The ‘Question of Europe’ in British Intellectual Debates, 1961–2008*
Georgios Varouxakis starts the clock at Britain's first flirtation with EEC membership in 1961, outlining some reflections on the role that perceptions of British history have played in shaping the peculiarities of attitudes towards Europe and Britain's relation to it in the twentieth century. He then goes on to analyse the nature and major characteristics of British intellectuals' debates on the EEC up to the time of the referendum that confirmed Britain's continued membership in 1975, including the virulent Euroscepticism of the “old‐guard New Left”. The rest of the chapter then focuses on contemporary intellectual debates on Europe, analysing the specific contributions of individual thinkers such as Tom Nairn and Perry Anderson and discussing the impact of postcolonialism and the Transatlantic relationship on attitudes to Europe. The picture that emerges as far as “intellectuals” are concerned is more complex than the traditional binary distinction between “pro‐Europe” and “Eurosceptic”.
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