By M. Spiering
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 ecu. This booklet 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 international.
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Extra info for A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism
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.
He writes: ‘There were clearly differences between Britain and the Continent’, and ‘Britain parted from a more general European trajectory’ (Black 1985, 116, 140). In addition, he presents Europe as a whole as a sort of unified nation with its own characteristics. 0004 A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism ideology’; ‘Continental society’; ‘Continental ideas and cultural idioms’ (Black 1985, 2, 67, 265). Finally, he easily substitutes the pars of a couple of European countries for all things Continental: ‘There has been a significant general division between English-speaking philosophers and Continental colleagues who write in French, German and Italian’ (Black 1985, 238).
Fourthly, England only returned to Europe occasionally to save the Continent from tyranny and its own shores from invasion. ‘England was thus by tradition the opponent of forced European unification in the name of liberty’ (Bell 1996, 18). The two historical giants who did much to popularize this narrative of exceptionalism are without doubt Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800– 1859) and his great-nephew George Macaulay Trevelyan (1876–1962). The story of the British severance from Europe forms the bedrock of Trevelyan’s hugely popular publications History of England, English Social History and A Shortened History of England which have remained in print since their first years of publication (1926 and 1942).
A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism by M. Spiering