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.
Conservatism, the party and
the nation require revision even if the idea of the ‘Conservative nation’ remains a
The following four chapters are concerned mainly with the way in which those
flows of sympathy now issue in different patterns of politics in the Conservative Party.
Chapter 4 assesses the changing influence on party competition of class and nation,
especially how this influences the Conservative Party’s electoral identity. The next
three chapters reflect the impact on the Conservative nation of the British, English
and European Questions. A postscript
censorship in theatre, film and literature. And from 1924 for the next five
years, Britain had the most notorious ‘guardian of public morality’ for its
Home Secretary that it has ever had: Sir William Joynson-Hicks (‘Jix’).24
Morality tales and the defining of Britishness/Englishness
There were two key didactic aspects to the ways in which the press wrote
about the trials, and they both spoke to contemporary fears – about sexual
morality on the one hand, national identity on the other. All the trials were
represented by the press as morality tales. Reports of the Maud
discriminatory bureaucratic edifice (Conway 2004: 1–3). Opposition
to multiculturalism, then, combined as a rallying-cry both themes of
elitist conspiracy and cultural denial.
In an accomplished conservative polemic that wove together these
patrician and populist themes, Kenneth Minogue argued that multiculturalism had imposed a sort of Jacobinian ‘dictatorship of virtue upon
a previously free people’. The eagerness of the establishment to
abandon British/English customs ‘reveals the extent to which multiculturalism arises less from love of others than from hatred of our own
, was widely shared and, as Colls (2002: 28) remarked, it ‘could turn
Conservatism and the nation
conservatives into radicals and vice versa, and this too was said to be a people’s
story’. And so it was.
England and Britain
So far these reflections on Conservative thinking about the nation and the constitution
have indulged in a terminological sleight of hand. There has been an attempt, where
possible, to avoid using either ‘England’ or ‘Britain’, ‘English’ or ‘British’. The caution
points to a real problem, raising once more the question of: what’s in a name
There are few bands that have enjoyed as much adoration or endured as much
criticism as The Clash. Emerging originally as a principal voice in the
burgeoning mid-1970s London punk scene, The Clash would soon cast off the
fetters that restricted many of their peers, their musical tastes becoming ever
more eclectic and their political field of vision ever more global. In the
process, the band would widen the cultural and political horizons of their
audience and would for many come to exemplify the power of popular music to
change minds. While The Clash would attract a great deal of critical acclaim,
this would always be less than universal. In the eyes of their many detractors,
the radical political stance of the band was little more than self-mythologising
posture, neatly serving the culture industries in their perennial goal of
‘turning rebellion into money’. In this collection, scholars working out of very
different contexts and academic traditions set out to examine this most complex
and controversial of bands. Across a dozen original essays, the authors provide
fresh insights into the music and politics of The Clash in ways that are by
turns both critical and celebratory. While the book seeks to locate the band in
their own time and place, it also underlines their enduring and indeed very
contemporary significance. A common thread running though the essays here is
that the songs The Clash wrote four decades ago to document a previous, pivotal
moment of geopolitical transformation have a remarkable resonance in our own
current moment of prolonged global turbulence. Written in a style that is both
scholarly and accessible, Working for the clampdown offers compelling and
original takes on one of the most influential and incendiary acts ever to grace
This book focuses on the idea of the nation in Conservative Party politics. It represents an attempt to make sense of the way in which flows of sympathy from the past help to shape the changing patterns of Conservatism in the present; it does so by examining one of the party's preoccupations: its claim to be the 'national party'. The first three chapters are concerned mainly with flows of sympathy within Conservatism, the currents of which can still be traced today. The character (or political culture) of the Conservative Party is explored and the significance of the nation in its self-understanding is discussed. The book considers the interconnection of party and patriotism by revisiting one of the key texts for a previous generation, Andrew Gamble's The Conservative Nation. Andrew Gamble believed that Conservative leaders have always been uneasily aware of the fragility of the political raft upon they sail on democratic waters. The book assesses the changing influence on party competition of class and nation, especially how this influences the Conservative Party's electoral identity. It also reflects the impact on the Conservative nation of the British, English and European Questions. A postscript considers the impact of the 2017 general election and makes some final reflections on the party.
This chapter considers the ways in which British/English films about the Second World War, especially those focused on the home front, have deployed the landscape imagery as an iconographic element of a discourse invariably bound up with issues of national identity. The Lion Has Wings, In Which We Serve, Millions Like Us, A Canterbury Tale, The Demi-Paradise, Went the Day Well? and The Gentle Sex, all contain rural images – countryside, landscapes, villages, cottages. Such images sometimes feature as intermittent and peripheral sequences in films largely set in urban or other contexts as in Millions Like Us and The Gentle Sex; in contrast, however, pastoral imagery is central to films such as A Canterbury Tale and Went the Day Well? This chapter identifies instances of landscape imagery in films dealing with the wartime home front experience and relate them to the broad cultural significance of rural life to the British/English sensibility. The perception of the countryside altered during the war due to ‘the transformation of agriculture’ and ‘the evacuation of city children and mothers’ (David Matless) and one would expect some reflection on this in the cinema as well as in other cultural forms (posters, paintings, photographs).
for the past. That is, the desire for an idea of a colonial and industrial past based in British (English) sovereignty. The desire to define borders, identity and laws. An image of the past projected onto a supersessionary fantasy of the future.
All sides of the debate figure Brexit as a moment of change, although they disagree on whether the outcomes of that change will be beneficial or damaging.
What does it feel like?
It feels like being the sheep in Gyll’s manger, wondering how I got from my windy, predictable Yorkshire hillside to this. I worry how many
In 1960–62, a large number of white autochthonous parents in Southall became very concerned that the sudden influx of largely non-Anglophone Indian immigrant children in local schools would hold back their children’s education. It was primarily to placate such fears that ‘dispersal’ (or ‘bussing’) was introduced in areas such as Southall and Bradford, as well as to promote the integration of mostly Asian children. It consisted in sending busloads of immigrant children to predominantly white suburban schools, in an effort to ‘spread the burden’. This form of social engineering went on until the early 1980s. This book, by mobilising local and national archival material as well as interviews with formerly bussed pupils in the 1960s and 1970s, reveals the extent to which dispersal was a flawed policy, mostly because thousands of Asian pupils were faced with racist bullying on the playgrounds of Ealing, Bradford, etc. It also investigates the debate around dispersal and the integration of immigrant children, e.g. by analysing the way some Local Education Authorities (Birmingham, London) refused to introduce bussing. It studies the various forms that dispersal took in the dozen or so LEAs where it operated. Finally, it studies local mobilisations against dispersal by ethnic associations and individuals. It provides an analysis of debates around ‘ghetto schools’, ‘integration’, ‘separation’, ‘segregation’ where quite often the US serves as a cognitive map to make sense of the English situation.