What if?

New Statesman magazine features a light-hearted column by Dominic Sandbrook which speculates about how things might have turned out differently. This week's column speculated on what might have been if Britain had voted not to join the EEC in 1975.

Aside from Tony Benn becoming chancellor of the exchequer, the article suggests that Britain would have developed very intimate relations with Iceland, Norway and Sweden. In this might-have-been world, Britain becomes like the Nordic countries a slightly dull but orderly and socially progressive country immersed in Scandinavian culture:

There are always those who think that we would have been better off staying in the EEC, and that today's Britain, with its environmentally friendly monarchy, its entrenched social democracy and its taste for meatballs, is all a bit dull. But it's surely a small price to pay for trains that run on time, redistributive taxes and the world's leading whaling industry. And who wants to be like Italy, anyway?

No doubt in such an imaginary world, Britain would be a nation of progressive people who always remove their shoes at the door, just like Norway, Sweden and Iceland.