Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, VI. From the 1832 Reform Act to World War One

In this post, a look at comparative growth of democracy in Europe along with Britain’s role in World War One and subsequent European diplomacy. Britain made some progress towards extending voting rights beyond a very tiny minority in the Reform Act of 1832, which was also a law to make constituency distribution relate to the … Continue reading Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, VI. From the 1832 Reform Act to World War One

Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, V: Britain and European Models

The last post looked at how Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws, the biggest classic of Enlightenment political thought, certainly in size and probably in importance, does not offer Britain as the model of liberty for Europe. Rounding off that argument, Germany produced its own important liberty oriented thought at the end of the eighteenth century in … Continue reading Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, V: Britain and European Models

Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, III: British Superiority?

Continuing from my last post, before getting on to the pre-Waterloo history of Britain, some remarks on Britain as an exceptional and model state from the Hanoverian period (rule of the German Hanoverian dynasty who continued to be sovereign princes in Germany, 1714-1837) onwards. Isolating any one period as the one in which modern Britain … Continue reading Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, III: British Superiority?

Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, II: After Waterloo

The sovereigntist mythology of British history is in any case caught in a rather awkward place in claiming both a unique British role in resisting pan-European tyranny and a separation between Britain and mainland Europe. It is hard to see how both claims  can be completely true. The sovereigntist attempt to finesse this awkwardness is … Continue reading Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, II: After Waterloo

Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, I: Waterloo

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is now in the run up to a referendum on ‘renegotiated’ membership of the European Union which will supposedly return some sovereignty to UK political institutions. The date of the referendum and the details of the ‘renegotiation’, which in all likelihood will consist of changes of … Continue reading Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, I: Waterloo