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Patrick Doyle

Chapter 5 examines how the movement interacted with, and influenced, the nationalist Sinn Féin Party, which advocated complete political separation from Britain, and the labour movement. In particular, Sinn Féin utilised co-operative ideas to develop a distinctive economic plan for a theoretical Irish Republic. The breakdown of law and order and increased state violence during the Irish War of Independence threatened the existence of the co-operative movement. During 1920–21 reprisal attacks carried out by Crown forces targeted co-operative societies. By using the correspondence of local societies and contemporary news reportage this chapter considers the ways state violence undermined co-operative behaviour among the rural population and how this meant certain aspects of economic development experienced permanent setback of the eve of political independence.

in Civilising rural Ireland
Open Access (free)
Patrick Doyle

The conclusion summarises the overall arguments presented in previous chapters about the importance of the co-operative movement to rural development in Ireland. The long-term perspective employed throughout the book highlights the way in which the Irish co-operative movement responded to, and shaped, key political events as Ireland moved towards independence. In the years after Irish independence, the IAOS and co-operative societies played a crucial part in delivering economic policies. Finally, a note is made about the state of co-operation in Ireland in recent years.

in Civilising rural Ireland
Open Access (free)
Patrick Doyle

This introduction emphasises the importance of economic issues and debates in the formation of the Irish state and argues for a greater consideration of rural dynamics in understanding the emergence of an Irish modernity. The economic experimentation that occurred in Ireland under the auspices of the co-operative movement reflected a transnational interest of the problem of rural life. While arguing that an understanding of the Irish Question during the late nineteenth century needs to take a fuller account of rural economic change, the chapter contextualises the history of the Irish co-operative movement within wider debates focused on the global uptake of co-operative principles. This chapter introduces key concepts that are used throughout the book such as co-operation and development.

in Civilising rural Ireland
Patrick Doyle

Chapter 3 explores the co-operative movement’s changing relationship with the state in Ireland as it attempted to cultivate a co-operative population prior to the First World War. Horace Plunkett used his prominent position to lobby for the establishment of the Department for Agriculture and Technical Instruction (DATI) for Ireland. A subsequent co-ordination of state and co-operative resources briefly shaped agricultural policy in the early years of the twentieth century. The chapter explores the factors that led to a radical reorientation of the relationship between the DATI and the IAOS after 1907 and the financial implications this had on the movement. The split between the state and movement led to an uptake of co-operative ideas by radical nationalists. This had long-term implications for the emergence of a new nationalist political economy in Ireland.

in Civilising rural Ireland
Patrick Doyle

Chapter 1 explains the origins of the Irish co-operative movement and places it within both a national context of a rapidly changing society and economy, but also within an international uptake of co-operative ideas. The co-operative movement’s values and objectives are scrutinised in the context of an increasingly polarised political climate. Irish co-operators tried to respond to social issues such as rural depopulation and perceived economic decline while promoting a particular vision of rural modernisation. Despite attempts to remain apolitical, the movement at the level of local organisations preached robust economic nationalism. The Irish movement’s relationship with the British Co-operative Wholesale Society is analysed to highlight the ways in which co-operative movements competed aggressively with one another. The chapter outlines the ideological underpinnings of the co-operative movement and how its economic mission led employees and members towards a nationalist position.

in Civilising rural Ireland
Robert Lister Nicholls

Prime Minister Wilson’s decision to hold a referendum on Common Market membership in 1975 had a huge impact not only on both the Labour and Conservative parties, but also on individual members of the political elite. Events leading up to the referendum are analysed: these include the general elections of 1974 and the crucial House of Commons three-day debate on the Labour government’s recommendation that Britain remain a member of the EEC. This chapter explores Wilson’s motives for holding a referendum, and despite a clear verdict from the public, demonstrates how the issue was to be far from settled. This was a period of particular significance for several leading players in the European debate. As such, analysis is provided on the reasons why some members of the political elite changed their positions on Europe, and the highly significant consequences for the parties and individuals following the 1975 referendum.

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
A higher loyalty

This book argues that the current problems over Britain’s membership of the European Union are largely as a result of the absence of quality debates during the 1959–84 period. The situation today is also attributed to members of the political elite subordinating the question of Britain’s future in Europe to short-term, pragmatic, party management or career considerations. A particular and original interpretation of Britain and Europe is advanced, aided by recently discovered evidence. This includes the methods used by the Conservative government to ensure it won the vote following the 1971 parliamentary debate on Britain’s proposed entry into the EEC. It also delves into the motives of the sixty-nine rebel Labour MPs that voted against their own party on EEC membership, and how the British public were largely misled by political leaders in respect of the true aims of the European project. This is a study of a seminal period in Britain’s relationship with Europe. Starting from the British government’s early attempts at EEC membership, and concluding with the year both major political parties accepted Britain’s place in Europe, this book examines decision-making in Britain. As such, it contributes to a greater understanding of British politics. It answers a number of key questions and casts light on the current toxic dilemma on the issue of Europe.

Abstract only
Robert Lister Nicholls

The conclusion summarises and explains the findings of the research for this book and reflects briefly on the inter-relationships between the period analysed and the continuing European debate. It is clear that during the period which included two unsuccessful and one successful application, the long-term implications of membership did not weigh heavily with many members of the political elite. The evidence suggests that for many members of both major political parties, short-term considerations were of greater importance. There is evidence, for example, that party management was of greater concern for Wilson and Callaghan than a genuine commitment to EEC membership. The findings also show that the short-term nature of the debate stored up future problems for political parties and their leaderships, which ultimately led to Britain voting to leave the European Union.

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
Robert Lister Nicholls

This chapter looks at the background to Britain’s first application to join the Common Market, and the reasons why Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan decided not to enter Europe when he would have been welcomed in 1957, but waited until 1961, when the application was rejected. The chapter also explores the pressure faced by the British government from the American President and US business for Britain to join the EEC. Macmillan’s application had huge implications for the Labour Party, which was divided over the issue at the time. Hugh Gaitskell’s monumental speech to party conference in 1962 where he warned that entering the EEC would be the end of a thousand years of history, galvanised and even united his party. Harold Wilson gave his wholehearted support for Gaitskell’s position on Europe. This enhanced his own position in the leadership election following the untimely death of Gaitskell in 1963.

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
Abstract only
Robert Lister Nicholls

The introduction provides a comprehensive outline of the conceptual and core chapters, and an explanation as to how they substantiate the arguments made in this book. The arguments deployed are developed by a theoretical framework which clarifies the key concepts. The conceptual chapters on political elites and sovereignty are followed by a series of chronologically based chapters which provide supporting evidence for the main conclusion. The introduction includes a brief synopsis of the chapters, offering a description of what each chapter specifically focuses on. This includes the particular aspects of each chapter to be discussed and an explanation of how the issues raised will be examined and addressed. In addition, the introduction explains the role of the trajectories that are instrumental in assisting the substantiation of the books’ central argument.

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984