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New Left Review I/69, September-October 1971

Tom Nairn

British Nationalism and the EEC

‘Whatever is decided, the City of London should remain just as prosperous. Moreover there is nothing in the Werner plan . . . to deter Britain’. The Banker, Spring 1971.

In British politics, agreement is traditionally more important than differences. This is part of what ‘consensus’ implies. The points of agreement have to be normally at a deeper level than those of discord, in order to minimize the latters’ effects. In fact consensus-points are best taken for granted: then, ‘what we have in common’ stays in the background, the bass-note of national unity, an apparently neutral and uncontested framework for argument. There is no superior technique of social conservatism.

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Tom Nairn, ‘British Nationalism and the EEC’, NLR I/69: £3

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