The Economist ponders - ‘Why Britain is so Eurosceptic?’
Has anyone asked the Economist, if it is within their style-book to use ‘Britain’ and ‘England’ interchangeably ?
I’m guessing no…
British or English aside:
This underlies the Euroscepticism that pervades the Conservative Party and a majority of Britons, which could lead to Britain voting to exit the EU at a referendum in 2017. Britain never much wanted to be a member of the club in the first place.
To the extent that it did, it was motivated by a narrow economic prospectus: to access the benefits of European free trade. It was never impressed by the subsidy regimes designed for French farmers and other special interests; Britain was a net contributor to the European budget for its first three decades of membership. This tested its rationale for joining the club from the start.
The steady creep of EU powers and regulations, into the justice system, the workplace and beyond, have caused much greater resentment, which the ongoing troubles in the euro zone have exacerbated. Many Britons feel they have ended up in a power hungry, supra-governmental and economically moribund arrangement, which they never voted to join, and would not have done. Clearly, they have a point.
All the same, why are they so bothered? Unsatisfactory as the EU is, the benefits of belonging to the world’s biggest free-trade group probably outweigh the costs. That is why other north Europeans, including the Swedes, Dutch and even Germans, who share much or all of the British critique, are not similarly agitating to leave. Part of the answer lies in British history. Almost alone in the EU, Britain recalls the second world war with more pride than fear.
It does so, moreover, in such a way as to exaggerate the benefits of isolation—of being a plucky island nation apart. This makes it reluctant to see itself as the European country, wedded to the fortunes of other European countries, that it is. Memories of empire also play a part in this deceipt: some Tory Eurosceptics even dream of reconstituting it as an alternative to the EU, in the form of an Anglophone or Commonwealth trade block.
read more @ The Economist
there is history here:
Although the British government was favorable[SIC] to the creation of the European Communities, the United Kingdom was not a founding member.
and the feeling might have been mutual:
trade with the European Communities ended up accounting for more of Britain’s trade than that with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which had been established partially as an alternative to the European Economic Community. This led the UK to reconsider its policy, moving closer to the EEC and opening accession negotiations in 1961.
French president Charles de Gaulle strongly resisted, arguing that the UK was closer to American policies than European ones, and would therefore attempt to “sabotage” the community. Consequently, France vetoed the UK’s first attempt at achieving membership in 1963.
and this brings to mind Scotland’s up-coming vote of succession :
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has tended to be pro-EU since the 1980s.
as an aside, Ireland, to its credit, has been very Euro-centric of late….
here is the polling :
Support for Withdrawal
A YouGov poll in 2010 found that 47% of voters in the United Kingdom would vote to leave the European Union, while 33% would vote to stay in (with 14% undecided and 5% unwilling to vote).
Support and opposition for withdrawal from the Union are not evenly distributed among the different age groups: opposition to EU membership is most prevalent among those 60 and older (57%) and decreases to 31% among those aged 18-24 (with 35% of 18-24 year olds stating that they would vote for Britain to remain in the EU).
Those most likely to vote for continued EU membership were those aged 25-39, at 38%, though the same percentage of 25-39 year olds would vote to leave it.
Finally, the results of the poll showed some regional variation: support for withdrawal from the EU is lowest in London and Scotland (at 40% and 44% respectively) but reaches 49% across the rest of mainland Britain.
huffpo uk adds:
Europe isn’t perfect, and nor is the EU. Neither are ‘finished projects’, so to speak. The Ukrainian revolution is a powerful reminder that not all the former Soviet republics democratised at the same time, or at the same pace, and we all know that the EU is hardly a paradise for democracy.
more reading :
Jane Ohlmeyer discarded and replaced the historical title “English Civil War” with the titles the “Wars of the Three” and the “British Civil Wars”, positing that the civil war in England cannot be understood isolated from events in other parts of Great Britain and Ireland;
and a great book on the subject of the ‘British Civil Wars’ - The British Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660
and bcw-project.org - a great resource for the ‘British Civil Wars’