Associate Professor, Department of International History, London School of Economics and Political Science
Chair: Dr. Nicolai von Ondarza, Berlin
‘Brexit: An Accident Waiting to Happen?’ will offer a historian’s view of the UK’s 2016 decision to leave the EU. It will ask whether the 44 year marriage between Britain and its partners has been flawed from the outset – and hence always likely to end in the divorce courts. Too simplistic an acceptance of this view will be rejected, however, with attention drawn to the gains that the UK has made through EC/EU membership, the constructive role that the British have been at times able to play in Brussels, and to the difficulty, until recently, of turning Euroscepticism into a winning electoral formula. The shorter term factors that gradually altered this situation will then be reviewed, with particular attention drawn to the altered position of the Conservative Party towards Europe, the collapse of the wider pro-European coalition, and the importance of immigration as a catalyst for popular disillusionment with EU membership.
Piers Ludlow will from August be Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. His research interests have focused on the history of European integration – and of the United Kingdom’s troubled relationship with it. He has written three monographs, Dealing With Britain: the Six and the First UK Application (1997); The European Community and the Crises of the 1960s: Negotiating the Gaullist Challenge (2006) and Roy Jenkins and the European Commission Presidency (2016). His next project, alas, will be a history tracing Britain’s membership of the EC/EU from its beginning right the way up to the 2016 decision to leave.