This is the the full text of a speech given by Sir James Goldsmith at the 1996 Referendum Party Conference in Brighton.
"We are here today for only one reason. We want the people of this land to be able to make the most important decision a country can face - whether or not it should continue as an independent nation.
We seek no power for ourselves. We are not politicians and do not want to become politicians. We are people drawn from every walk of life, from every region of the nation, and from every major political party, left, right and centre. Among us are doctors, teachers, businessmen, housewives, farmers, fishermen, and others.
We represent a broad diversity of views. But we are united in one unshakeable belief. We reject the idea that this country's destiny as a proud and sovereign nation can be brought to an end through the backroom dealings of politicians.
The sovereignty of this nation belongs to its people and not to a group of career politicians. It is the people and they alone who must decide, after a full debate and a public vote, whether Britain should remain an independent nation or whether her future will be better served as part of a new country - the single European super-state, also known as a federal Europe.
Our purpose is to fight to obtain that right to decide. And when the decision has been made, the Referendum Party will dissolve.
The issue that faces us is of such enormity that we all find it hard to grasp.
As we go about our daily lives in a normal way, how can any of us believe that our history as an independent nation is being quietly and surreptitiously brought to an end? And yet, that is what is happening.
Consider for a moment the qualities that define a sovereign nation - those that distinguish it from a vassal state or from a province of a larger nation or empire.
They are the right to pass laws in our own land, the right to run our economy for the benefit of our people, the right to determine our own foreign policy to organise our national security and to control our own borders.
Each of these fundamental national rights has either already been abandoned or is now under imminent threat.
When our political leaders assure us that they will never allow us to be part of a federal European state, alas, they are not telling us the truth.
Already they have signed treaties which have surrendered an indispensable part of our sovereignty. And they did so without explaining the facts to us and without our consent.
Already laws passed in Westminster are no longer supreme. As British judges have confirmed, the supreme law of this land is now European law.
Already we have signed away the right to run our economy for the benefit of our own people.
The Governor of Germany's Central Bank puts it concisely. Referring to economic and monetary union, he says and I quote, "it will lead to member nations transferring their sovereignty over financial and wage policies as well as in monetary affairs . ..."." It is an illusion to think," he adds, "that states can hold onto their autonomy over taxation policies".
So much for our control over our financial and wage policies, our monetarv affairs and our taxation policies.
And the governing European political caste has put forward proposals to transfer to Brussels control over our foreign policy, our national security and our frontiers.
This is not a personal view. The facts are out in the open. Chancellor Kohl's foreign policy spokesman is both clear and honest.
He explains that Germany's ruling party wants what he calls "a country", a federal Europe which will have one Parliament, one Government, one Court of Justice, one currency, into which would be fused up to twenty-five existing European nations including our own.
He goes further and proclaims that nation states have already lost their sovereignty and that that sovereignty, in his words, is no more than, I quote, "an empty shell".
Remember, according to the Treaties that we have signed, all this is irreversible. Chancellor Kohl constantly repeats to us that it is irrevocable, indeed forever.
Think about that. In an association of countries, when one of them disagrees strongly with the others, it can withdraw. And if the other countries find it impossible to work with that country, they can expel it.
But, in an irreversible union, things are wholly different. A country can neither withdraw nor can it be expelled. Otherwise, it would not be an irreversible union.
Therefore, such a country can only be subjugated.
When I referred earlier to the "governing European political caste," I was not just referring to continental politicians. The bulk of our own must be included.
It was the Conservative Government which signed away our rights to self-government and which, through weakness, has systematically given into the demands of the Eurocrats.
The Labour Party, for its part, has just discovered Heath's version of conservatism. Like Heath, it turns its back on the nation state and favours the creation of a politically integrated and corporatist Europe.
The Labour Party is a source of bewilderment. It proposes referenda allowing the Scots, the Northern Irish, the Welsh, the residents of the greater London area, among others, to express themselves on how they want to be governed.
It even puts forward the idea of a referendum on electoral reform.
But it refuses a clean, clear and fundamental referendum on whether the United Kingdom herself as a whole, should be governed by Westminster or by Brussels.
