Brexit book Review

EU Reporter  14 April 2015

Review: ‘Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe’

By James Drew

Truth be told, I am not normally the biggest fan of political studies – they are frequently as fleeting as the ‘crisis’ or phenomenon of the day that they claim to be covering and, even more frequently are so loaded in favour of the author’s bias, one way or the other, that they often emerge as little more than rants, no matter how well written.

But not so, definitively not so, with Denis MacShane’s treatise on the state of play with the UK’s ‘in or out?’ concerning its membership of the European Union. I didn’t get around to asking MacShane, when I last saw him at the Press Club Brussels launch of his book whether, like myself, he is getting so jacked off with the UK’s attitude to the EU that, in fact, he didn’t consider that we could all do with the country p***ing off. One senses, in fact, since Thatcher’s famous Bruges speech, that the continent’s other leaders may well have felt and feel the same way – but would that make a UK departure the right thing to do?

Well, this writer definitely thinks not and that would also appear to be MacShane’s perspective but, unfortunately, based on the former Europe minister’s witty, engrossing and enlightening text, the UK may well soon be bidding the EU adieu.

It was obviously impossible for MacShane to completely keep his own political leanings out of his arguments, but the book, despite his Labour membership, does not emerge as a damning indictment of the Conservatives, past or present.

Rather, MacShane takes great care to point out the Torys’ former allegiances to the European project, and the fact that Labour, from Wilson onwards during the 70s and early 80s were far more ‘No, no, no!’ than their Tory counterparts of the time but, following Margaret Thatcher’s deteriorating attitude towards the EU, a rift was established in the Conservative between pro- and anti-EU that remains to this day, and may well bring further downfalls for the party, from the 2015 general election and beyond.

I read the book in two straight nights, so riveting and entertaining a read it was. If anything, one wishes almost that MacShane had been able to devote more time and research to a longer text. The EU problem for the UK is going to go on, and on, and on – arm yourself with Denis MacShane’s book, and you’ll be ahead of the game.

Brexit: How Britain Will Leave The EU by Denis MacShane

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