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A cultural perspective on British attitudes to Europe
Editor: Ina Habermann

This timely collection explores British attitudes to continental Europe that explain the Brexit decision. Analysing British discourses of Europe and the impact of British Euroscepticism, the book argues that Britain’s exit from the European Union reflects a more general cultural rejection of continental Europe: Britain is in denial about the strength of its ties to Europe and needs to face Europe if it is to face the future. The volume brings together literary and cultural studies, history, and political science in an integrated analysis of views and practices that shape cultural memory and the cultural imaginary. Part I, ‘Britain and Europe: political entanglements’, traces the historical and political relationship between Britain and Europe and the place of Europe in recent British political debates while Part II, ‘British discourses of Europe in literature and film’, is devoted to representative case studies of films as well as popular Eurosceptic and historical fiction. Part III, ‘Negotiating borders in British travel writing and memoir’, engages with border mindedness and the English Channel as a contact zone, also including a Gibraltarian point of view. Given the crucial importance of literature in British discourses of national identity, the book calls for, and embarks on, a Euro-British literary studies that highlights the nature and depth of the British-European entanglement.

Timothy Noël Peacock

demonstrates the British exceptionalism in minority government against an international backcloth, and provides a methodological foundation for examining contemporary challenges of new forms of government in democracies around the world. The focus in this study is on events during the 1970s which have not been fully explored, but which were of great importance to contemporary actors in their day-to-day work in Parliament. While some of these events might seem comparatively trivial, they were of critical importance to the modus operandi of the Government and Opposition. This

in The British tradition of minority government
Tim William Machan

British exceptionalism. Put another way, much of what English critics of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries remembered about medieval English geography, history, religion, and literature, they remembered by means of Iceland, Norway, and, to lesser extents, Denmark and Sweden. And these memories, in turn, figure in something even broader, for they play a foundational (if under-appreciated) role in the fashioning of the United Kingdom, which accounts for the historical framework I follow: post-medieval and prior to what Reinhart Koselleck and others

in Northern memories and the English Middle Ages
A distinctive politics?
Author: Richard Taylor

English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.

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Understanding the past, facing the future
Ina Habermann

’ (Eaglestone, 2018 : 1). Looking at the build-up to the referendum, it is striking that Leave campaigners were very good at exploiting myths and stereotypes for their own ends, tapping into the reservoirs of cultural memory in search of narratives and images that would have an impact, while Remainers did not manage, or did not care, to offer powerful narratives in favour of European integration. For example, the UKIP poster that shows three huge escalators cutting into the white cliffs of Dover, prime symbol of British Exceptionalism and the ‘island myth’ (see chapter 10

in The road to Brexit
Open Access (free)
Class cultures, the trade unions and the Labour Party
John Callaghan

of Britain which was similar enough to continental Europe to make the difference more intriguing. ‘Why was there no Marxism in Britain?’ To answer that question, and to examine the larger anomaly of British exceptionalism, McKibbin advances four subsidiary questions: ● ● ● ● How far did the structure of the workforce promote collectivism? To what extent did the associational culture of the working class accelerate or impede the transmission of rejectionist ideologies? How far did the working class feel excluded from civil society? and To what degree did it possess

in Interpreting the Labour Party
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Robert Lister Nicholls

the policy-making process, and adds explanatory value to the key issue of Britain's continued troubled membership of the European Union. It provides an explanation as to why Britain made successive applications, and eventually joined the EEC. A number of key questions are answered. These include why Britain's relationship with Europe has been so troubled, with British exceptionalism and Euroscepticism ultimately resulting in Britain's decision to leave the EU; whether the British public was largely misled by the political elite in respect of the true aims of the

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
Women’s voluntarism, Conservative politics and representations of womanhood
Clarisse Berthezène

refers to as the feminisation of the idea of the nation contributed to bringing to the fore an image of the English as a peaceable, tolerant and moderate people.50 Baldwin’s political success, which has been attributed to his ability to articulate and embody a vision of the nation as ‘uniquely peacable’51 that resonated with a substantial constituency of voters, was in no small part due to Conservative women’s contribution to this language, which carried a form of optimism and a belief in British exceptionalism: Conservative women contributed to defining English

in Rethinking right-wing women
A European education?
David Marquand

ce, a thousand years before his speech, Britain did not exist, and England’s existence was problematic. Noneconomists who know no history are, of course, equally dangerous. One obvious example is Tony Blair whose ignorance of the tormented history of the Middle East led him to embark on the disastrous invasion of Iraq alongside the equally ignorant Bush administration in the United States. More damagingly, the same is true of the motley crew of ‘Leave’ campaigners in the 2016 referendum on EU membership. They pray in aid a myth of British exceptionalism, but seem

in Making social democrats
Robert Lister Nicholls

maintain Britain's defence commitments East of Suez. In a speech on 16 December 1964 in the House of Commons, Wilson provided a demonstration of British exceptionalism when he announced: I want to make it quite clear that whatever we may do in the field of cost effectiveness, value for money and a stringent review of expenditure, we cannot afford to relinquish our world role – our role which, for shorthand purposes, is sometimes called our ‘East of Suez’ role. I was glad to see last week in Washington the full recognition

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984