Blair and Brown’s logic of history

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.

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 the left.

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New Labour and the Eurosceptics

Chapter 6 Identities: New Labour and the Eurosceptics Of particular relevance perhaps is Britain’s persistent identity crisis in the wake of both empire and Cold War, most notably the difficulty of equating Britishness with toleration and openness rather than xenophobia and chauvinism. (Beck 2003: 409–10) In the previous chapter we considered the British propensity to heterotypify European countries and the EU’s system of governance through discursive constructions which set British national identity permanently against that of the EU’s leading member states

in New Labour and the European Union
European integration and the rise of UKIP

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

in David Cameron and Conservative renewal

8 Philip Lynch The Conservatives and Europe, 1997–2001 The Conservatives and Europe, 1997–2001 Philip Lynch 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

in The Conservatives in Crisis
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they do, 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

in British national identity and opposition to membership of Europe, 1961–63
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(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

in The European Left Party

understanding post-Thatcherite Conservative politics as, on the surface at least, during the period of opposition under scrutiny it appeared to lose much of its potency, as the parliamentary party united around a broadly Eurosceptic position. This represented a dramatic shift compared to the intense divisions Europe caused in the 1980s and 1990s. Key to this was contextual change in terms of the diminishing electoral salience of the issue, and an ideational shift within the Conservative Party itself. This chapter analyses how this once noxious issue was apparently resolved

in Reconstructing conservatism?
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already made by Enoch Powell and Keith Joseph and therefore discussed at length already in this book. The more interesting theme to emerge from a discussion of Redwood’s contribution to British ‘Conservatism’ is the emergence of Euroscepticism in the Party. The ideas are interrelated – part of Redwood’s distaste for European integration comes from his advocacy of economic liberalism as will be developed in this chapter. However, the Eurosceptic position is not a unified one within the Conservative Party and so the chapter will discuss the range of arguments made by

in Conservative thinkers
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we could and should learn from it to inform contemporary decision-making. Yet they diverged from the Eurosceptics – as they saw them – when it came to the nature of the lessons the British should learn from the past. Blair and Brown used ideas about globalization and interdependence and imposed them back on to the British past as a way of telling a globalist version of history, with the British marked down as alwaysand-ever European. For them, world history was a story of the greatness of the seafaring British bringing order to the world and peace to the homeland

in New Labour and the European Union