New Labour came to power in 1997 promising to modernize Britain and make it fit for the twenty-first century. This book studies Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's combined attempt to sell the idea of a European future to the British people. It is about the art of rhetoric, persuasion and the techniques of modern political communication, and the 'Europe question' in British politics. It traces the progressivist elements of New Labour's discourse on British European policy with reference to the place perceptions of history occupied in Blair and Brown's speeches on foreign policy. The book explains the idea of 'norm entrepreneurship' and how it can be adapted to help us think through New Labour's handling of British European policy. It focuses on various aspects of the politics, language and decision-making style of New Labour. Theoretical approaches to Euroscepticism to help us understand, through the empirical data in the speeches, how Blair and Brown constructed their identity as 'Europeans' against their perceived 'sceptical' opponents. The method of discourse analysis used to study the strategies Blair and Brown put in place to realize their goals, is discussed. The book presents the evidence on the ways in which the Prime Minister and Chancellor discursively constructed the Europe question as a matter of protecting and/or advancing vital British national interests. Trapped between a broadly hostile media and an apathetic public, Blair and Brown failed to provide the necessary leadership to see Britain to a European future.
This timely collection explores British attitudes to continental Europe that explain the Brexit decision. Analysing British discourses of Europe and the impact of British Euroscepticism, the book argues that Britain’s exit from the European Union reflects a more general cultural rejection of continental Europe: Britain is in denial about the strength of its ties to Europe and needs to face Europe if it is to face the future. The volume brings together literary and cultural studies, history, and political science in an integrated analysis of views and practices that shape cultural memory and the cultural imaginary. Part I, ‘Britain and Europe: political entanglements’, traces the historical and political relationship between Britain and Europe and the place of Europe in recent British political debates while Part II, ‘British discourses of Europe in literature and film’, is devoted to representative case studies of films as well as popular Eurosceptic and historical fiction. Part III, ‘Negotiating borders in British travel writing and memoir’, engages with border mindedness and the English Channel as a contact zone, also including a Gibraltarian point of view. Given the crucial importance of literature in British discourses of national identity, the book calls for, and embarks on, a Euro-British literary studies that highlights the nature and depth of the British-European entanglement.
Transnational party federations (TNPs) have been critical prisms through which to
analyse the EU’s tensions between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism.
This study focuses on the radical left TNP, the European Left Party (EL),
founded in 2004. It centres on four general questions: first; the conditions
under which TNPs might be successful; second, how the EL compares with other
TNPs, particularly those of the broad centre-left, the Party of European
Socialists (PES) and the European Green Party (EGP); third, to what extent the
EL has fostered a consensus over positions towards the EU previously
conspicuously lacking among the radical left; and fourth, the degree to which
the EL has enabled an increase in the electoral or policy influence of the
radical left in Europe. The study highlights the strengths and weaknesses of
TNPs as networks of Europeanisation; they have important roles in the EU
political system but remain timid actors with only selectively developed
transnationalism. It shows how the EL is a paradoxical actor; on the one hand it
has brought radical left transnational co-operation to historical highs; on the
other it is both less influential than the PES and less transnational and
consolidated than the EGP. Such paradoxes result from persistent internal
divisions between Europeanists and sovereigntists, as well as suboptimal
internal structures. The influence of the EL is also paradoxical. It has emerged
as a centre of attraction for the European radical left promoting the Left
Europeanist position, but is a long way from being hegemonic or unchallenged on
argument pursued was that not all discursive Otherings of Europe are necessarily expressions of opposition to the EU, or born out of xenophobic prejudice. The diversity of everyday Otherings of Europe in the way the British speak about going on holiday to Europe or discuss football matches played ‘in Europe’, for example, does not automatically betray Eurosceptical attitudes on questions relating to Britain’s involvement with the EU – but it can do. A respect for the British liberal tradition, its political institutions, the beauty of its countryside and its heritage
of them count as political thrillers, are set in the near future, and can be situated in the British Eurosceptic tradition. They range from slight criticism to outright hostility, thus reflecting the broad spectrum of opposing attitudes towards European integration as defined by the vast academic literature on (British) Euroscepticism. 1
The Aachen Memorandum ( AM ) (1995) by historian Andrew Roberts is representative of one important branch of Eurosceptic novels. A bestselling novel, it received mixed reviews: on the one hand, it was lauded as ‘a gripping novel
English nationalism, Euroscepticism and the Anglosphere
adapting slowly to the disruptive effects of misinformation borne by new media. The national divisions that the 2016 referendum exposed are often noted. Yet little sustained attention has been given to the place of nationalism as an ideology (rather than shorthand for xenophobia) in explaining Brexit. This book attempts to make such an explanation.
This book builds on research that highlights the peculiar Englishness of Euroscepticism and the Englishness of Brexit (Wellings, 2012 ; Henderson et al., 2017 ). Some analysis downplays the particularity of
The Conservatives and Europe, 1997–2001
The Conservatives and Europe, 1997–2001
As Conservatives reflected on the 1997 general election, they could agree
that the issue of Britain’s relationship with the European Union (EU) was a
significant factor in their defeat. But they disagreed over how and why
‘Europe’ had contributed to the party’s demise. Euro-sceptics blamed John
Major’s European policy. For Euro-sceptics, Major had accepted developments in the European Union that ran counter to the Thatcherite defence of
the nation state
damaged the Party. In Opposition,
Cameron lowered the salience of the issue and policy towards the EU did not
undergo the significant rethinking seen in other areas. However, European integration then became one of the most important and difficult issues for Cameron in
office after the 2010 general election. The Eurozone sovereign debt crisis prompted
other Member States to pursue further integration, which the UK neither participated in nor blocked, hastening the development of differentiated integration.
Eurosceptics favouring fundamental renegotiation or withdrawal
there can be no lasting integral Commonwealth.’44 It was a dilemma best
summarised by a young anti-Marketeer who asked Arthur Bryant ‘How
do you appeal on the Commonwealth’s behalf without sounding like a
nostalgic empire builder? I wish I knew.’45
From Anti-Marketeers to Eurosceptics?
The lines of descent from the anti-Marketeers to the Eurosceptics
demand further research. For the moment, it is worth noting that those
links are largely indirect because the ambiguities that accompanied the
anti-Market movement’s structure, philosophies and impact are also
(particularly anti-austerity) social movements (della Porta et al., 2017 ; Wennerhag, Fröhlich and Piotrowski, 2018 ), or on the nature of the new left-wing populism (e.g. Katsambekis and Kioupkiolis, 2019 ).
Indeed, many academic sources regard the radical left as largely a ‘Eurosceptic’ and populist force, with thereby a large amount of contiguity with the radical right (e.g. Hooghe, Marks and Wilson, 2002 ; Rooduijn and Akkerman, 2015 ; Hobolt and de Vries, , 2016 ). This point of view reached its apogee in the influential article by