The Lib-Dems are uncomplicated. They proclaimed and I quote: "We are super-nationalists".
In the European arena, our Conservative, Labour and Lib-Dem MEPs, along with the parties to which they are affiliated, all support abandoning our powers of self government and campaign for a federal Europe.
As for the grandees, the political establishment, they fully endorse the slide to federalism. Only a few weeks ago, one former Prime Minister, one former Deputy Prime Minister, three former Foreign Secretaries and the British Vice President of the European Commission, jointly signed a much publicised proclamation to this effect.
But beware. The record of the establishment is not promising.
Before the war, it needed Churchill, overriding the active hostility of the establishment, to provide the strength to come to the rescue of Europe.
During the cold war, it took outsiders like Reagan and Thatcher, or before them, Ernest Bevin and Hugh Gaitskell, to provide the guts to face down the threat of the Soviet Union.
And now, yet again, the establishment exhibits its habitual weakness.
The British people have been offered no choice. No matter which major political party they turn to, the result will be the same.
To understand what is happening to us, we must both ask and answer the question - how is it possible that our politicians have accepted a constitution for Europe that is so totally contrary to our tradition of democracy.
The fundamental premise of a true democracy is that Parliament makes the law, the Judiciary interprets the law, and the Executive governs within the law.
That is the basis of the separation of powers and of the system of checks and balances on which our democracy is built. Ultimate control rests with the people who elect Parliament and, therefore, indirectly, the government.
The European constitution is based on a wholly different set of ideas.
The European Commission has been granted what in Euro-jargon is called "the monopoly of initiative". That means that only the Commission is empowered to put forward proposals concerning the governance of the European Union.
Remember when Jacques Delors, the former President of the European Commission, addressed the Trade Unions Council here in the U.K. in 1988. He told us then that 80 percent of our national laws would be made in this way
The Commission is unique in another way. It is the only institution in a supposedly democratic community which has the right not only to create laws but also to execute them. This is totally contrary to our idea of democracy
And what is more, the Commission has been granted the right to act in secret and its members, the Commissioners, are unelected bureaucrats without any democratic legitimacy.
They are the people that can produce laws which are supreme over the laws passed in Westminster.
This antithesis of democracy is complemented by two other similarly conceived institutions and they happen to be the two other most powerful political organisations within the European Union. They are the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank.
In a democracy a normal Court of Justice consists of judges who interpret the law. The European Court of Justice is quite different. Only a minority of its fifteen members would qualify as judges here in the U.K. The others are politicians, academics and consultants who have benefited from political patronage. They do not interpret the law; they make it.
The European Court of Justice is a political court with a political agenda. Its rulings, time and again, are based on principles that the Court simply creates and which have no legal basis in the Treaties themselves.
As one of its former judges, Judge Mancini, has admitted, the European Court of Justice, is a court with a "mission." That mission is to create a federal Europe.
Of course, as usual in the E.U., it carries out its business in secret and there is no appeal against its judgments.
The European Central Bank, also, will be populated by unelected civil servants who will have absolute power. They will be subject to no political or democratic control of any kind.
That, also, is written into the Treaty of Maastricht. This particular group of civil servants will dominate all the economies of Europe.
Let me remind you that, as has been made quite clear to us, once economic and monetary union is in place, what happens to interest rates, wages, inflation, growth and therefore jobs, will be decided in Frankfurt.
Just think of that - interest rates, wages, inflation, growth and jobs. And remember that the Governor of Germany's Central Bank has already told us that we can also kiss good-bye to our control over our financial and wage policies, our monetary affairs and our taxation policies.
What is more, the Eurocrats are now planning a "Stability Pact" which was proposed last year by Germany and the principles of which were approved by the European Union last month in Dublin.
This will mean that Brussels will set the rules also for spending and borrowing and will establish what is known as the "broad economic guidelines"
Brussels will be granted increased rights to exercise what they call "multilateral surveillance".
Most of these constraints will apply whether or not we opt out of the single currency
What is more, it is proposed that those who are either "in"or "out" of the single currency will be obliged to submit what they call "convergence or stability programmes" which will be subject to scrutiny by European institutions rather than by our own Parliament.
