*Continental Drift*

by on June 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm in Books, Current Affairs, History, Law, Political Science, Uncategorized | Permalink

The author is Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon and the subtitle is Britain and Europe from the End of Empire to the rise of Euroscepticism.  It is maybe the best book to read on Britain’s earlier relations with the European Union.  Here is one bit:

The vast majority of the Labour Party was anti-EEC, believing that it was a capitalist conspiracy that would undermine Britain’s control of its own industry.

That was during the 1960s.  And this:

When it awoke on the morning of 1 January 1973 as a full member of the European Economic Community (EEC), the British public was deeply ambivalent.  In a poll taken 3-7 January 1973, 36 percent of the public reported being ‘quite or very pleased’; 33 percent were ‘quite or very displeased’ and an astonishing 20 percent purported to be ‘indifferent’ (the remaining 11 p cent were undecided, but not indifferent.

By August 1973, 52 per cent were opposed and only 32 per cent still in favor.

Definitely recommended, a book for our times.

1 stephan June 30, 2016 at 2:07 pm

The UK applied to join in 63 and 66 but De Gaulle vetoed it. In 1975 they voted to stay in with 67% in favor. That seems much more favorable than the recent result.

2 Maybe it's just me... June 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm

The best time of my entire day is when I ho back home and see my children peacefully sleeping. Sorry, but it’s how I feel.

3 BC June 30, 2016 at 3:47 pm

As we can easily observe from NAFTA as well as Canada’s recent move to lift visa requirements for Mexicans, a supra-national government and regulatory entity is unnecessary for free trade and more open migration, but such supra-national government can raise enough sovereignty concerns as to cause even pro-trade nations to reject EU membership. Maybe, the real lesson of Brexit is that, if we want free trade and more open migration in Europe, then the EU will have to give up its obsession with the shape of bananas. Unfortunately, many people seem to have it backwards: they say that accepting EU regulation is the “price” of being part of the free trade block when, in reality, the price of free trade may be that the EU needs to give up its regulatory ambitions.

4 John L. June 30, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Yeah, poor Englishmen, adopting the metric system was too much for them.

5 jon livesey July 1, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Nice one. I think that puts it perfectly.

6 M July 2, 2016 at 9:05 am

Though isn’t part of this that the EU aims to be a “single market”, as distinct from a free trade zone, and “Single market without common regulation” is an oxymoron?

The “single market” is sold to multinationals / investors, etc. on the basis that multiple regulatory standards do not apply, and therefore products can be sold across the area without additional legal / production costs to adjust for different regulatory regimes.

Mind, I’m dubious that a single market is more desirable than multiple, free trading distinct markets, without tariffs and I suspect many people in most European nations would be quite comfortable with free trade combined with national regulation coordinated by bilateral national treaties. But I *think* that’s the argument for the bundling of free trade and regulation together into a “single market” as something other than a wholly arbitrary form of economic coercion for political ends.

7 LR June 30, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Will MR be doing a review of its calls on Europe over the past few years and acknowledge that MR has been wrong on them all? [Spain, Greece, UK, Refugees, Turkey, more]

8 Jan June 30, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Now that I think about it…

9 Alex July 1, 2016 at 2:48 am

The nice thing about claims on the future is that they have no expiration date unless explicitly added.

10 LR July 1, 2016 at 4:27 am

Well at least you guys have the food part going for you…that’s pretty good. Is that micro or macro? Micro.

11 rayward June 30, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Business for Britain is a eurosceptic campaign founded in 2013 by 500 business leaders, including 4u co-founder John Caudwell and former Marks & Spencer chairman Stuart Rose. Its Board includes businesspeople such as Neville Baxter, Harriet Bridgeman CBE, Dr Peter Cruddas, Robert Hiscox, Daniel Hodson, John Hoerner, Brian Kingham, Adrian McAlpine, and Jon Moynihan OBE. The campaign’s chief executive is Matthew Elliott, founder and former chief executive of low-tax pressure group, the TaxPayers’ Alliance. In 2015, the campaign’s board unanimously voted to support Leave. Reading about Brexit on this blog gives one the impression that those supporting Leave are losers and lunatics, and from this blog post leftists from an era long ago.

12 Brandon June 30, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Exactly, and let’s not forget the longer history of British relations with the continent either. (Dr Barry Stocker, a political philosopher currently in Istanbul, has a great piece on just that topic, btw.)

13 ricardo June 30, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Dr Stocker: “Britain has certainly made its contribution to the history of liberty, civil and commercial society, but is not obviously more blessed in these respects than the other most advanced European nations.”

I beg to f***ing disagree. Btw.

Sincerely,
Dr Ricardo

14 Rich Berger June 30, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Sounds like the history of Obamacare, only stretched out over a longer period.

15 Richard A. June 30, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Here is documentary by Peter Hitchens about the history of the UK’s relationship with the EU.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0WXFrJWcbA

Margaret Thatcher actively campaigned for the EEC in 75 but started to become eurosceptic in the late 80s.

16 Chris June 30, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Much of the change in opinion to the EU is that the EU itself has changed dramatically from 1973 to 2016. If the EU was the same organization as it was in 1992 or even 1997, the UK likely would not have left (or even held a vote).

We must remember that the current EU is the result of the 2001 Treaty of Nice (rejected by Ireland, but Brussels told the Irish to vote again until it was accepted), the 2004 Treaty establishing an EU constitution (rejected by the French and Danes), and the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon which was a thinly revised version of the rejected 2004 treaty (rejected by the Irish again who Brussels told again to vote again until it was accepted). If Brussels was honest, none of the treaties passed since 2001 should be in effect. If they were, the British would likely be content to remain inside.

Throughout the past decade or two, a popular resentment or disagreement about the way EU integration has been happening has been a noticeable feature throughout Europe. Brexit is simply one example. Looking at something specific to the British ignores the polls that show huge pro-exit opinion (usually a strong plurality, but sometimes approaching a majority) in many countries.

17 dearieme July 1, 2016 at 5:34 am

Dutch referendum against EU constitution
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/jun/02/eu.politics

18 dux.ie June 30, 2016 at 9:40 pm
19 sansfoy July 1, 2016 at 7:07 am

30 bucks for an ebook? No wonder the rank is in the toilet.

20 jon livesey July 1, 2016 at 1:01 pm

At least in Scotland, there is an element of voting differently to the English, no matter what the topic and no matter how we voted last time.

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