By Arthur Cyr
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Harold Wilson notes in his memoirs that Brown was particularly happy to get the position: "George was overjoyed, and his morale rose some forty points. "12 Soon after taking over, Brown became even more vigorous in his advocacy of membership in the European Economic Community. On this subject, he was an especially assertive representative of the Foreign Office viewpoint. As one Labour politician recalls: "Brown was pro-European before, but they [the Foreign Office] made him a fanatic on the subject," adding, "An important element in Wilson's decision [to seek entry] ...
Only slowly has the reality been accepted that the nation can no longer be a global power and must be content with more modest status. As long as possible, the British held to the notion that a position of something resembling equality with the two superpowers could be maintained. Part of the explanation for reluctance to abandon traditional stances in international relations was that they actually worked quite well for a number of years following the Second World War. At least until the Suez disaster of 1956, it was possible for the British to believe they could play an independent role, linking Europe to the US while remaining closely bound to neither.
Indeed, the Macmillan government which followed was able to make foreign policy decisions confidently, unhindered by the effects of Suez, even though Macmillan had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer with the former Prime Minister. 2 Second, the moderation of British politics has been reflected in the character of foreign policy. This is not to deny the presence of serious conflicts over specific policies. There have been quite sharp rifts within both major parties, especially Labour. The continuing cleavage between the Labour left and the rest of the party has had a foreign policy dimension.