Our Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kenneth Clarke, has agreed in principle to grant that control to Brussels without even seeking prior discussion by Parliament.
Let us be quite clear. The consequence of all this domination by Brussels will mean that neither the Conservative nor the Labour Party, whichever is elected, will have the legal power to run our economy
So their principal electoral promises and manifesto proclamations are empty of substance.
Three Committees, the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank, consisting of unelected bureaucrats have been or are being handed almost total power over the lives of all the peoples of Europe.
Insofar as we are concerned, the overwhelming majority of those powers has traditionally been in the custody of our Parliament, our Court of Law and our Government.
Now they have been or are being abandoned silently deceitfully and irreversibly by our politicians and without our consent.
We have been encouraged to sleepwalk into surrendering our nation.
Let us never forget the assurances given to us by Heath's Conservative government when it took us into Europe. These are the shameful words that were printed in his official White Paper, I quote: "There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty".
-Never again should we trust such people.
Let me explain how all this has come about. As we know, the construction of the European Union was designed by Germany assisted by the elite civil servants of France.
It draws the bulk of its inspiration from Germany's constitutional heritage. The ethos of that constitution is drawn from Prussia, and Prussian political thought was moulded principally by the German philosopher, Hegel.
So the key to understanding the institutions of the European Union is to understand how the German constitution, itself, came about.
I seek your indulgence to remind you of this essential piece of history, essential to grasping what is happening to us today Essential to understanding how we find ourselves bound by a constitution alien to everything we have respected and stood for during, as Hugh Gaitskell said, a thousand years of our history
Hegel, the philosophical father of the German constitutional tradition, believed in the State and despised the people - or "rabble" as he often called them. He wrote and I quote: "The people ... do not know what they want. To know what one wants is the fruit of profound insight and this is the very thing that the people lack ""We should venerate the State as an earthly divinity", he added.
He explained that only the bureaucrat is the true servant and master of the State.
Hegel considered that elected bodies, such as Parliament, were only useful to perfect the process of subordinating the people.
Prussia began to unify the independent nations of Germany in 1834. At that time, they were still independent monarchies. The first step was to create a common market or customs union known as the "Zollverein" englobing nineteen nations. The peoples of the various German nations were told that its purpose was to form a large and free trade area. After some armed struggles, the common market was converted, in 1867, into a political confederation.
The peoples were told that this would help to consolidate and to develop that common trading area whilst maintaining substantial independence for the participating nations.
Four years later, in 1871, the trap was closed. The Confederation was expanded and converted into a single German superstate dominated by Prussia.
The Parliament was no more than a democratic looking front whereas real power was concentrated into the hands of the leading civil servants.
The principle of irreversibility was made absolute. No nation could withdraw from this new German superstate.
I am telling you all this because it relates directly to the way the European Union has been created.
Remember what happened.
First came the Common Market. We, also, were told that its purpose was to form a large and free trade area.
Then we moved on to a grouping of nations and we, also, were promised that we would retain essential national sovereignty
Of course, a Parliament was established but real power was, also, concentrated in the hands of the leading civil servants.
The principle of irreversibility was also introduced prohibiting any nation from leaving the European Union.
And now the trap is being closed. We, also, are being led blindfold into a federal super-state.
The French civil servants, who are both the servants and the political masters of the French state, acted as handmaidens in this enterprise. They were flattered, suborned and rewarded.
And they are vain and arrogant enough to believe that by collaborating with Germany, they will become the co-masters of Europe. They seem incapable of understanding that they are just being used.
As someone who is half French, let me assure you that one day they will be judged by the French people, the true ones, not the elites, and that the verdict will be severe.
That is how the European Union was created in total contradiction with the fundamental principles of British democracy.
It placed all real power into the hands of unelected civil servants and did so with the help of fools, weaklings and worse.
Hegel would have been content. The power of the civil servants will not be polluted by the people. "The rabble" as he called them will have no influence.
Well, we are the rabble. And we have had enough. As Edmund Burke said in 1784, '"there is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue." We have reached that limit.
So we will fight in every part of this nation and, through our example, we will be present in the struggle for democracy in every nation of Europe.
