Britain and European Integration since 1945: On the Sidelines

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Taylor & Francis, Oct 30, 2009 - Political Science - 312 pages
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This book provides both a comprehensive introduction and a perceptive examination of Britain’s relations with the European Community and the European Union since 1945, combining an historical account with political analysis to illustrate the changing and multifaceted nature of British and European politics.

Few issues in British politics since 1945 have generated such heated controversy as Britain’s approach to the process of European integration associated with the European Union. The long-running debate on the subject has not only played a major part in the downfall of prime ministers and other leading political figures but has also exposed major fault-lines within governments and caused deep and rancorous divisions within and between the major political parties. This highly contested issue has given rise to bitter campaigning in the press and between pressure groups, and it has bemused, confused and divided the public at large.

Key questions addressed include:

  • Why has Europe had such an explosive impact on British politics?
  • What impelled British policymakers to join the European Community and to undertake one of the radical, if not the most radical, changes in modern British history?
  • What have been the perceived advantages and disadvantages of British membership of the European Union?
  • Why has British membership of the European Union rarely attracted a national consensus?

Engaging with both academic and public debates about Britain and the European Union, this volume is essential reading for all students of British history, British politics, and European politics.

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About the author (2009)

David Gowland was the founder and first director of the School of Contemporary European Studies at the University of Dundee where he was also head of the History Department. He has written extensively about the history of European integration and especially about Britain and the European Union.

Arthur Turner was a lecturer at the University of Dundee from 1968-2005. He has written a number of books and articles on different aspects of British foreign policy and international relations in the twentieth century.

Alex Wright Lectures on EU, UK and Scottish politics at the University of Dundee where he has written extensively on devolution and the EU. He was a member of the Scottish Consumer Council and acted as an Assessor for the Commissioner for Public Appointments Scotland.

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