Download PDF by M. Spiering: A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism

By M. Spiering

ISBN-10: 1137447559

ISBN-13: 9781137447555

ISBN-10: 1349496235

ISBN-13: 9781349496235

Why are the British so Euro-sceptic? ignore tedious treaties, social gathering politics or diplomacy. the genuine cause is that the British don't feel eu. This publication explores and explains the cultural divide among Britain and Europe, the place it comes from and the way it manifests itself in way of life and the tutorial global.

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Secondly the important point must be made that oppositional thinking as such is by no means unique to the British. Some talk about ‘British exceptionalism’ as if this nation has a patent on contrastive self-definition. In fact oppositional thinking is a normal ingredient of any identification process. Germans see themselves as not French, the Portuguese are not Spanish, etc. Timothy Garton Ash’s observation that ‘Britain serves as the model of a “normal” nation-state’ is undoubtedly true. ‘If you look at the historiography of any other nation in Europe, you realize that exceptionalism is the norm.

Though expressed less frequently and less forcefully, Tebbit’s celebration of islandness and separation from Europe is countered by claims that staying out of European integration would only lead to barrenness and stagnancy. In 1963, when asked if the UK should join the EEC, the Labour politician and journalist Woodrow Wyatt replied: ‘If Britain remains an island I can foresee nothing but stagnation economically, a fast diminishing influence on world affairs, and a country as trivial and insignificant as Switzerland or Sweden and about as safe as India (Going into Europe IV, 76).

It is a bit like the famous ‘vertical line experiment’. Kittens that are placed in a room with only vertical lines soon lose the ability to see horizontal elements, permanently changing and conditioning their world view. So, Britain and Europe are commonly regarded as two different, and often opposing, entities. Before exploring the reasons proffered why Britain is different, and what these differences comprise, it should be noted that it is not just British historians who were (and are) programmed to see a distinction between Britain and Europe.

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A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism by M. Spiering


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