We will field candidates in every constituency in which the leading contender, whatever his party has failed to demonstrate that he favours a referendum on the fundamental issue concerning our future relationship with Europe.
We are not interested in what politicians say. We look at what they do and why they do it.
Almost every day, I receive letters from Members of Parliament swearing allegiance. They tell us that, deep down, they have always wanted a referendum and that it would be unfair for us to field a candidate against them.
Then we check their voting record and we find that time and time again, whenever they have been offered the opportunity to vote for a referendum, they have either voted against or run away and abstained.
We place no trust in those who put their careers above the interest of their nation, those who alter their views so as to be re-elected or to obtain promotion.
Indeed, one of the big problems that we will face will be that as the nation becomes increasingly aware that it has been deceived, so the leading politicians will change their tune and try to mislead us yet again.
Look at Tony Blair. In 1983, he stated and I quote.. "Well negotiate a withdrawal from the EEC which has drained our natural resources and destroyed jobs".
But later, the Labour Party changed its tune. I quote: '"Labour supports progress towards economic and monetary union...
Blair followed. He said: "If we want to maintain our global role, we must be a leading player in Europe."" Pro-Europeans must be persuaders in the debate about Europe's future."
But at the Labour Party' Conference, Tony Blair vowed to build, I quote," ~a new and constructive relationship in Europe".
Of course, that was just an elegant way of avoiding the issue. It means nothing.
The questions to be answered, Mr. Blair, are: does the new Labour Party believe in repatriating power or does it believe in a federal Europe? And why is it that the Labour Party is willing to offer referenda on so many subjects but not on the one of paramount importance? Those questions remain unanswered.
John Major is also an interesting political phenomenon.
In November 1991, he said there will be no referendum, I quote, '"because we are a parliamentary democracy."
A few days later, he confirmed his firm commitment. I quote: " the government does not intend to hold a referendum on the outcome of the Maastricht negotiations".
A few months later, he repeated: ".... I am not in favour of a referendum in a parliamentary democracy and I do not propose to put one before the British people".
In May 1994, he said: "I have not changed my mind".
A few months later, he said and I quote:"... I made it clear that I did not rule out a referendum".
A few days after that, he stated : "I have said that I am not prepared to close the door on the possibility of a referendum".
On June the 29th 1995, he said:"... I repeat what I have said in the House before:
On March 1st 1996, he said:"I have made it clear to the House on previous occasions that I believe that a referendum on joining a single European currency could be a necessary step. My position has not changed".
And all this has continued during last week's Conservative Party Conference.
John Major and Ken Clarke walked, paraded on the stage holding hands.
Michael Portillo proclaimed that the Party's three policies were:
"unity, unity and unity". How's that for a single issue party.
Malcolm Rifkind, our Foreign Secretary attacked the Labour Party saying, I quote: "Ask yourselves why Tony Blair and the Labour Party have refused to commit themselves to a referendum? Whilst we trust the people, the people can't trust Labour". End of quote.
You seem to have forgotten, Mr. Rifkind, that on the 17th of June this year, you said to "The Times" newspaper that you ruled out a referendum on Britain's relations with Europe. That was a confirmation of what you said only a month earlier to the "Daily Telegraph".
Michael Howard, the Home Secretary for his part, proclaimed that Labour, I quote: "want to sell this country to a federal Europe." "We have", he added, "a simple answer to this. Never".
Those are noble sentiments, Mr. Howard. But how do you reconcile them with the fact that you yourself used to work as a member of the Executive Committee of the European movement ?
Let me remind you that it was the European movement which spearheaded the selling of this country to a federal Europe. And did so with funding from the propaganda budget of the European Commission. Mrs. Edwina Currie is now a leader of that movement.
And, Home Secretary have you forgotten that it was your government, with your support, that signed the Treaty of Maastricht which, effectively surrendered this country to a federal Europe?
Home Secretary you are reputed to be a skilled and hard working lawyer, a Queen's Counsel no less. When you voted for the Maastricht Treaty, were you unable to understand the terms of the Treaty despite your great legal experience? Were you unable to understand that Maastricht was selling the country irreversibly into a federal Europe?
