The Reluctant Europeans

  • Andrew Gamble


Europe is the fourth circle of England, and is both the oldest of the four and perhaps at the deepest level the most influential in shaping its identities and political economy. It is also the most troubled and least straightforward of the four in contemporary British politics, the source of deep divisions within and between parties. This is because although England has always been a part of Europe and is deeply European in its culture, its language, its institutions, its religion and its politics, the national identity first of England, and then of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, has generally been formed in opposition to ‘Europe’, or at least to some suitably frightening manifestation of Europe. It has often been convenient to make Europe the ‘Other’ against which the particular qualities of Englishness and Britishness are defined. One of the ‘Metric Martyrs’ (small shopkeepers fined in 2001 for refusing to introduce metric weights and measures in their shops) declared after the court hearing: ‘I am British; I am not European’, as though the one necessarily excluded the other. The belief that they could be, and should be, exclusive still fuels political debate.


Monetary Union Single Market European Economic Community British Government Labour Party 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Andrew Gamble 2003

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  • Andrew Gamble

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