August 28, 2012
“We have stood alone in what is called isolation – our splendid isolation, as one of our colonial friends was good enough to call it.”
-1896, Lord Goschen, First Lord of the Admiralty
-UK and Europe-
It’s been a bad year for Britain’s relationship with Europe. Vetoes, rebellion and power squabbles. Back in 1946, things were much rosier with Winston Churchill trumpeting “Let Europe arise!” Churchill never intended that ‘Europe’ would include Britain; it had its own Empire club to keep it happy. Nevertheless, the British Empire soon began to wane and some 15 years later Britain applied to join the blossoming European party. Never failing to disappoint, France vetoed British membership in 1963 and 1967. By 1972 its place was secured in the European project and in 1975 a referendum was presented to the British public. They chose to stay in.
Since then there have been trials and tribulations, followed by tears and more tears. Britain’s overall position to the EU and its European neighbours sits on a range from “don’t care” to “damned frogs” to “words best not repeated”. Pages, books, volumes have been written proposing theories about the UK’s distinct historical and contemporary relationship with the Continent and the Union. Today, more than ever before, the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe is volatile and uncertain.
About the blog
This blog will try to offer as far as possible a balanced (note I will try and be balanced!) and creative discussion on key European questions that concern Britain. Each post will try and marry together two recent EU events, comparing and contrasting their relative effect on the UK. I insist on comparison because it is futile to try and understand events in isolation. With each comparison, I will try and adopt a creative approach; parable, analogy, satire or metaphor (and very rarely, simply compare and contrast). I hope that this will:
a. Make the blog more readable and enjoyable
b. Offer alternative insights based as a result of an alternative lens
By now you are perhaps wondering what brings me to be so interested in Europe and by what credentials I can justify my opinion. Well, I don’t have many credentials just yet, so you might have to just overlook those.
On a serious note – I am a student of European Affairs at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (alternatively Sciences Po). A British national by origin but born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland. Which means that I come from two nations boasting tepid to frigid views of European integration. I am hoping this will add a distinct flavour to my musings. In a previous chapter I studied English Language & Literature at Oxford University, hence my penchant for story-telling, satire and metaphor. I currently intern at the Business & Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD in Paris, which gives me a good “outsider” perspective on Planet Brussels.
Author : Kimberley Botwright