The United Kingdom has always been in and out of Europe. Such posturing is in keeping with a series of mantras [religious beliefs] upon which Britain's policy towards Europe is predicated. The latter have never been really challenged in the last century. Britain's Europe is a paradoxical set of conflicting principles from which that polity does not seem to be prepared to depart. Britain's relationship to Europe is informed by three fundamental attitudes first keeping the balance of power between the European countries, second meddling only when necessary, and third defending the British self-interest. The concept of balance of power stems from a rather muscular philosophy linked to a tradition of insular aloofness continental Europe. And yet, Britain was going to abandon its policy of splendid isolation in the course of the 19th century. The global reach of (its) Empire forced Great-Britain to take an interest in European affairs if only to watch what its colonizing rivals were doing in Africa and elsewhere, for London still had relatively little ambition to be a mover and shaker in continental European affairs, though it liked to give a lead in the comity of nations: its primary preoccupation concerning Europe was to ensure that the latter did not become a source of trouble or danger for her empire and, ultimately, for herself.
[...] Being brought up in left-wing polity and being affiliated to the Scottish Labour party, he belongs to this tradition of the hard-left of the Labour party which sees Brussels Europe as a 'white man's club'. This segment of the Labour party has always been nostalgic of the Commonwealth. This shows at the edges. Brown likes to protray himself as the staunch advocate of the Third Word. He has been a supporter of Third World debt reduction for some time. This ties up with his religious education, he is the do-gooder, and with this kind of political education, he has developed a soft spot for new and old Commonwealth countries. [...]
[...] No wonder then that Britain's European policy over the years has shown no consistency Britain's Europe is a hodge-podge of contradictory principles Britain opposes federalism British governments usually prefer intergovernmental solutions and yet on the whole they have far fewer problems in implementing EU directives than many other EU member states. The strong legitimist [belief in being reasonable and law-abiding, and not in being an advocate of the Bourbons] strand in the British elite political culture might explain this. From day one, British governments and courts accepted the primacy of EU legislation. [...]
[...] Moreover the British are perennially divided over whether or not the benefits of deeper integration within the European Union are worth the costs. - above all, the loss of national control over economic and trade policy. In sum, subliminally, the and attitude prevails: there are manifestations of this posture in the popular saying the wogs starts at Calais”. British nationalism or rather jingoism is a mix of Little Englandism and Internationalism Historical evolution of Britain's Relationship with Europe The old dispensation endures from 1945 to 1958 In 1945 Labour won the first postwar election. [...]
[...] As late as per cent of British exports went for the most part to countries in the sterling area, compared with 34.2 per cent to Western Europe and the United States. Britain did not join the Common Market in 1958 for the following reasons: - Though Britain did agree with the ideas of eliminating intra Community trade barriers and with allowing capital and labour to move freely within the EEC, it was dead set against a Common external tariff: at that stage, Britain was still doing a large amount of its trade outside the EEC. [...]
[...] Arguably, Europe is moving in the direction of variable integration, something that the French accredited with President Chirac's idea of 'Pioneer countries' and we, in France, will have to make do with in the future. Britain is favourable to enlargement Britain is favourable to the EU enlargement believing that these Central and Eastern European countries will temper anti-Americanism in Europe or, in the case of Turkey, anti-Western feelings in the Islamic world. Moreover it strongly believes that once included these countries will look to Britain for a lead. [...]
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