole purpose from the beginning has been for the EU to be a collection of nation states, which give up their sovereignty in order to create a super power that transcends and is above each state.   How it does this is brilliant. Not by using its own armed forces, courts, parliament etc. (although these are increasingly going to come into play) but rather by getting the national institutions of the countries within it, to be their de facto instruments.

3.  The EU uses the national institutions of nation states to do its will and take away their Sovereignty

Europe’s power is easy to miss. Like an “invisible hand” it operates through the shell of traditional political structures. The British House of Commons, British law courts and British civil servants are still here, but they have become agents of the European Union, implementing European law. This is no accident. By creating common standards that are implemented through national institutions Europe can take over countries without necessarily becoming a target for hostility.” Mark Leonard, Centre for European Reform, 2005 – p.1

The big danger of this should be obvious.  It is fundamentally anti-democratic.  When I changed my mind on the EU and decided to vote for Brexit, it was nothing to do with immigration or even the money that we paid, it was simply this question of democracy.  I examined the institutions of the EU and came to see that fundamentally they were not democratic.   (Those who screamed ‘its more democratic than the UK’ are people with little understanding of what democracy actually is).    I could see the ‘how’, but I didn’t know the ‘why’.   The Great Deception provides the answer.  Until there is one European Superstate, an USE (United States of Europe), the EU cannot be democratic because it cannot allow national democracies to overrule its central authority.  By definition the EU has to be an undemocratic.

4. The EU is moving towards being a European Federal State.

download-2Even in the introduction what fascinated me was that the current big players were very involved and active then. The Belgian politician Guy Verhofstadt is now the European Parliament’s chief negotiator for Brexit. He made it unequivocally clear what he is looking for:

“The constitution is the capstone of a European federal state” – Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Prime Minister, Financial Times, 21 June 2004. P.1
It’s a good job we are leaving!

Part 2 – next week…

European referendum – The TIPPing Point

16 thoughts on “The Great Deception – Part 1

  1. As far as I can see the European commission set the agenda but they are not elected.  Those who are elected are a talking shop but as they do not set the agenda, they have no real power.  I think of the EU as an empire and all empires eventually fall and when you see the state of Italy and spain the rot has started.

  2. Look at those who run it? Claude Junker is/was a leader of what country? How big?
    He has been leader of a Nation the size of Birmingham! And now he runs Europe?

    No wonder Trump pushes his way to the front when it comes to meeting other nation leaders. Rightly so. He was making a point. He represented the USA. Certainly not second to other western nation states.

  3. I can’t help wondering if “The great deception” might apply to the book itself rather than to its subject. I think you should be much more cautious about Booker and North. Richard A E North first came to prominence over Salmonella enteritidis when, working for a national association of egg producers, he did his best to frustrate government attempts to protect public health from a pathogen which was being found in eggs and which survived the normal cooking process. Subsequently he has written on other subjects which are included in the area of my professional expertise: BSE, Foot and Mouth Disease, Bovine Tuberculosis, and although there is some truth in what he has written (particularly on Bovine TB), I find myself in complete agreement with Richard D North when he said: “They are steadfast in one loathing. Provided the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), now superseded by Defra, is in the frame, Booker/North feel free to line up with any players and dance with any evidence to bring the big beast down.”
    Richard D North also quotes them as referring to the Phillips enquiry report as “a sadly banal little mouse.” If this is correct then North and Booker are guilty of the most monumental arrogance and do not deserve to have anything they say taken seriously.
    I would apply the “man bites dog” filter. Successive governments engaging in a great deception is news. Successive governments (which for all their faults are God’s institution and therefore susceptible to the influence of common grace) acting for the public good is not news.
    What was your quote of the week from C S Lewis about? Lewis also said “All the best lies are based on truth.”

    1. I generally think it is a really bad idea to diss an argument by dissing the person who makes the argument – especially when you point to just one example. Given that the arguments they make in this book are detailed and documented why not deal with these arguments, rather than just dismiss them because North was wrong about salmonella?!

      I’m not sure the point of your second point. Given that this is a book about the EU and not a book about the good or otherwise of government, nor a news item its neither here nor there whether governments do good things. Of course they do and the book does not dispute that – so dismissing the book by making a truism which has nothing to do with the subject,doesn’t really help!

      1. No, David, I didn’t “diss” Richard A. E. North on the basis of Salmonella enteritidis alone. I was trying to suggest that you should approach Booker and North with rather more caution, however well argued and documented you think their book is. It is inevitable that someone who reads and writes as much as you do occasionally reads too fast and misses something. In fact I referred to FOUR subjects on which North has written and which are well within my area of professional expertise and personal knowledge, FIVE if you split off the Phillips enquiry from BSE. On that basis I find Richard D. North’s pointed suggestion spot on. For R. A. E North, bringing down the big beast of government (“dissing”, in your terminology) takes priority over truth. That is the sort of thing that sells newspapers and sensational books, hence my reference to the “man bites dog filter” and to C. S. Lewis’s hyperbolic dictum which you selected as quote of the week (surely Lewis would have said the same about books written by journalists and reissued when the subject matter became especially newsworthy).
        Richard A. E. North’s academic qualifications are in environmental health and microbiology. When he writes on subjects close to these areas and I find him unreliable, it would be the height of folly for me to believe him when he makes sensational allegations on subjects outside my area of competence and remote from the disciplines in which he himself has formal training.
        I am intrigued to learn that Booker and North have anything good to say about government, perhaps you will draw attention to some examples as you continue with your weekly summaries. But I will plead guilty to single-issue “dissing:” if Richard D. North’s quote is correct, anyone who “disses” the twelve volume Phillips report (produced after a meticulous and comprehensive enquiry over a protracted period with no expense spared) in such contemptuous terms does not deserve to be taken seriously on any subject. If Booker and North destroy their credibility by such an intemperate statement, that is of little concern to me; if DAR damages his credibility by being taken in by what might be a “great deception” that would cause me very great sorrow.

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