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A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair Hardcover – 24 Apr 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (24 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199284555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199284559
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 2.3 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 665,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"[A Stranger in Europe] relates in gory detail the European experience of three prime ministers - Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Mr. Blair."--The Economist

About the Author

Stephen Wall spent his career in the British Diplomatic Service. For over twenty years he specialised in European policy, working for British Foreign Secretaries and Prime Ministers. He was for five years Britain's ambassador to the European Union and later EU adviser to Tony Blair. He helped negotiate all the EU treaties from the Single European Act to the EU Constitution. He continues to write and lecture about the European Union. Married with one son, Stephen Wall lives in London and Northumberland.

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In 1963, General de Gaulle issued his first veto of Britain's application to join the European Community (EC), the Common Market. Read the first page
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Philips on 12 Nov. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent, informative and balanced account of Britain's relationship with the European Union. The author's perspective is clearly pro-European but it is a reasoned and well-argued position. Little Englanders and other eurosceptics will disapprove of much of the content but this is a long overdue riposte to the scaremongering that characterises their portrayal of the EU. I will recommend it to my year three university students.
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9 of 32 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 24 July 2008
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Wall worked in the Foreign Office's European Communities Department from 1983 to 1988, was Private Secretary to successive Foreign Secretaries from 1988 to 1993, Ambassador to Portugal 1993 to 1995, Ambassador to the EU from 1995 to 2000 and Blair's senior adviser on the EU from 2000 to 2004. As he writes, "It is undoubtedly true that the Foreign Office has, since the 1960s, been a pro-European department." Since retiring he has worked for `Britain in Europe'. So we know what to expect from this book.

He writes that John Major saw national sovereignty as a `commodity to be used for national advantage, not some untouchable heirloom to be hoarded at all costs' and that this `has been the policy pursued ever since'. This exposes the bipartisan policy of selling our sovereignty piece by piece.

He admits that Economic and Monetary Union, which he passionately supported, `was a step towards a federal Europe'. Even now, he claims that the EU's disastrous Exchange Rate Mechanism was good for us and he sneers at the `self-righteousness' of those who opposed our joining it.

He notes that Thatcher, Major and Blair all back the EU - truly part of the ruling class consensus. So also is the belief that Thatcher was `an undoubtedly great Prime Minister', as he puts it.

He laments that Britain is a `stranger in Europe' because of `the lack of deep-seated public support in Britain for the European project'. He believes that this is because governments, for some unknown reason, have done too little to explain to the British people the true nature of the European project. Obviously, we are too stupid to understand the sublime intentions of our dear leaders.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Foreign Office treachery 24 July 2008
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Wall worked in the Foreign Office's European Communities Department from 1983 to 1988, was Private Secretary to successive Foreign Secretaries from 1988 to 1993, Ambassador to Portugal 1993 to 1995, Ambassador to the EU from 1995 to 2000 and Blair's senior adviser on the EU from 2000 to 2004. As he writes, "It is undoubtedly true that the Foreign Office has, since the 1960s, been a pro-European department." Since retiring he has worked for `Britain in Europe'. So we know what to expect from this book.

He writes that John Major saw national sovereignty as a `commodity to be used for national advantage, not some untouchable heirloom to be hoarded at all costs' and that this `has been the policy pursued ever since'. This exposes the bipartisan policy of selling our sovereignty piece by piece.

He admits that Economic and Monetary Union, which he passionately supported, `was a step towards a federal Europe'. Even now, he claims that the EU's disastrous Exchange Rate Mechanism was good for us and he sneers at the `self-righteousness' of those who opposed our joining it.

He notes that Thatcher, Major and Blair all back the EU - truly part of the ruling class consensus. So also is the belief that Thatcher was `an undoubtedly great Prime Minister', as he puts it.

He laments that Britain is a `stranger in Europe' because of `the lack of deep-seated public support in Britain for the European project'. He believes that this is because governments, for some unknown reason, have done too little to explain to the British people the true nature of the European project. Obviously, we are too stupid to understand the sublime intentions of our dear leaders.

He describes the Danish people's vote against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 as the `failure' of their referendum. He clearly thinks that it would be folly to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution.

Who needs democracy when we have superb mandarins like Wall to think for us? Who needs sovereignty when the wonderful EU will do everything for us?
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