Henry V111 and Ted Heath may seem strange bed-fellows, but one oversaw the rise of firstly English and later British Independence, and the other signed it away. The King, the ruler, knew what he wanted and foresaw for his kingdom, and determined to achieve it. He went against Catholic Rome, a faith and belief which he espoused and held to for years, because he saw the downfall of his line in the obdurate attitude of the Papal See on the thorny question of a marriage to a brother’s widow, once he found that this wife would not bring him Princes; heirs to a throne which was rocky at best, and calamitously unsound on more than one path.
He wanted Anne Boleyn, she would not give him what he wanted without a wedding ring, so he broke with Rome. His further romantic liaisons, after the disappointment with Queen Anne, a wife for whom he had killed his best friend because Sir Thomas More would not make the Oath, all led to disappointment, although he tried and tried again. He established universities, he helped build the first navy; but his greatest achievement was to give England the first Elizabeth, the Queen who would go on to defend her Crown, to build a nation who bestrode the seas, whose trade, influence and plain straightforward bloody-mindedness made Britain a leader amongst the nations of Europe, and the World.
Ted Heath, on the other hand, probably never had a sexual encounter in his entire life, homo- or heterosexual. A ‘loner’ par excellence, his problem probably was that he just did not understand the needs of people who were different to him. The fact that these people were, to themselves, normal, probaly never occurred to a man who had always stood apart from everyone, and therefore had no clue about what was best for them. He didn’t understand working people, he was useless with the Union bosses, he didn’t understand that his own Party were desperate for change, but change they understood. His service in the Artillery during the Second World War proved he was no coward, but his knowledge of that war probabaly coloured his approach to the formation of the Common Market. He probably saw it as a means to ensure that Germany and France could never war against each other, and its enlargement he saw a a proper balance against American domination in both trade and power.
Like Margaret Thatcher, he never understood the truth about Europe, which is that it was a deeply-authoritarian and undemocratic creation, built, peopled and operated by politicians and apparatchiks who instinctively ‘knew’ that their way was best, and their creation allowed for no dissent, no opposition. He lied all the way to the bank to get Britain in to the ‘Market’, giving away the huge resource of all our fishing grounds away to a bunch of clowns who had never even seen the sea before, and debasing himself, and us, to France to get in on any terms.
When he signed the Treaty of Rome, he threw away our sovereignty, and the talking shop in Westminster cannot get it back, and just about all of them don’t even want to try! The changes from ‘Market’ to ‘Economic Union’ to ‘European Union’ were stealthy, unadvertised and unknown to most Europeans, never mind the British. The pillock who sits in Downing Street is a typical ‘apparatchik’or manager. He is, as most will learn in due course, in love with the ‘idea’ of Europe, and is fascinated by it’s rituals, its pomp and self-importance, and has forgotten the offer of a Referendum on our membership of that dictatorial body, and fervently wishes that the rest of us would forget as well!