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Q: Britsih attitudes to the European Union ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Britsih attitudes to the European Union
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: venn-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 13 Aug 2002 08:30 PDT
Expires: 12 Sep 2002 08:30 PDT
Question ID: 54052
I am looking for information/analysis of British attitudes to the EU. 
I am interested in any sort of information, but particularly:
journalism and political commentary on both teh general public's
attitudes and parliament's views, information on how Britsh attitudes
are rgarded in other Member States, information on how the British
press covers EU issues (particularly tabloids), historical

I know this is very general.  Thank you in advance for anything you
find x
Subject: Re: Britsih attitudes to the European Union
Answered By: bethc-ga on 13 Aug 2002 11:50 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi venn-ga,

In beginning to research your question, I first came across the
following disturbing poll result:

“Millions of Britons are unaware that Britain is a member of the
European Union, and one in 15 of the population believe that America
is an EU member state, according to a largest government commissioned
survey on British attitudes to Europe.”

Poll Highlights Britons’ Ignorance Over Europe 
Patrick Wintour
Thursday December 6, 2001
The Guardian,9061,614211,00.html

In June 2000, MORI (Market & Opinion Research International, the
largest independently-owned market research company in the United
Kingdom, published the results of an opinion poll conducted by
telephone interview with 1,002 British adults aged 18 and over. The
poll was conducted on behalf of “News of the World”. It contains 36
questions relating to British attitudes toward Europe and changing to
the euro economy.

You may view the complete poll results here:
Attitudes Toward Europe

Another MORI poll shows that, “the British are far from convinced that
UK membership has been a good thing. Yet, there is no consensus either
that being part of the Union has been bad for the country.” It
compares the British view with that of other European countries.

This piece is based on an article prepared for the Foreign Policy
Centre's "Winning the Euro Referendum: a guide to public opinion and
the issues that affect it", published on 3 September 2001.

The entire poll can be viewed here:

An article summarizing the MORI polls, with additional commentary
appeared in Global Britain Publications entitled, “Attitudes to the EU
and America”. It purports that the British attitudes towards the issue
of converting to the euro as currency can be used to gauge their
attitudes to the EU as a whole, and tracks results of the same poll
questions asked over a period of years. It concludes with the
following interesting summary:

“It seems fair to conclude from the above that a strategy consisting
of Britain leaving the EU and linking up with NAFTA would find wide
support amongst the British public; so would just leaving the EU.”

Attitudes to the EU and America

On Thursday 22 November 2001, the Independent Newspaper published an
article by Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary entitled “Rethinking Our
Attitudes to Sovereignity”. The following is an excerpt:

“But quite apart from the many practical benefits which we derive from
our membership of the EU, there is a wider point to be made here. The
events of 11 September brought home to us all, in the most brutal way
possible, that isolationism does not and cannot work. We cannot afford
to ignore events anywhere in the world.”

Further, he goes on to say:

“Does anyone really imagine that, in the past few crucial weeks,
Britain's influence in Washington would have been anything like as
strong if we were not also a strong voice in the EU? Of course not. In
the modern world, our strength as an independent nation derives from
the strength of the alliances and partnerships we make with others.
Indeed, this is a lesson which we learned long before we joined the
European Union.

“For more than 50 years, we have been a full and enthusiastic member
of other treaty-based organisations such as NATO, which pools
responsibility over our national defence - an area which goes right to
the heart of our national sovereignty. We pool sovereignty in the
United Nations, where Security Council resolutions have the force of
international law.

“Pooling our sovereignty in the EU is still more important, as it
strengthens our ability to meet so many other shared challenges which
have a real and daily impact on our national life. Being part of the
EU does not mean that 14 other countries automatically fall into line
behind the British view. Of course we have to negotiate, and sometimes
we have to compromise. But there can be no doubt that in one area
after another - trade and jobs, financial services, a cleaner
environment - the EU gives us much greater strength to look after the
interests of the British people.”

The entire text of the article can be found here:

I came across an interesting article examining what makes up the
British national identity withinin the European Union. Comparison is
made between the British, who would have trouble verbalizing what it
means to be British; and the French, who would speak of cultural,
intellectual and culinary heritage. Here is an excerpt:

“The English are in the midst of an identity crisis. The Empire is
gone, the Celtic nations have asserted their cultural and political
individuality, and we are apparently being rapidly subsumed into an
all-encompassing, monster of a European superstate who's only purpose
seems to be - according to the Daily Mail and the Sun - to destroy all
that it means to be British.

“Although it is "Britishness" which is perceived to be under attack,
the concern comes mainly from the English. Most Celts have a strong
sense of identity and see taking as strong a role as possible in the
EU as the best way of gaining global influence. Yet it is the opinion
of the English as a people which, due to their demographic dominance
of the UK, determines how far the British government can move forward
on Europe.

“The future of the EU and Britain's role within it is a frequent
source of bitter debate. Many think that we should have no place in
"Europe" and there are those who really believe that the French and
Germans want to take over the UK by stealth. There are two major
factors in the emergence of Europhobia: ignorance, re-enforced by the
anti-European lies and mis-representations churned out by the
right-wing, "patriotic" (and mostly foreign-owned) press; and
insecurity - insecurity in what it means to be English.”

Counterculture: God’s Own Country and the Superstate by Stuart Read

A final article uses the incident of a British shopkeeper being
arrested for selling his produce in pounds and ounces, instead of the
new metric standard, is used by a tabloid as a jumping-off point to
present their views of what is wrong with the EU.

“It was the first time that a court in Britain, which began
introducing pounds, ounces, miles, yards and feet nearly 800 years
ago, had brought such a criminal case against an individual shop
keeper. Thoburn, known as the "metric martyr" because he insisted on
giving what he said all his customers wanted -- fruit and vegetables
sold in "old fashioned" imperial units -- is being raised as a human
rallying point by opposition Conservatives and the U.K. Independence
Party, which condemn what they call the elimination of national
sovereignty. The opposition view was perhaps most strongly stated
Tuesday in a two-page headline in the Daily Mail tabloid, which
declared: "The day selling a pound of bananas became a crime like
burglary or rape."”

Peter Almond 
United Press International
April 2001

I have tried to tackle a very broad subject and a very complex issue,
and give you a sampling of views from opinion polls of the British
people, newspaper and tabloid columnists and politicians. Should you
require clarification of any of the above, please do not hesitate to



Search criteria:
British attitudes EU or "European Union" tabloid OR newspaper
"European Union" OR EU "british attitude" OR "british attitudes"
"European Union" OR EU "british attitude" OR "british attitudes" poll
OR "opinion poll" OR "public opinion"

Clarification of Answer by bethc-ga on 14 Aug 2002 03:40 PDT
I am pleased to know that my answer was helpful to you venn-ga. Thank
you for the feedback and for the very nice rating.

venn-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you!  I am extremely pleased with this answer- the research was
very thorough, and dealt well with the issues I outlined in my (rather
vague) question.  The links are very useful and exactly the sort of
thing I was looking for.  Wonderful!

There are no comments at this time.

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