'Politics' with a big 'P' is concerned with how we, individuals and
groups, relate to the state. This book commences with a definition of political
activity with a focus on conflict, and government and democracy. Britain is,
arguably, the oldest democracy in the world, though it took many centuries for
it to evolve into its current 'representative' form. Conflict
resolution depends on the political system involved. The book draws together all
the elements of government, explaining the British system of governance, which
is democracy but utilises representatives. Civil service advises ministers and
carries out the day- to-day running of government. The book then describes the
transformation of the British system of governance from an absolute monarchy to
a representative democracy. It examines how economic changes have affected
Britain over the centuries, and presents some thoughts on the absence of a
modern British revolution. It presents an account of Britain's economic
history, the class developments and differences, and the absence of a modern
revolution despite astonishing levels of income inequality. Factors that might
influence the political culture of Britain are discussed next. The book also
touches upon the sources of British constitution, the process of constitutional
amendments prevailing in the U.S. and Britain, current British politics, and the
development of pressure groups in Britain. Finally, the history of party
government in Britain, and details of the Conservative Party, Labour Party, the
Social and Liberal Democrats, House of Commons, and Britain's international
relations are discussed.
Britain has an outward-looking stance in its contact with the rest of the
world. This chapter deals with Britain's international relations,
focusing on the country's key interests, the rise and decline of the
British Empire, the Britain-EU relations, the Britain-US bond, the ethical
foreign policy of the Labour government and the Iraq war. Britain's
national interests have been conditioned by a lack of plentiful natural
resources and an island status that delivers a close relationship with the
sea. In 1920, the British Empire occupied a quarter of the world's
landmass but after World War II most of its colonies gained independence
which soon reduced the country's role to something far less exalted.
The postwar British foreign policy envisaged emphasis in Europe, America and
the Empire/Commonwealth. Some critics argue it would be more logical for
Britain to recognise the facts of economics and geography and invest more
political capital in Europe.
Davies, Alfred Zimmern, and Liberal Internationalism in
Interwar Britain’, InternationalRelations, 16: 1
(2002), 117–33; and Frank Trentmann, ‘After the
Nation-State: Citizenship, Empire and Global Coordination in the New
Internationalism, 1914–1930’ in F. Trentmann, K. Grant
and P. Levine (eds), Beyond Sovereignty: Britain, Empire, and
Transnationalism, c. 1880
to retain a place at the
negotiation table between the United States and the Soviet Union, Bevan believed
it was necessary to renounce the epicurean romanticism of unilateral nuclear disarmament. His adoption of a more realist position gained greater ethos with advocates of more moderate positions. At the conference, Bevan strove to convince the
delegates of the logos of his opposition to unilateralism by arguing the conference
The oratory of Aneurin Bevan
should not ‘decide upon the dismantling of the whole fabric of Britishinternationalrelations’ (Bevan
Discourse of Anarchy. See also Lucian M. Ashworth, Creating
International Studies (Aldershot, 1999); David Long and Brian C. Schmidt (eds),
Imperialism and Internationalism in the Discipline of International Relations
(New York, 2005); Morefield, Covenants without Swords; Casper Sylvest, ‘Continuity and change in British liberal internationalism, c. 1900–1930’, Review
of International Studies, 31 (2005), 263–83; Casper Sylvest, ‘Beyond the state?
Pluralism and internationalism in early-twentieth century Britain’, InternationalRelations, 21 (2007), 67–85.
domination after Egypt had become an issue in mainstream British
politics. The Suez Canal made Egypt central to Britishinternationalrelations and
imperial security calculations. After the military occupation, there was
a debate in London and Cairo on how to define the British imperial
mission in Egypt: Was it merely a short-term strategic move? Were the
British ‘civilisers’ engaged in a long
Politics and History, 28 (1982), 380–90;
Casper Sylvest, ‘Beyond the state? Pluralism and internationalism in early
twentieth-century Britain’, InternationalRelations, 21 (2007), 67–85.
Philosophy and internationalist ethics
11 See especially David Boucher, ‘British idealism, the state, and international
relations’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 55 (1994), 671–94; Peter P. Nicholson, ‘Philosophical idealism and international politics. A reply to Dr Savigear’,
British Journal of International Studies, 2 (1976), 76–83; Jeanne Morefield,
of Cobden, p. 95.
89 See the analysis in Georgios Varouxakis, ‘“Patriotism”, “cosmopolitanism”
and “humanity” in Victorian political thought’, European Journal of Political
Theory, 5 (2006), 100–18; Casper Sylvest, ‘Beyond the state? Pluralism and
internationalism in early twentieth-century Britain’, InternationalRelations,
21 (2007), 67–85.
90 Morley, Life of Cobden, p. 601.
91 See Hamer, John Morley, chs 5–7.
92 Morley, Life of Cobden, pp. 203, 303.
93 Morley, Life of Cobden, pp. 40–1, 97.
94 Morley, Life of Cobden, pp. 530–1. In 1864, Cobden