During the Lib-Dem's Party Conference, referring to the fact that neither the Tories nor the Labour Party dared debate the European issue, Paddy Ashdown said and I quote: "So Britain will be asked to vote without knowing what it is voting for. This is a conspiracy perpetrated on the British people by their politicians". End of quote. I do not agree with Paddy Ashdown's policies but on this issue, he is honest and speaks the truth.
Are these the people, both Conservative and Labour, that we are going to trust when they make a whole new and contradictory set of promises?
And what is more, promises which will be irreversible and will bind the British people forever.
Let us now turn to the government's current policy As we have seen, it calls for unity in the Conservative Party. But how can a party unite honestly behind a non existent policy?
One wing of the party wishes to maintain national sovereignty whilst the other seeks to integrate Britain into a European super-state.
Only those who cannot understand what it means to believe strongly in anything could ask people, holding totally different views on a vital national issue, to unite.
If you cut through the political jargon, this is what the call for unity really means - it means let's just avoid the issue.
The government's official White Paper setting out its negotiating position for the intergovernmental conference illustrates the way the government thinks. Its title is hopeful. It is called "A partnership of nations" The document itself starts well. It makes for good public relations. But when it reaches Clause 12, it collapses into the usual compromise and double talk.
In effect, Clause 12 explains that the government will not say "NO" to the consensus of Eurocrats. Clause 12 says that the government will concentrate, I quote, "on achieving sensible amendments" and avoid "pressing ideas"' which would stand no chance of "general acceptance".
In other words, if a sufficient number of Eurocrats say boo, we all fall down.
Has the government forgotten that for the moment, it still possesses the right of veto which protects our vital national interests?
The government, of course, would answer that under the circumstances, its position is necessary.
It was one of our greatest Prime Ministers, William Pitt, who said:"Necessity is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves".
Let me now address a number of questions about the Referendum Party that people rightly ask themselves.
Firstly: The Referendum Party is a single issue party, they say And so it is. But can there be a bigger and more determining issue?
The other parties have no issues.
Their electoral promises are almost totally empty
How can it be otherwise when the very powers needed to make good on the bulk of their promises are being handed to Brussels?
Until we have settled the fundamental question of who governs Britain, Westminster or Brussels, the gesticulations of all political parties are no more than that, gesticulations.
The Referendum Party stands for the issue from which all policies inevitably flow. It is the only issue which counts. And we, in the Referendum Party, want the people to decide that issue.
The other parties just seek the power of office. But that power will be in Brussels. So they will only get the privileges and not the power. Perhaps privilege without responsibility is what suits them best.
Secondly: Some suggest that a vote for the Referendum Party is a wasted vote. Wrong. It is the only vote which counts.
A vote for the Referendum Party is your chance to decide whether Britain will bring home her right to self government.
A vote for the other parties is a vote for Brussels.
Thirdly: It is said that it could be disloyal for a member of the other political parties to vote for the Referendum Party Wrong again. We are not competing for power with the other parties. We seek no power for ourselves.
The issue that we fight for is to allow you, not the politicians, to make the decision that will dominate our future. It is well above party politics.
We do not ask people to abandon their traditional parties. Once we have obtained a fair referendum, the Referendum Party will dissolve. That is written into our constitution.
We can all then return to our traditional parties and, if we have so decided, the parties will once again have the legal power to govern this nation.
Voting for the Referendum Party is your decision, reached in private. You can decide whether power should come home. What is more, it provides us all with a guarantee. It ties clown the parties. They will have to respect the will of the people.
They will not, once again, be able to promise one thing and do the opposite.
And this would be fully understood in Europe. Our politicians would be armed with a clear mandate from the people.
The fourth point concerns the claim that we are Little Englanders. The truth is blindingly obvious. The Little Englanders are those who would transform this ancient nation into a mere province of the European Union.
If elected, our candidates would form an ad-hoc coalition with those MPs of the other parties who also favour a referendum. Together, we would enact a fair Referendum Bill and then we would resign.
Let me pay homage to those MPs from the left and from the right who have fought for a referendum. They have put nation above party; they have sacrificed their own careers; they have confronted conventional wisdom and they have accepted with fortitude the consequent abuse. And they have stood firm.
