N° 6, 2002/2 – Political Parties in the UK and European Integration
edited by Karine Cabrol, 2002/2 (n°6)
Karine Cabrol – Political Parties in the UK and European Integration
Making sense of EU membership in domestic political discourse has always been a difficult problem for UK political elites. This article seeks to understand whether the political class has any realistic chance to convince a broadly sceptical British public that the EU is the answer to Britain’s future problems. The majority of the political elite apparently wish, to take Britain into the European Single Currency yet most of the public seem set against such a development. British voters are also exceptionally ill-informed about the European Union, and Europe has never been a domestic vote-winner for UK parties. Nevertheless the electorate is shown to display a deeply ambivalent attitude on the issue of the EU and this leads to a certain ‘softness’ in their attitudes on European matters. It is suggested that hard-headed calculations can be made by many sceptical British citizens and that while the British may not particularly admire European institutions and practices, they grudgingly regard the EU as the best option for maintaining UK employment, growth and living standards. The final question is whether a new elite consensus on the desirability of further European integration which can command substantial popular support will become established in the UK, or whether the balance will swing towards elites favouring a looser association between sovereign European nations, if they favour one at all.
John Crowley – The United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and Europe
Agnès Alexandre-Collier – The Euroskeptic Phenomenon in the British Conservative Party
David Baker, Andrew Gamble, Nick Randall, David Seawright – Cast from the same pro-european mould ? The attitudes of labour members of the house of Commons, Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly towards Europe
By pragmatically but positively engaging with European integration and by devolving power to new institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the ‘New Labour’ government elected in 1997 has firmly established the conditions for a system of ‘multilevel governance’ in the UK. Using survey data collected among Labour Members of Parliament, Members of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, this article explores whether these institutional developments have also been accompanied by the emergence of ideological divergences in the attitudes of Labour’s elected representatives in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff towards European issues.
Simon Bulmer, Martin Bruch – British devolution and european policy-making : a step-change towards multi-level governance ?
The Labour government came to power in 1997 with a commitment to conducting a more constructive European policy. However, the domestic machinery for making European policy has become more complex because of another Labour policy, the domestic devolution of authority. This paper explores the changes in the British machinery for European policymaking since 1997. It draws upon the literatures of Europeanisation and multi-level governance as analytical orientation. We argue that the UK has come closer to the prevailing continental model of multi-level governance but that this has arisen less as a result of a “Europeanisation-effect” than for domestic reasons.