This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the opponents of Britain's first attempt to join the European Economic Community (EEC) between the announcement of Harold Macmillan's new policy initiative in July 1961 and General de Gaulle's veto of Britain's application for membership in January 1963. In particular, it examines the role of national identity in shaping both the formulation and articulation of arguments put forward by these opponents of Britain's policy. To date, studies of Britain's unsuccessful bid for entry have focused on high political analysis of diplomacy and policy formulation. In most accounts, only passing reference is made to domestic opposition. This book redresses the balance, providing a complete depiction of the opposition movement and a distinctive approach that proceeds from a ‘low-political’ viewpoint. As such, it emphasizes protest and populism of the kind exercised by, among others, Fleet Street crusaders at the Daily Express, pressure groups such as the Anti-Common Market League and Forward Britain Movement, expert pundits like A.J.P. Taylor, Sir Arthur Bryant and William Pickles, as well as constituency activists, independent parliamentary candidates, pamphleteers, letter writers and maverick MPs. In its consideration of a group largely overlooked in previous accounts, the book provides essential insights into the intellectual, structural, populist and nationalist dimensions of early Euroscepticism.
This book is about Britain's membership to the EEC. It provides a comprehensive rendering of the views and activities of the anti-Market movement and discusses ‘low political’ protest and populism of the kind exercised by Fleet Street crusaders. It argues that constructions of Britishness or national identity, whether reflexive or calculated, dominated both the genesis and the subsequent transmission of anti-Market sentiment. This volume suggests that the impact of the anti-Marketeers was greater than previously suggested but less than its proponents hoped, precisely because the overwhelming reliance upon national sentiment was simultaneously the movement's greatest strength and greatest weakness.
This chapter focuses on the construction of British identities and the patriotic dimensions of the anti-Market discourse. It argues that while post-war nationalism is generally conceptualised as the outpost of extremism, a greater understanding of the phenomenon is gained from acknowledging its pervasive and therefore banal relationship with the conduct of everyday life. This chapter examines the theoretical constructs that might help account for the endurance of nationalism in a globalising era and the mechanisms which facilitated the imagination of British identities and sustained visions of national uniqueness. It also identifies the specific components of British identity that were manifested in the first application debate or the ones that lent themselves to manipulation in the anti-Market discourses.
This chapter examines the campaign launched by the Daily Express against Great Britain's application to the EEC. It evaluates the roots, nature and centrality of national identity issues employed by the Express during its pursuit of the anti-Market campaign and examines the parameters and methods of Lord Beaverbrook's campaign, both within and outside Fleet Street. It analyzes manipulation of the banal components of identity, both as a defence of a British way of life and as part of a discourse on issues of national sovereignty, agriculture and Commonwealth trade.
This chapter discusses new research concerning the pronouncements of anti-Market pundits including historians C.E. Carrington and Sir Arthur Bryant and economists James Meade and Roy Harrod. It traces the origins of their dissent and differentiates between the intractable sceptics and those whose opposition evolved from a ‘wait and see’ position. This chapter suggests in their analysis these pundits emphasised the political rather than the economic goals of the Treaty of Rome.
This chapter examines the activities of opposition anti-Market pressure groups. It charts the affairs of organisations defined as ‘single-issue groups’ which included Keep Britain Out (KBO) and the Forward Britain Movement (FBM). It also considers youth and women's groups, Protestant conspiracy theorists, Commonwealth lobbies and associations on the far right, such as the League of Empire Loyalists (LEL) and True Tories. This chapter suggests that what truly united the pressure groups were banal assumptions about the sanctity of national freedom and a common perception that Britain's independence and international status were increasingly vulnerable.
This chapter explores the politics of the anti-Market issue as it related to the Labour and Conservative parties, national identity and the shape of the domestic debate. It comments on Hugh Gaitskell's ‘thousand years of history’ speech and discusses Labour's stance as it evolved from a ‘wait and see’ position, determined by fears that the Common Market issue would divide the party. This chapter shows that the anti-Market advances forced the Government into a publicity campaign in support of entry, one that directed most of its energies towards countering the sceptical claims.
This chapter sums up the key findings of this study on the opposition to Great Britain's membership to the EEC. It briefly reviews the chronology of Britain's application and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's claim that the Common Market application represented a turning point in British history. This chapter discusses the impact of the anti-Market campaign and the connection between anti-Marketeers and Eurosceptics. It concludes that anti-Marketeers and Eurosceptics were ultimately united by an instinctive reaction to integration, a perception that aspects of European unity are incompatible with a set of achievements and characteristics that they believe define Britain as a unique nation among nations.