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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.