British ambivalent relationship with the rest of Europe from a historical and cultural perspective. You are standing in the middle of a village somewhere around 100 AD. You are outside, in the open air, somewhere afar you see Hadrian's Wall. You are standing on the road made of polished rocks. It's so quiet that you can hear scraps of conversation in Latin and some rattling noises of swords clashing. The civilization is here. The First so-called British "alliance" was established between the Roman Empire and British Isles if one dares to call this bloody conquest an alliance. At that point, Britain was merely a vassal. Close your eyes. Now open them. You are somewhere around XVIII century. You are wearing the best silk from East Asia, drinking Indian tea and smoking American tobacco. You are dealing the East India Company shipments. You have the whole word at your feet, almost literary. Everything has changed in the past decades. Many centuries later, Britain will engage itself into something called European Union, a Happy Medium, one might say. Or is it?.
It is no wonder that Britain has always felt special; it has all the right to do so, at least from the geographical point of view. It is quite hard to name a country that plays quite an active role in the sphere of political influence would be close to its neighbors and yet exists apart from them. UK is no doubt a part of Europe, but due to this unique location British people somehow alienate themselves from being completely European. Any time there is a poll in Britain which concerns European relationship and EU membership, it is a very common thing to hear "It is all good, but we are an island", "Yes, completely, but we are a separate political formation, an island". One can easy make a conclusion that through the course of their history, Brits have formed a very singular feeling of nationality, which includes being British and not feeling European in the first place, but being British as a pinnacle of their belonging.