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Yes to Europe!
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Book description

On 5 June 1975, voters went to the polls in Britain's first national referendum to decide whether the UK should remain in the European Community. As in 2016, the campaign shattered old political allegiances and triggered a far-reaching debate on Britain's place in the world. The campaign to stay in stretched from the Conservative Party - under its new leader, Margaret Thatcher - to the Labour government, the farming unions and the Confederation of British Industry. Those fighting to 'Get Britain Out' ranged from Enoch Powell and Tony Benn to Scottish and Welsh nationalists. Footballers, actors and celebrities joined the campaign trail, as did clergymen, students, women's groups and paramilitaries. In a panoramic survey of 1970s Britain, this volume offers the first modern history of the referendum, asking why voters said 'Yes to Europe' and why the result did not, as some hoped, bring the European debate in Britain to a close.

Reviews

'A jaw-dislocating page-turner. If you care about contemporary politics, you really need to read it …'

Andrew Marr Source: New Statesman

'A captivating read, meticulously researched and exquisitely written … Saunders has a wry and gently amused prose style, with unhurried and uncontrived allusions and a fine eye for detail. His narrative carries you along as if you were reading a novel.'

Daniel Hannan Source: The Spectator

'Saunders writes with swagger … he demolishes many of the myths about Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe on which Brexiters and Remainers have long depended. … [A]s a study of a rare and seminal event, this book bursts with valuable details.'

Andy Beckett Source: The Guardian

'Saunders makes you feel you were in the room … And when you read how that first battle over whether we should stay in Europe was fought, it becomes a little easier to fathom what went wrong or right in 2016, and why.'

Nick Comfort Source: Daily Telegraph

'Saunders's new book provides us with a perfect opportunity to reflect on the long, turbulent story of Europe in British politics.'

Alex Dean Source: Prospect

‘Beautifully written, and provides a thoroughly reliable and stimulating account of one of the most important events in Britain's post-war history.'

Vernon Bogdanor Source: Times Higher Education

'There is not only much to learn from Saunders's book about a fascinating historical episode: it also illuminates the issues we face today.'

Michael Mosbacher Source: Standpoint

'This is a timely book that will be read with great interest by commentators on recent events in Britain. It is also a hugely impressive work of scholarship that uses a single event to reconstruct a social and cultural world that now seems curiously distant. Most of all, it is a pleasure to read – clearly argued, full of vivid detail and illuminated by flashes of surreal wit.'

Richard Vinen - author of Thatcher's Britain

'I was actively involved in the 1975 referendum – on the losing side – and can attest that Dr Saunders' book thoroughly, brilliantly and objectively captures the context and the atmosphere of the 1975 campaign.'

Neil Kinnock - former leader of the Labour party

'This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Britain's confused relationship with Europe, and how we got where we are today. It's also pleasurable reading: a beautifully written history, full of warmth and wisdom.'

Alwyn W. Turner - author of Crisis? What Crisis? Britain in the 1970s

'This is history at its best: an insightful, exhaustively researched and immensely readable book that captures the period as well as the vote.'

Alwyn Turner Source: BBC History Magazine

'This is a fascinating account of the 1975 referendum when Britain voted in favor of joining the (then) European Community. It is a timely book, appearing just as Britain is negotiating its exit from a crisis-ridden European Union. The relationship between Britain and Europe has always been a matter of intrigue, and Saunders grasps this relationship well. The book includes rigorous detail with political analysis that, for once, has not forgotten that Britain includes more than England and that issues in 1975 remain as relevant today. In fact, an analysis of the 1975 referendum shows how the tables turned within a generation. In 1975, the Conservative Party fervently supported Britain's joining the EC; by 2016, the party was profoundly divided over the issue. Summing Up: Recommended.'

