British national identity and opposition to membership of Europe, 1961-63
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, this study 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 by providing a more complete depiction of the opposition movement and a distinctive approach that proceeds from a ‘low political’ viewpoint. As such, the book emphasises 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. The book will be of significant interest to both scholars and students of national identity, Britain’s relationship with Europe and the Commonwealth, pressure groups and party politics, and the trajectory of the Eurosceptic phenomenon.
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