This study, by a group of important political thinkers, provides an analysis of the often problematic relationship between Britain and the European Union. The book opens with a general review of the history of this relationship since 1950. This is followed by ten chapters by other researchers, each investigating a particular aspect of the relationship, the view of Britain from Europe, Business, the Civil Service, and the Trade Unions. It also discusses the attitude of the media and different political parties in England, Scotland and Wales. The book is also a scrutiny of the attitude of the media.In the introduction, Baker and Seawright explain the complexity of the relation that Britain entertains with the European Union. This relation was marked by tension mainly because of Britain that the author describes as ‘the reluctant European partner' . After this they provide readers with a brief idea of the ten chapters. All chapters deal with the British European relation but each deal with a specific aspect of it. The first chapter “The European Issue in British Politics” by Andrew Gamble provides a historical review of the integration of Britain in the European Union. The issue of integration in the Union itself is very specific since it raises questions of sovereignty and identity that the British can not answer: “Europe is this kind of issue. It divides parties because it fuses together issues of sovereignty and identity with political economy in a novel and powerful way.” As Gamble explains, the issue is so complex that it raises all sorts of controversies within British politicians. Yet, the complexity of the issue is not the only explanation for the uneasiness that marks the relation between Europe and Britain. In fact, there is the way with which Britain views Europe that affects the relation as well as the influence of the United States of America.
[...] Secondly, there is the set of legislative initiatives produced by the Thatcher's government that was largely for European integration. The seventh chapter, “British Business: managing complexity” by Justin Greenwood and Lara Stancich deals with the relation between Europe and British Business. In fact, this latter is positive to Europe: “There is scarcely any doubt that British Business, like its counterparts in the Continent, is positive to Europe.” Here again the most important element that generates this positive attitude is the wish to benefit from the European Common Market. [...]
[...] As the writers say several occasions, Liberal Democrat support helped Major's government to carry the day.' The natural conclusion that they draw after mentioning all the examples that prove that Liberal Democrats played an important role in shaping the policy of Britain towards Europe is the following: short, in the absence of Liberal support, Britain might never have joined the common Market in the first place.' Then the authors try to examine the principles and the history of the party in order to see if they contain elements that explain this enthusiasm for the European common market. [...]
[...] For the party the issue of Europe did not represent a problem since the majority of Conservatives were pro- Europe. At the level of the government things were not that simple. Conservative governments at power had to manage the resistance embodied by the Labour MP's that were largely against Europe. The book revisits the relation Europe has with Britain from different perspectives. It tries to explore the dynamics that govern this relation and motivate each of the different attitudes adopted regarding Europe. Each chapter studies the attitude of a [...]
[...] Labour parliaments and European integration” by David Baker and David Seawright highlights the fact that Europe has the ability to divide the Labour party. In fact, the policy on Europe was hesitating between integration and withdrawal. Seawright and Baker's survey shows that the Labour party had moved considerably towards European integration since 1983. Yet, a tight analysis reveals that some questions related to the issue of sovereignty still cause reluctance concerning European integration within the Labour party. The interventionist and collective values of the party as well as explosive electoral issue of EMU are the major reasons that explain the party's non- fixed policy towards Europe. [...]
[...] The world order changed as well as power balance that is why the author suggests that the issue of Europe integration should be studied in respect with these changes: is against this background of changing economic and security interests that the relationship of Britain to the process of integration must be judged.” In the second chapter: Cauldron: Conservative Parliaments and European Integration” Steve Ludlam begins by explaining that the issue of Europe has always been caused hot debates within the conservative party. [...]
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