M. Clua Losada Source: Choice

'Robert Saunders’ thoroughly-researched and stylishly-written study … could not be timelier. … It is a riveting read full of eccentric characters and colourful anecdotes …'

Mathias Haeussler Source: Reviews in History

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Contents

  • Introduction: ‘A Fanfare for Europe’
    pp 1-26
  • 6 - ‘Women and Children First!’
    pp 183-209
  • Bodleian Library, Oxford University

    • Conservative Party Archive

    • Papers of:

      • Castle, Barbara

      • Jenkins, Roy

      • Marten, Neil

      • Wilson, Harold

  • British Archives Online (www.britishonlinearchives.co.uk/)

    • Parliamentary Labour Party Papers

  • Cardiff University

    • Plaid Cymru Archive (microfilm)

  • Church of England Record Centre, London

    • Papers of:

      • Board of Social Responsibility

      • General Synod

  • Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University

    • Papers of:

      • Powell, J. Enoch

      • Thatcher, Margaret

  • Labour History Archive and Study Centre (LHASC), People's History Museum, Manchester

    • Papers of:

      • Beever, Colin

      • Foot, Michael

      • Hart, Judith

      • Heffer, Eric

  • London School of Economics

    • Papers of:

      • Campaign for an Independent Britain

      • Shore, Peter

  • Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick

    • Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staff

    • Confederation of British Industry

    • Trades Union Congress

    • Transport and General Workers’ Union

  • Museum of London

    • J. Sainsbury Archive

  • The National Archives, Kew

    • CAB 128 (Cabinet Conclusions)

  • National Library of Scotland

    • Scottish National Party Archive

  • Northern Ireland Political Literature: Periodicals, 1966–1989 (Belfast: Linen Hall, 1993)

  • Parliamentary Archive, London

    • Britain in Europe (BIE)

    • National Referendum Campaign (NRC)

  • The Women's Library, London School of Economics

    • Women's Europe Committee Papers

  • An Phoblacht/Republican News

  • ASTMS Journal

  • Belfast Newsletter

  • Birmingham Post

  • Bristol Evening Post

  • British Farmer and Stockbreeder

  • British Ulsterman

  • Catholic Herald

  • Church of England Newspaper

  • Church Times

  • Combat: The Voice of the Ulster Volunteer Force

  • Comment

  • Coventry Evening Telegraph

  • Daily Express

  • Daily Mail

  • Daily Mirror

  • Daily Telegraph

  • Director

  • The Economist

  • Encounter

  • Evening Standard [London]

  • Federalist

  • Financial Times

  • Glasgow Herald

  • GMW Herald

  • Guardian

  • Home and County: Journal of the National Federation of Women's Institutes

  • Housewives Today

  • India Weekly

  • Irish Catholic

  • Jewish Chronicle

  • JS Journal [Sainsbury's]

  • Labour Monthly: A Magazine of Left Unity

  • Labour Newssheet

  • Labour Weekly

  • Land Worker

  • Liverpool Daily Post

  • Loyalist News

  • Manchester Evening News

  • Methodist Recorder

  • Miner

  • Morning Star

  • New Europe

  • New Scientist

  • New Statesman

  • Observer

  • On Target

  • Orange Cross

  • Protestant Telegraph

  • Red Rag

  • Resistance News

  • Scots Independent

  • Scotsman

  • Scottish Daily Express

  • Scottish Daily Mail

  • Scottish Daily News

  • Shrew

  • South Wales Argus

  • South Wales Echo

  • Spare Rib

  • Spectator

  • Starry Plough

  • St Michael News [M&S]

  • Sun

  • Sunday Express (Scotland)

  • Sunday Mail

  • Sunday Telegraph

  • Sunday Times

  • Tablet

  • TGWU Record

  • The Times

  • Townswoman

  • Tribune

  • Ulsterman

  • Ulster Workers’ Council Journal

  • Unfree Citizen: The Newspaper of People's Democracy

  • Welsh Nation

  • Western Mail

  • West Indian World

  • Which?

  • Woman's Own

  • Workers’ Voice

  • Workers’ Weekly

  • Yorkshire Post

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