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As Europe was used by elements within the elite on both sides of the issue to secure electoral and political advantage, it is advantageous to define the character of the political elite. The definition of the political elite for the purpose of this book is Members of Parliament. This is because it was they who were directly involved in the political decision-making on Britain's membership of the Common Market, and so the evidence of their behaviour is readily available. Whilst this definition is utilised, however, it is apparent that there

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.

This book draws on original research into women’s workplace protest to deliver a new account of working-class women’s political identity and participation in post-war England. In doing so, the book contributes a fresh understanding of the relationship between feminism, workplace activism and trade unionism during the years 1968–85. The study covers a period that has been identified with the ‘zenith’ of trade union militancy. The women’s liberation movement (WLM) also emerged in this period, which produced a shift in public debates about gender roles and relations in the home and the workplace. Industrial disputes involving working-class women have been commonly understood as evidence of women’s growing participation in the labour movement, and as evidence of the influence of second-wave feminism on working-class women’s political consciousness. However, the voices and experiences of female workers who engaged in workplace protest remain largely unexplored. The book addresses this space through detailed analysis of four industrial disputes that were instigated by working-class women. It shows that labour force participation was often experienced or viewed as a claim to political citizenship in late modern England. A combination of oral history and written sources is used to illuminate how everyday experiences of gender and class antagonism shaped working-class women’s political identity and participation.

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that we are in danger of losing our sense of wonder over them. (Beer, 1969 : 351) The motives of individual members and specific groups within the British political elite on the question of Britain's membership of the Common Market were not based primarily on a consistent ideological position, but rather on party political or personal advantage. This argument is substantiated by a number of issues that feature prominently throughout the debate over Europe. On the question of sovereignty, for example

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
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During the course of Britain's relationship with Europe, the concept of sovereignty has been raised as an issue by the political elite of both major political parties. Whilst it is suggested that this malleable concept was used in a rhetorical rather than in a precise manner, there remains a need to determine whether there is a consensus on the definition of sovereignty, particularly in respect of Britain and Europe. The concept of sovereignty is examined from a British historical perspective and specifies the diversity of existing

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984
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The current problems over Britain's membership of the European Union result largely because of an absence of quality debates during the critical period from 1959 to 1984. The situation today is attributed to members of the political elite from this period subordinating the question of Britain's future in Europe to short-term, pragmatic, party management or career considerations. In an historical examination of the impact short-term political expediency played in the positions adopted by members of Britain's political elites in the debates

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984

1 Contextualising women’s workplace activism in post-war England T he growth of women’s employment was one of the most significant social and economic changes in post-war England. But what were the implications of these changes for working-class women’s political identities and sense of self? This chapter provides an overview of how women’s growing presence in the workforce was understood by contemporaries. It demonstrates that female workers, trade unions, social scientists and WLM activists were increasingly drawing public attention to the poor conditions and

in Women, workplace protest and political identity in England, 1968-85

stance on the issue for motives that were varied and often complex. Evidence suggests, for example, that the reason for Enoch Powell's volte-face on Europe was not based on a principled shift of view, but was instead a personal attack on Heath. The debate over Europe not only lacked quality, but also for many members of the political elite, Europe was subordinate to party, career or electoral considerations. The repercussions of the referendum proved to be meaningful for the Labour Party in particular, as the electorate's decision deepened the cleavage between the left

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984

sewing machinists’ eventual success in winning their grading intimates that a transition had occurred in the way women’s work was valued in the intervening seventeen years between the strikes – at least within the Ford factory. Drawing on contemporary representations of the dispute and interviews with women involved, this final chapter considers whether the women themselves believed that the j   139    J Women, workplace protest and political identity strike represented a change in attitudes towards female workers. It considers women’s explanations of their

in Women, workplace protest and political identity in England, 1968-85

The Conservative and Labour trajectories 1 provide evidence to test the central argument that some members of the British political elite took a position that was politically pragmatic rather than having a clear commitment for or against Britain's place in Europe. The members of the political elite included in the trajectories are a representative sample of MPs, chosen because of their involvement as leading actors in the debate over Common Market membership during the period 1959 to 1984. This is not an exhaustive list, however. A number

in The British political elite and Europe, 1959–1984