I acknowledge that. The right hon. Member for Battersea, North has a proud record of coherence on this issue. There is a damaging tendency—which has been greatly fostered by some of those who have consistently opposed our membership of the EEC—to attribute post-1973 events to our membership of the EEC. It is a pure coincidence of time and history that 1973 also saw the beginning of a world crisis, which was caused by factors external to the Community. The oil crisis in the Middle East had a disastrous effect on the world economy. It was coincidental with our membership of the Community.
It will not do for hon. Members consistently to support the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy in relation to Europe. Our membership of the EEC is damaged by constant shifts in position, which are undertaken, in particular, by the Labour Party. We shall not secure the full benefits of membership if our adherence to the Community is constantly debated. Nor shall we secure the full benefits of membership if we leave ourselves open to the criticisms to which the Lord Privy Seal—with his typical, skilful diplomacy—referred in general terms.
The Opposition are not coherent about what they would do if, by some mischance, they were once again to form the Government.