America has a unique 300 year old view of free trade – UK must recognise this to strike a deal

Let battle commence. Novikov Aleksey

Emma Hart
University of St Andrews

With Boris Johnson hailing parliament’s vote towards Britain leaving the EU on January 31, there is a general consensus among the country’s leaders that there will be an intimate trading relationship with the US after Brexit. But whenever the question of a deal comes up in the media, there is usually much talk of stumbling blocks.

There is the war of words between UK chancellor Sajid Javid and US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin over a digital tax on American companies in the UK, for instance. Or fears that the NHS will be sold off to US healthcare giants.

Much is also written about the difficulty the UK faces in steering a course between its EU neighbours and the overwhelming political might of Washington. For example, will the UK have to abandon the Iran nuclear deal to win free-trade concessions from America?

In light of the “special relationship”, you might wonder how these trade negotiations can be so testy before they are even underway. As my recent book suggests, the conflict may well lie in the historic trading relationship between the two countries. Much as Britain and America are “two nations divided by a common language”, they are also divided by their understanding of trade. To comprehend this, you have to go back to the American Revolution and beyond. Continue reading “America has a unique 300 year old view of free trade – UK must recognise this to strike a deal”

Colonialism: A Shared EUropean History and Legacy – A Lecture by Prof. Elizabeth Buettner

You are warmly invited to attend the fourth annual lecture of the Centre for Imperial and Global History, which will be delivered by Prof. Elizabeth Buettner of the University of Amsterdam. Her lecture will be entitled ‘Colonialism: A Shared EUropean History and Legacy’.

When/where: It will take place on Thursday 16 May at 5pm in the Queen’s Building, Margaret Rooms 2 & 3.

Attendance is free but please do register on Eventbrite.

Prof. Buettner’s research centres on British imperial, social, and cultural history since the late nineteenth century along with other European nations’ histories of late colonialism, decolonisation and their domestic ramifications. In the coming years she looks forward to expanding upon previous research on postcolonial South Asian migration and cultures in diaspora, placing South Asians in Britain within wider transnational contexts. Prof. Buettner received her BA from Barnard College of Columbia University and her MA and PhD from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She has taught in England at the University of York since 2000 and in 2012-2013 held a senior research fellowship at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany in conjunction with a British Academy mid-career fellowship. Buettner’s publications include Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India (Oxford University Press, 2004) together with articles in the Journal of Modern History, History & Memory, Scottish Historical Review, Annales de Démographie Historique, Ab Imperio, Food and History, and a number of edited collections.

ABSTRACT

Brexit-era Britain saw discussions of Europe and Britain’s imperial past explode in political and public culture, with some leading figures in the ‘leave’ campaign notoriously going so far as to look forward to an ‘Empire 2.0’ of enhanced global engagements once Britain became freed from continental shackles. Yet imperial histories, heritage, and legacies are anything but a uniquely British ‘island story’. This talk builds upon selected themes addressed in my book Europe after Empire: Decolonization, Society, and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2016), where I considered Britain as well as French, Belgian, Dutch, and Portuguese histories of coming to terms with the end of empire at home with a special emphasis on migration, multicultural societies, and memories of empire in postcolonial Western Europe. It connects topics that have received most attention among scholars who focus on Western European national cases with a newer but growing body of work that positions colonialism and empire as decisive aspects of European history across the continent, extending to Nordic countries as well as Central and Eastern Europe. Making the ‘imperial turn’ not only characteristic of specific nations but rather a shared European history entails taking a ‘continental turn’, one that allows fresh approaches to Europe’s overseas and continental empires past and illuminates the still understudied colonial history and heritage of today’s European Union.

Interview with Dr. Olivette Otele – ‘Bordering on Brexit: Global Britain and the Embers of Empire’ Conference

The ‘Bordering on Brexit: Global Britain and the Embers of Empire‘ Conference was held last weekend at Garrison Library, Gibraltar. Professor Richard Toye, Director of Exeter’s Centre for Imperial and Global History, interviews Dr. Olivette Otele (Bath Spa) on the question of contested and controversial history and memorialisation in Bristol.

Interview with Fintan O’Toole – ‘Bordering on Brexit: Global Britain and the Embers of Empire’ Conference

The ‘Bordering on Brexit: Global Britain and the Embers of Empire‘ Conference was held last weekend at Garrison Library, Gibraltar. Professor Richard Toye, Director of Exeter’s Centre for Imperial and Global History, interviews Fintan O’Toole (Irish Times) about his conference keynote.

Interview with Prof. Astrid Rasch – ‘Bordering on Brexit: Global Britain and the Embers of Empire’ Conference

The ‘Bordering on Brexit: Global Britain and the Embers of Empire‘ Conference was held last weekend at Garrison Library, Gibraltar. Professor Richard Toye, Director of Exeter’s Centre for Imperial and Global History, interviews Prof. Astrid Rasch (NTNU) about the conference and the ‘Embers of Empire’ project.

Brexit, Food Prices, and History

workhouse

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

In case you missed it,  rumors of the May government’s plan to stockpile food supplies have finally gotten people talking about what Brexit will mean for food prices. As dedicated readers of the Forum know, I’ve been trying to draw attention to this important issue ever since the referendum vote.

Two years ago, I organized and chaired a roundtable, “Brexit and Food Prices: The Legacy of the Hungry Forties,” as part of our Global Economics & History Forum at History & Policy. The panelists were Prof. Anthony Howe (East Anglia); Geoff Tansey (Food Systems Academy); Dr. Lindsay Aqui (Queen Mary); and Prof. Sarah Richardson (Warwick).

Professor Anthony Howe (East Anglia) – The Hungry Forties and the Rise of Free Trade England

Dr Sarah Richardson (Warwick) – Food is a Feminist Issue: the legacy of the hungry forties and women’s rights in England

Dr Lindsay Aqui (Queen Mary) – Butter, Bacon and the British Housewife: Food Prices and the 1975 Referendum

Geoff Tansey (Curator, Food Systems Academy; Chair, Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty) – Food: policy, (in)security, poverty, inequality, power, control & Brexit

You can  listen to the podcast recording of the roundtable below: Continue reading “Brexit, Food Prices, and History”

Is Theresa May the Next Harold Wilson?

Harold Wilson campaigned for a Yes vote in 1975, despite achieving office on a Eurosceptic manifesto the year before.

Josh Hockley-Still
University of Exeter

The Windrush scandal and the subsequent resignation of yet another Cabinet Minister, Amber Rudd, means that Theresa May’s continued occupancy of No. 10 Downing Street appears ever more insecure. Her political obituary has already been written on multiple occasions, and yet she continues to survive.

Has there ever been a British Prime Minister who has displayed such resilience when their odds of political survival looked so bleak?

Yes. His name is Harold Wilson.

These days Wilson is more commonly compared to David Cameron, as in 2016 when Cameron attempted without success to follow Wilson’s playbook on how to win a European referendum. However, in political style and temperament Wilson has far more in common with May than Cameron.

So what are the similarities between Wilson and May, and what does this mean for British politics? Continue reading “Is Theresa May the Next Harold Wilson?”