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Posted July 31, 2008
Chris Gifford is Acting Head of Behavioural Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. In this book, he claims that Euroscepticism arose from the loss of the empire and is a form of `post-imperial populism¿. His account examines Britain¿s relationship with the EEC/EC/EU, from the postwar Labour government, to the post-imperial crisis of the 1950s and 1960s, to Thatcher and her sons Major, Blair and Brown. He shows how in the 1980s the British state Thatcherised the EU, especially by imposing the Single Market. Thatcher pretended that the EU was just a market not a state in the making. Now the EU drives globalisation (formerly known as capitalism). Like the IMF and the World Bank, the EU breaks up national control over economies and societies, attacking the working class by liberalising labour markets and wrecking welfare states by privatisation. Gifford notes, ¿The expansion of the economy had been built on deregulation of credit and the financial markets and not on any fundamental restructuring of the industrial base.¿ Unfortunately he wants us to rely on the EU to restructure our industry, claiming that EU integration is `a facet of organised modernity consistent with national modernisation¿. He sees the EU as progressive and the defence of the nation as reactionary. He claims, ¿Euroscepticism has become the dominant and hegemonic position within the British political order.¿ But surely it is common sense to distinguish what politicians say from what they do. The ruling class pretends to be Eurosceptic, to win popular support, while actually embedding us ever deeper in the ever-federalising EU. It wants EU membership, at whatever cost to democracy and sovereignty. The working class, the people, the vast majority, want democracy and sovereignty, at whatever cost to EU membership. Gifford calls the issues of sovereignty and nationhood ¿populist¿ and laments that ¿democratic politics is being displaced by populism.¿ This is an attempt to smear these vital issues as undemocratic. To fit his theory that Euroscepticism `has its roots in imperialism¿, Gifford has to place its rise in the 1950s and 1960s. Surely, if Euroscepticism arose from a fifty-year-old `end of empire¿ crisis, it would be weakening by now as we get further away from its cause. Instead, it is growing - and it is growing because we see the increasing damage that the EU is doing to our economy, our sovereignty and our democracy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.