They restore dignity to politics. They stand out as honest men, indeed heroes, among so many of their colleagues who float with the tide, trim and alter their views to obtain advancement and demean themselves to gain easy popularity
It is the politicians who put their career first, who reassure us.
When critics say that we, in the Referendum Party; have minimal political experience, our answer to them is Halleluia.
My last specific comment concerns the wording of the question to be submitted to the electorate in a referendum.
We are convinced that the question must address the fundamental issues of our relationship with Europe.
We must not let the politicians get away with a false referendum.
For example. a question limited to the single currency would fail to address all the other vital issues: our right to legislate, to run our economy, to control our foreign affairs, our national security and our frontiers.
Like illusionists on the stage, the politicians, both Labour and Conservative, will hold out their right hand for us to look at and they will keep their left hand well hidden. In the right hand, will be the suggestion that they might grant us a referendum on a single currency.
In their left hand, they will hide the reality of our loss of sovereignty on all the other fundamental issues, which inevitably will force us into a federal Europe.
Just look at the Conservative pledge for a referendum. It is limited to the single currency and sidesteps all the really important issues about our independence.
It requires that the Conservatives win the next general election; that the Cabinet approve it; that Parliament vote for it. Not in a free vote but with a three line party whip.
In other words, as was the case with Maastricht, MPs will be forced to vote in favour, no matter what they believe.
Only then would this limited referendum be submitted to the people.
The government would be committed to campaigning for a "yes" vote. All its machinery of power and its massive propaganda capabilities would once again be brought into play.
The members of the government would not be able to vote according to their conscience. They would have to support publicly the single currency or resign.
And the result of the referendum would only bind the Conservatives for one term.
That is the government's idea of a fair referendum.
And what of the Labour Party which the pundits forecast will win the next election? What would they do? No doubt, just proceed to a federal Europe without a public debate, nor a public vote.
From opinion polls, it would seem that the people of this country in varying proportions, hold four principal views about Europe.
They are: that we should become an integral part of a federal Europe; or be part of a family of sovereign European nations which would cooperate when we can do things better together than separately; or that we should return to being a member of EFTA, the European Free Trade Association which was our original concept; or finally that we should just get out.
In our view; the referendum should be multi-optional. It should accommodate the existing diversity of views.
The exact words would be determined fairly and constitutionally
If you elect members of the Referendum Party, we will negotiate with the pro-referendum MPs in the other parties so as to obtain such a multi-optional referendum. Before closing, I would like to make a brief personal statement - and here I speak only for myself.
The members of our Party are free men and women representing a multiplicity of views.
If we obtain a referendum, each of our views, including mine, will be just one among many others.
Here are mine.
I believe in a new Europe. A Europe that draws its strengths from its extraordinary diversity. A Europe that is built on its true pillars -its ancient nations.
We would be members of a family of sovereign nations which would cooperate for their mutual benefit.
And there should be the strictest possible institutional control to ensure that this spirit of cooperation should never again be allowed to grow into the malignancy which produced Brussels and the other European institutions.
The peoples of Europe must be liberated from the control of the bureaucracy and power should return where it belongs - to Westminster.
People ask why I am doing all this. You know why. I am doing it for the same reasons as you. We just cannot stand by and see this nation surrendered. We are just not built that way
We all know that it will draw on every ounce of our energy, that it will be costly, that we will be abused, misquoted and even ridiculed by our opponents.
But that will not deter us. We do not fear abuse. Nor even do we fear failure. Although we prefer success.
And we deserve no thanks. Because as we see this tragic accident unfolding before our eyes, we are unable to be passive. We have no option other than to fight.
Chancellor Kohl has said that within two years, he will make European integration irreversible. He stated, and I quote: "This is a really big battle but it is worth the fight". Chancellor Kohl reminds us regularly that by irreversible, he means forever.
Let me make just one promise, just one vow. We, the rabble army, we in the Referendum Party, we will strive with all our strength to obtain for the people of these islands the right to decide whether or not Britain should remain a nation.
Let us borrow Chancellor Kohl's words and accept his challenge. Yes, indeed, this is a really big battle but it is worth the fight."
Sir James Goldsmith