Reluctant European: Britain and the European Union from 1945 to Brexit (Hardback)
  • Reluctant European: Britain and the European Union from 1945 to Brexit (Hardback)
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Reluctant European: Britain and the European Union from 1945 to Brexit (Hardback)

(author)
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Hardback 352 Pages / Published: 24/09/2020
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In 2016, the voters of the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union. The majority for 'Leave' was small. Yet, in more than 40 years of EU membership, the British had never been wholeheartedly content. In the 1950s, governments preferred the Commonwealth to the Common Market. In the 1960s, successive Conservative and Labour administrations applied to join the European Community because it was a surprising success, whilst the UK's post-war policies had failed. But the British were turned down by the French. When the UK did join, more than 10 years after first asking, it joined a club whose rules had been made by others and which it did not much like. At one time or another, Labour and Conservative were at war with each other and internally. In 1975, the Labour government held a referendum on whether the UK should stay in. Two thirds of voters decided to do so. But the wounds did not heal. Europe remained 'them', 'not 'us'. The UK was on the front foot in proposing reform and modernisation and on the back foot as other EU members wanted to advance to 'ever closer union'. As a British diplomat from 1968, Stephen Wall observed and participated in these unfolding events and negotiations. He worked for many of the British politicians who wrestled to reconcile the UK's national interest in making a success of our membership with the sceptical, even hostile, strands of opinion in parliament, the press and public opinion. This book tells the story of a relationship rooted in a thousand years of British history, and of our sense of national identity in conflict with our political and economic need for partnership with continental Europe.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198840671
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 652 g
Dimensions: 244 x 161 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Wall tells this sad tale with authority, expertise and a gift for lucid explanations of complex issues and convoluted negotiations. * Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer *
A deft and witty account of Britains relationship with the EU * Robert Saunders, Prospect *
Sir Stephen Wall, a retired diplomat, gives a [...] more detailed and more personal account, based on his many years of service in the Foreign Office, as a participant in the negotiation of no fewer than five European treaties, and as former UK Permanent Representative to the EU. * Richard J. Evans, Times Literary Supplement *
Reluctant European is a fine overview of Britain in Europe over the last 50 years. * Paul Donnelley, The Express *
This book is intended mainly as a dispassionate account of Britains European policy over the last 75 years: an aim it more than meets. But it also offers hints on how to survive official life. One method is to enjoy the comic side of things. * Andrew Gimson, Conservative Home *
Stephen Wall was at the heart of UK relations with Europe for many years. He writes with authority, and his tale is told as the drama it was. * The Right Honourable Sir John Major KG CH, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1990-1997 *
A witty, penetrating account of the United Kingdom's troubled relationship with the European project since 1945, written with an insider's knowledge and a historian's authority. * Gill Bennett, Former Chief Historian, Foreign & Commonwealth Office *
Much ink has been spilled examining what happened in the UK's referendum in 2016. Finally, Stephen Wall, drawing on extensive diplomatic experience as well as years spent in the archives, has put Brexit into longer term perspective, tracing the UK's fraught relationship with European integration from inception to the current day. A must read. * Anand Menon, Director of The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King's College, London *

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