Back in 1975, Britons had their first chance to ditch membership in a European Economic Union in favour of an isolationist policy in an already international world. Sane heads prevailed in this first-ever national referendum and 67% of the votes were for remaining in the Economic Zone.
Staying in the EEC was no obvious choice for the then ruling Labour minority government. Concerns over the EEC included the price of wood within the EEC as opposed to trade within the Commonwealth, the government’s ability to sovereignly practice “socialist” politics et cetera. The whole process is very much worth a read on Wikipedia.
However, let’s take a couple minutes for a photographic look back at the political season leading up to the 1975 referendum.
UK European Communities Membership Referendum, 1975, also known as the Common Market referendum, was held on 5th June 1975, to gauge support for the country’s continued membership of the European Economic Community. Our Picture Shows, Referendum Day, 5th June 1975. Mrs Anna Williams aged 102, personally delivers her Yes Vote to Swansea’s referendum returning officer.
Margaret Thatcher, sporting a sweater bearing the flags of European nations, in Parliament Square during her ‘Yes to Europe’ campaign.
MPs at Westminster rehearsing their song Nine Nein Nein. Guess which side they were on?
Beverley Pilkington, 22 year old model from Essex, wearing Pro Europe white tee shirt with the slogan, Europe or bust? 19th May 1975. Pictured ahead of referendum (5th June 1975) to gauge support for the country’s continued membership of the European Economic Community.
Social Services secretary, Mrs Barbara Castle, left, her seven year old great-niece Rachel Hilton and Mrs Joan Marten, wife of Neil Martin, Chairman of the anti-Common Marketeers (unseen) display goods they brought in London and Brussels with their retrospective prices for comparison during a press conference at the Waldorf Hotel in London, England on May 29, 1975. Mrs. Castle is one of the Labour Party’s anti-marketeers.
Oct. 10, 1971: Mrs. Barbara Fellows, of South Kensington, shows her disapproval of joining the Common Market with stickers on her handbag and on her hat.
LREM Eric Littlehales, of Oswestry, Salop, ponders arguments for and against in the forthcoming National Referendum on the Common Market during a courtesy visit by HMS Fearless to Stockholm.
1973 photo of Mrs Gertrude Shilling, known for absurd hats. Shilling presents herself at a race track wearing a pro Common Markets message.
1972 demonstration at meeting of French President Pompidou and British Prime Minister Edward Heath at the latter cottage in Chequers.
Two young women riding on the car of the South Glamorgan campaign to Keep Britain in Europe.
Anti-Europe MP Tony Benn speaking at Get Britain Out rally, Sophia Gardens Pavilion, Cardiff, June 3, 1975.
13th October 1971: English Conservative politician, (John) Enoch Powell with his wife as he signs copies of his book ‘Common Market – The Case Against’ during the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton.
6th June 1975: Votes in the Common Market Referendum being counted at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, London.
An old lady expresses the common fear that Britain will lose her greatness once she joins EEC.
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