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Euroscepticism in British Literature

August 23, 2013
One of the First Eurosceptic Novels

One of the First Eurosceptic Novels

I’ve written an article for the British Politics Review about a new trend developing in British genre fiction – Euroscepticism. Over the past forty years, politicians have debated endlessly about the pros and cons of the United Kingdom’s membership of the Common Market, latterly the EEC and now the European Union. Given the intensity of this debate, it is surprising that ‘Europe’– the EU as a political entity– has not featured more prominently in British novels. However, a few novelists have approached the issue head-on, Andrew Roberts’ The Aachen Memorandum (1995), Michael Dobbs’ A Sentimental Traitor (2012) and Alan Judd’s Uncommon Enemy (2012), take a distinctly Eurosceptic slant and cover a wide range of genres: political, spy, crime and science fiction. The examples I give are all broadly conservative in their views, but I also argue there are historical grounds for writers on the left to make an impact in this genre. Just as the Great Depression contributed to the birth of hardboiled pulp fiction in the US, the current Eurozone crisis could lead to a literary flowering on this side of the pond. The prospect of an In/Out referendum on Britain’s EU membership is likely to be top of the agenda come the next general election. Consequently, British novelists are becoming much less reticent to explore the matter in their books.

You can read my article and the entire issue online here.

I’d like to thank Mike Ripley and Bob Cornwell for sharing their encyclopedic knowledge of the genre with me, which was very helpful when I was writing the piece.

This is the second time I’ve written for the British Politics Review. It is edited by a great bunch of people, and I’m thrilled to be published alongside such distinguished writers. Here’s the link to a previous article I wrote for the BPR, on Tony Blair and Robert Harris’ The Ghost.

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