The West of which we speak is defined by the values of liberal democracy,
individual freedom, human rights, tolerance and equality under the rule of law.
This book explores how Islamist terror and Russian aggression as companion
threats to the West when terrorists target Russia as well as the United States
and its allies. The threats posed by Islamist terror and Russian aggression
present themselves in very different ways. In the time of transatlantic traumas,
the Islamist terrorist threat and the Russian threat have worked diligently and
with some success. The book examines the hatred of Islamists towards Western
democracies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union for
their involvement in the Middle East politics for several decades. There is no
single explanation for the rising popularity of illiberalism in the Western
democracies; a combination of factors has produced a general sense of malaise.
The book discusses the sources of discontent prevailing in the Western
countries, and looks at the rise of Trumpism, Turkey and its Western values as
well as the domestic tensions between Turkey's political parties. It
suggests a radical centrist populist Western strategy could be applied to deal
with the threats and challenges, reinvigorating the Western system. The book
also touches upon suggestions relating to illiberalism in Europe, Turkey's
drift away from the West, and the Brexit referendum.
Social democracy's often diffuse societal, intellectual and cultural influences have exceeded and outlasted Labour's direct electoral success. This book focuses questions relating to the popular values, mindsets and sense of citizenship needed to further social democracy on that deeper enterprise of this book. It reflects on the 'big picture' of social democracy and progressivism, both historical and contemporary. Part I takes the historical bird's eye view, exploring social democratic and liberal dilemmas that both pervaded the twentieth century and remain very much alive today. It suggests that scholars and political analysts tend to under-play the extent to which progressivism and the voters have managed to operate in constructive harmony. Tracing new and social liberalism's, distinctive offer of a fusion between social interdependence and individualism, the volume assesses the failure of this British liberalism to become the over-arching driver of politics. The Scottish secession from the United Kingdom in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum is also discussed. Part II takes stock of the critical scrutiny, discussing 'Western' democracies alongside the dominance and the extensive body of thought from David Marquand on citizenship, and especially Marquand's civic republican vision. Part III seeks to apply Marquand's search for the 'principled society', discusses social and psychological concept of 'neighbourliness', and examines the public good less as a fixed entity. Finally, the significance of Christopher Addison and his notions on the democratic socialism and liberal progressive traditions, and pluralism are discussed.
This book is a series of 'remarks' and 'sketches', which together form a mosaic to show how the use of the referendum followed a strict, almost Hegelian pattern of the 'unfolding of freedom' throughout the ages. It outlines how referendums have been used in Britain and abroad, presenting some of the arguments for and against this institution. The book commences with an outline of the world history of the referendum from the French Revolution to the present day, and then discusses the British experience up to 2010. The book examines the referendum on European Economic Community membership in 1975, considering the alternative vote referendum in 2011 and the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. Next, the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum in 2016, especially the campaign leading up to it, is discussed. After the analysis of the Brexit referendum, the book touches on the Maltese referendum on divorce in 2011. It summarises some of the trends and tendencies in the use of the referendum internationally, highlighting that Britain is not a unique case in holding referendums. The book shows that, notwithstanding the general assumptions about referendums, these are not usually associated with demagogues and populism, but the referendum has tended to be used as a constitutional safeguard. However, in Britain, a country without a formal written constitution, these safeguards were not in place. For the referendum to work, for this institution to be a constitutional safeguard, it must be a people's shield and not the government's sword.
The 1980s were the heyday of the Thatcher counter-revolution, with mass deindustrialisation destroying Britain's manufacturing base. It was a period of significant setbacks for left politics, most notably the crushing of the miners' strike, Tony Benn's defeat in the Labour deputy leadership contest, and the abolition of the left-controlled Greater London Council. The surcharging and disqualification of councillors who resisted central government rate-capping, Labour's loss of the 1983 and 1987 general elections and the notorious 1983 Bermondsey by-election were also a part of the events during this period. This book resists the view that Labour's political and economic thought was moribund during the 1980s. It shows that Labour embraced new views on the role of the state and state intervention in the economy. The idea of a national investment bank, continental social democracy, and the 'Brexit' referendum of 2016 are discussed. Nostalgia was built into the New Labour's psyche, making it seem adrift from a changing society. Neil Kinnock replaced Michael Foot as leader in 1983 after Labour's defeat in that year's general election, and formed a party that brought changes that coincided with those made by Mikhail Gorbachev. Two major struggles between the Militant-led, Labour-run Liverpool City Council and Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government damaged the reputation of the Labour Party, harmed its fortunes in the 1987 general election. The Race Today Collective was the most influential group of black radicals in the UK, 'the centre, in England, of black liberation'.
migration and trade policies, Europeans have increasingly
opted for a closing-inwards of the nation state, calling into question the viability of the
European project itself. The Brexitreferendum, in June 2016, provided a clear example of
Politics on the periphery has taken a similarly illiberal turn, with more violent
consequences. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte boasts of carrying out extrajudicial
killings and threatens to kill corrupt state officials, and he has launched a bloody war on
drugs, for which he has been
-affected groups ( HPG, 2018 ). The privileging
of behaviourism over more conceptual approaches to understanding ( Anderson, 2007 ) is reflected in the growing influence of ‘behavioural
economics’ ( Alcock, 2016 ). Before its sobering
escape into the wild, as evinced in the Trump election and Brexitreferendum ( Cadwalladr, 2017 ), behavioural economics had been
popularised as ‘nudge politics’. Despite raising democratic concerns in targeting
the sub-conscious, it has found favour among many Western governments. 5
Behavioural economics operationalises
English nationalism, Euroscepticism and the Anglosphere
what or whom? A newly politicised English identity was not just a salient feature of the 2016 referendum but also of the ten years leading up to it. In this way politicised Englishness became an important element in explaining the decision to hold the Brexitreferendum and its eventual outcome.
Raising questions of where sovereignty lay and who exactly was in charge in the United Kingdom was only one of the political dilemmas that were opened by the attempt to resolve three others. In seeming to resolve one grand dilemma – the United Kingdom’s membership
claimed in a debate with this author on the BBC Today programme (7 February 2007) – would (it is fair to assume) accept that the voters north of the border should have a direct say on the matter. In the case of the Scottish referendum it is also widely agreed that the citizens were informed and interested in the issue, in short that they were able to make reasoned decisions about the issue.
Yet the same was not always the case in the Brexitreferendum (as we saw in Chapter 3 ), and perhaps in the referendum on the alternative vote electoral system (as we saw in
The Anglosphere, England and the Brexit referendum
project of withdrawal from the EU, England was subsumed in the Brexiteer rhetoric of Britain and the Anglosphere.
This chapter analyses the place of the Anglosphere in the Brexitreferendum campaign and the ways in which this English understanding of the Anglosphere was inter-related with English national narratives. It will argue that unlike the last time Britons went to the polls to decide on membership of the European Communities, the idea of the Anglosphere gave Eurosceptics an alternative vision of an international community to the EU. The
highlighting national differences over the value of that Union. Instead it sought to commemorate a version of what we might now call ‘global Britain’. As Englishness became politicised, the UK Government offered up a memory of Empire to paper over the emerging cracks in the Union state.
The years leading up to the Brexitreferendum were also years of debates about Britain’s imperial past. The conclusions made about this topic were fairly one-sided: in 2014 59 per cent of respondents to a YouGov poll said that the British Empire was something to be proud of