El Sehrawey, A. (2014) “Book Review: The Europe Dilemma: Britain and the Drama of EU Integration by Roger Liddle“, LSE EUROPP, 21 July.
What is Britain’s future in Europe? What future should Britain want for the EU? Roger Liddle‘s book provides valuable commentary on a topic that is highly salient in Britain and could radically change the trajectory of the country on multiple levels, writes Amani El Sehrawey.
The Europe Dilemma: Britain and the Drama of EU Integration. Roger Liddle. I.B. Tauris. February 2014.
With Britain poised for an election next year, the ever-present question of Europe and Cameron’s promise of a referendum looms large. In his book, The Europe Dilemma: Britain and the Drama of EU Integration, Roger Liddle delves beyond the rhetoric to explore the origins and history of Britain’s tumultuous relationship with the EU, and proposes solutions for a Britain within Europe.
Having spent 10 years as a political advisor on Europe, predominantly in Tony Blair’s No. 10, Liddle offers a unique blend of historical explanation and personal insight. Unsurprisingly, Liddle focuses most of his attention on the shift of Old Labour to New Labour and the Blair Government. He writes about the political developments of the time in a way that easily educates the uninitiated, while his personal anecdotes and analysis of the policy as it developed will be of interest to academics and policy-makers.
Liddle explores the complexities of the domestic party politics that often dictate European policy. He describes how Blair saw the EU as a fundamentally political project, not just a free trade area, and notably, how he advocated for Britain to adopt the euro (p.71). Liddle describes Blair’s policy towards Europe as mired by complex domestic political relationships, particularly with his Chancellor Gordon Brown, who was competing for leadership of the party and opposed to joining the euro.
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