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By J. Gibbins

This examine styles nationwide id over a couple of very important ancient milestones and brings the debates over Europe up to date with an research of contemporary happenings together with the referendum on Scottish independence, the worldwide monetary trouble and the present concern in Syria.

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Although it can be argued that the role and reputation of political spokespeople also contributes to their ability to disseminate ideas, I am predominantly concerned with how elites have argued about Europe, rather than on who has said what. The European Communities Membership Referendum 43 Predication To begin with, Britain is viewed as a particular kind of subject. In particular, it possesses an essential rather than peripheral role. A considerable degree of agency is imported into Britain to reveal ‘a great nation’ [11], always having ‘played a major role in the world’ [21 – col.

War, empire and religion British national identity has been manifestly affected by the contact Britain has had overseas. It is evident within the Europe debates that other countries have acted as mediums that have instilled both Britain and other states with certain characteristics, attitudes and behaviour. As a consequence, perceptions of both war and Empire have been indelible parts of this process. The role of Empire is almost as murky as its origins. Armitage has noted that the ideological origins of the British Empire are rich but uncertain: twelfth-century crusaders with a thirst for conquest; Norman Britain with its localised power structures giving way to racial, political and cultural dominance and subsequent expansionism; and the emblematic reign of Elizabeth I in which Empire became defined as Protestant, Anglo-British, benign and extra-European (2000, pp.

250] that ‘cannot be held back’ [16 – p. 250]. Entry is seen as an ‘irrevocable decision’ [7 – p. 348] and the Community ‘will not go away if we say “No”’ [17]. Any sense of voluntary disassociation is unworkable and, as a consequence, Britain ‘has to adapt’ [1] to reconcile and harmonise its position within the inescapability of union. Coupled to this theme is a particular concentration on the consequences of withdrawal from the Community. The unprecedented nature of the referendum and the lack of understanding of what life would be like outside of the Community enabled advocates of continued membership to paint a bleak picture of an isolated nation.

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