Friday, 9 December 2011

Little Englanders and Europe

I've been in Germany most of this week which provided an interesting perspective on the anti-Europeanism  of the Tory party and the Little Englander tabloid press.  There may be such attitudes on the far right on the continent but not in the political mainstream or even the popular press. The exceptionalism of Little Englanderism can be explained by history and geography. 

Britain as an island is by definition cut off from the rest of Europe where people are used to moving across national borders without a passport.  There's also the fact that European wars and revolutions have seen areas occupied and borders change dozens of times over the last couple of hundred years.  The Rhineland where I was for example has in that time been controlled by Napoleonic France, Prussia, France again, Weimar and Nazi Germany and since World War II has had thousands of British troops stationed there.

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