Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Préparation agrégation anglais civilisation britannique 31

Le Royaume-Uni à l'épreuve de la crise 1970-1979
This is an extract from a UK debate on remaining in the European Economic Community. It took place just before the referendum of 1975. Of course, it takes on a particular resonance given the result of the later referendum of 2016.

The event took place in the Oxford Union, an elite debating society which has existed for well over a century . Apart from the dress and the tone of parts of the debate, which can give an impression of the Oxford Union as a sort of ruling class playground, the debate does bring out a number of arguments in favour and against the EEC.

Speaking in favour of the EEC are Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal Party and Edward Heath, leader of the (Conservative) opposition. Speaking against the EEC are two "rebel" Labour ministers, Peter Shore and Barbara Castle, who oppose Britain's membership of the Common Market despite the fact that their Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, is in favour. 

A number of arguments for and against membership are explored in this video. Absent are Left arguments about neoliberalism: many trade unionists and Labour party supporters were opposed to the EEC because they felt it would always favour liberalism, and make public ownership more difficult to implement.

The video of the debate is here 

It can of course be converted to an MP3 file by some online software tool, so as to allow you to listen to it while trainspotting.

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