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Between Europe and America: The Future of British Politics Paperback – 20 Aug 2003

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'Like a soaring distress flare, Andrew Gamble's new book throws sudden and merciless light on the shipwreck of British policies. The English imperial state, drifting rudderless since the humiliations of the Iraq crisis, is about to hit the reef which it has tried to avoid for so long: the choice between European identity and the American special relationship. Gamble reveals what may happen to the passengers - and what illusions and misreadings of the chart over so many years deceived the crew.' - Neal Ascheson

'Scholarly, readable, well-reasoned and full of insights, Between Europe and America captures the defining question about British politics in the
early 21st century. Building on his earlier writings about the British state, Andrew Gamble is superbly equipped to probe both the domestic and the geo-political implications of the choice that has to be made.' - Hugo Young

[A] brilliant analysis of the long historical roots of Britain's ambiguous attitude to the EU.' - John Rentoul, The Independent

'[A] readable and critical synthesis linking together not only domestic and international developments but also past and present as a foundation for articulating future possibilities....a recommended read for staff and students seeking a broad view of contemporary British politics and history.' - Peter J. Beck, Political Studies Review

About the Author

ANDREW GAMBLE is Professor of Politics and Director of the Political Economy Research Centre, University of Sheffield. He is joint editor of New Political Economy and Political Quarterly and his many books include Britain in Decline, The Free Economy and the Strong State and Hayek: The Iron Cage of Liberty.

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Gamble's title suggests a discussion about the choices Britain has to make about allying itself principally with the EU or the USA. I have read three of his books recently and mostly in this he follows his usual style of hardly ever saying what he thinks, preferring to lay out all the arguments. Just occasionally he'll drop a hint. However right at the end he makes it clear here that he can't see a future outside the euro-zone, the only question being whether we continue to bother with the Anglo-American alliance.

This book was published in 2003 and like many people Gamble may have been appalled at Blair's cosying up to Dubya and the Iraq war. Nevertheless Gamble is too well-educated and thoughtful to have based his views just on that. He seems to rebel against the `myth' of `this sceptred isle', saying that British history has been rewritten over the years to celebrate our nationhood before it ever existed, denying any pre-Tudor nationalism of any significance. Perhaps it was all a Shakespearean plot.

Gamble seems to say that having lost our empire, and now having lost our cosy `You've never had it so good' corporatist state, we now have to choose between the US megabandit or the cloying economic supernanny of the EU. No wonder, it seems to me, that we don't want either.

There is also much discussion about devolution, saying Blair's constitutional reforms will eventually seem more significant than Thatcher's wrecking of a hundred years of inter-party consensus about a corporatist welfare-based state. I don't think he makes a very good case for this, but he seems to foresee the development of the United Kingdom into a kind of federation or even group of nation-states.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Haigh on 27 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Gamble is a particularly good author in that he is extremely readable. Complicated theories are carefuly unpacked and easily understood. He has a distinct slant on Britains relationship with America, and how this permeates domestic and foreign policy outcomes. I used this book for inspiration on the assessment of Britains reluctance to join the EU. His flair in writing teases out alternative ways of thinking, an absolute must for a higher academic student.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Did Willy Know a Hawk from a Handsaw? 14 Mar. 2011
By conjunction - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gamble's title suggests a discussion about the choices Britain has to make about allying itself principally with the EU or the USA. I have read three of his books recently and mostly in this he follows his usual style of hardly ever saying what he thinks, preferring to lay out all the arguments. Just occasionally he'll drop a hint. However right at the end he makes it clear here that he can't see a future outside the euro-zone, the only question being whether we continue to bother with the Anglo-American alliance.

This book was published in 2003 and like many people Gamble may have been appalled at Blair's cosying up to Dubya and the Iraq war. Nevertheless Gamble is too well-educated and thoughtful to have based his views just on that. He seems to rebel against the `myth' of `this sceptred isle', saying that British history has been rewritten over the years to celebrate our nationhood before it ever existed, denying any pre-Tudor nationalism of any significance. Perhaps it was all a Shakespearean plot.

Gamble seems to say that having lost our empire, and now having lost our cosy `You've never had it so good' corporatist state, we now have to choose between the US megabandit or the cloying economic supernanny of the EU. No wonder, it seems to me, that we don't want either.

There is also much discussion about devolution, saying Blair's constitutional reforms will eventually seem more significant than Thatcher's wrecking of a hundred years of inter-party consensus about a corporatist welfare-based state. I don't think he makes a very good case for this, but he seems to foresee the development of the United Kingdom into a kind of federation or even group of nation-states.

Personally, as his later book `Spectres at the Feast' perhaps implicitly acknowledges, I would have thought the recent financial crisis, a direct result of Thatcher's deregulation, makes that seem pretty significant.

What Gamble does do very well, as always, is carefully reflect on centuries of history of this country, and also the traditions of our political parties, to see what the important threads are that have influenced choices at different times.

This book would be hard to read without a sound knowledge of British history because he only refers to events, he doesn't explain them.

A final query: he refers to the twentieth century as the Conservative century, to the nineteenth as the Liberal century. That I don't get. Four of the five or six great prime ministers of that century were Tory - Pitt, Peel, Disraeli and Salisbury. Most of the important reforming legislation was passed by Tories, even if the agitation was done by the Liberals (they were never together enough to do legislation. How many Liberals does it take to pass an Act?).

A great book, but I don't buy the thesis. In my opinion we're better out of any cast iron allegiances, and if our medieval nationalism was a myth I'm sure Willy the Shake had his reasons.
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