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Politics and Culture in Victorian BritainEssays in Memory of Colin Matthew$
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Peter Ghosh and Lawrence Goldman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253456

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253456.001.0001

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Colin Matthew: A Memoir

Colin Matthew: A Memoir

(p.28) 3 Colin Matthew: A Memoir
Politics and Culture in Victorian Britain

Ross McKibbin

Oxford University Press

Working on the franchise and on Gladstone had the paradoxical effect of making Collin Matthew more ‘European’. Colin was not a ‘little Englander’ — he was not after all English — but he had a very strong sense of the uniqueness of British institutions, and the unique value of these institutions. He had voted in favour of leaving the Common Market in the 1975 referendum. ‘Franchise Factor’ is explicitly comparative simply to emphasize just how undemocratic the British franchise was in comparison with most other ‘comparable’ countries — including France and Germany. This suggested a less attractive aspect of the uniqueness of British institutions. Furthermore, Colin himself demonstrated, as no previous historian had done, how intellectually and ideologically embedded in European culture Gladstone was. Colin was also required to teach late nineteenth- and twentieth-century European history for the Oxford history syllabus and this again suggested to him how far Britain was in fact a European state.

Keywords:   Gladstone, Colin Matthew, Franchise Factor, British institutions, European culture

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