British Journal of Politics & International Relations

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1467-856X
Publications
Article
This article describes UK and US responses to 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks, referring to ‘biodefence’ and the civilian structures of disaster preparedness. Following a review of initiatives undertaken in each country the article details principal differences between the two systems, the federal nature of the US response and the more localised arrangements preferred in the UK. Finally, with reference to certain international standards articulated by the World Health Organisation, the article concludes with some critical reflections on recent policy developments. International standards promote the civilian character of preparedness programmes and their connections to public health infrastructure. This is being challenged by US developments that emphasise the role of the military while, in the UK, there remain questions about the capacity of civilian structures.
 
Article
Terms like ‘Islamo-fascism’, the ‘anti-totalitarian’ case for war in Iraq and the description of religiously motivated political extremism as a ‘new totalitarianism’ were all remarkable features of the political discourse organised around the response to the events of 11 September 2001. They share in common the attempt to ground political commitments and allegiances in two morally charged political languages: anti-fascism and anti-totalitarianism. But why did they fail to connect with the public imagination? This article argues that they were not constructed for present purposes so much as appropriated. Yet their projected consumption by a broader public turned on the feasibility of effecting conceptual change to accommodate new meanings and applications. The failure, in this case, to meet the standards thereby required suggests that an important dimension of the response to September 11th is the failure of political argument. It is proposed that this has implications more broadly for the relation between political theory and political rhetoric.
 
Article
This article looks at questions of politeness, conduct and civility in the 18th century to explore how individuals imagined owning themselves as market actors and as members of an emerging civil society. It focuses on how they managed the contradictions of participating in the capitalist market without being branded as gamblers. It argues that a moral economy of rational improvement and a disciplined self was crucial to this process, to counter the fragility of self-ownership and the unpredictability and riskiness of property not based on land ownership. This disciplined and rational self-ownership was inextricable from the development of gender relations, which rested on the division between the public and private spheres, and from the disavowal of ‘bad femininity’ from the account of property.
 
Article
It has been argued that the failure of ‘realist’ international thought to take root in Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War, as it did in the United States, was a function of declining power. This article challenges this view, suggesting instead that for the British, the term ‘realism’ had been discredited, in the late 1930s, by its associations with appeasement and the ‘power politics’ of the dictators. Examining the international thought of politicians and scholars in the years before, during and after the war, this article offers a reinterpretation of the British rejection of political realism.
 
Article
Since 9/11, many politicians have deployed the memory of Winston Churchill in support of their own goals. This article examines this phenomenon—‘the Churchill Syndrome’—in the context of the use made of Churchillian language and imagery by British and American politicians in their rhetoric over the previous several decades. It does not seek to establish whether or not analogies with the Churchill era have been correct, but rather, using the concept of ‘reputational entrepreneurship’, it examines the historical reasons why these comparisons have often been preferred to others that might have been equally valid. It concludes that although Churchill has come to represent an idealised form of political steadfastness—referenced even by Gamal Abdul Nasser and Saddam Hussein—this portrayal of him has never achieved total hegemony.
 
Article
The biased outcomes of recent British general elections, whereby the two main parties (Conservative and Labour) would have achieved different percentages of the seats in the House of Commons for the same percentages of the votes cast, are explored, using a method of bias decomposition developed by a New Zealand political scientist. Overall, the situation changed markedly between 1950 and 1997: the biases in the system strongly favoured the Conservatives in the 1950s and early 1960s, but Labour in 1992 and 1997. Examination of the seven components of the bias measure shows that most of these moved in Labour's favour over the 50-year period, with a major shift between 1992 and 1997 because of the greater geographical efficiency of the Labour party's vote at the latter date: reasons for this are suggested.
 
Article
This article proposes a greater emphasis upon the intellectual history of political studies in the UK. The limitations of conventional understandings of the disciplinary past are considered in relation to the 1950s and 1960s. The author seeks to challenge contemporary views of this period in two respects. First, he shows how the key institutions of the emergent discipline were formed for highly contingent reasons, and how they were underpinned by a disciplinary ethos that was inherited from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Second, he draws attention to an important, and neglected, shift in disciplinary self-understanding in the late 1950s and 1960s, as figures like W. J. M. Mackenzie blended aspects of the dominant approach to political inquiry with newer ideas, thus generating an influential conception of a distinctively British political science.
 
Article
Drawing on theories of international relations (IR) and comparative politics, this article explains why the cold war ended in 1989 rather than 1953. Numerous scholars have used IR theory to discuss the end of the cold war, but most of the circumstances they highlight were also present in the spring of 1953, right after the death of Joseph Stalin. This article presents three broad theoretical approaches that deal with the connection between domestic politics and international relations, and it then shows how these approaches can help us understand the similarities and differences between 1953 and 1989. In particular, the article emphasises the importance of time. In the spring of 1953, the window of opportunity was very brief—only a few months, which was insufficient for the two main cold war antagonists to overcome their deeply entrenched suspicions and make far-reaching adjustments in their policies. In the latter half of the 1980s, by contrast, the sweeping reorientation of east–west relations occurred over several years, giving policy-makers on both sides sufficient leeway to adapt and to ‘learn’ new ways of interacting.
 
Article
Contemporary security affairs depend on accurate and timely military intelligence; without them, security efforts can descend into farce or something altogether more dangerous: civil war. The role of intelligence is central to any serious attempt to end violence. Many important lessons can be learned from the United Kingdom's security efforts in Northern Ireland and the importance of effective military intelligence policy is one of these lessons. This article will show how damaging the ineffective and inefficient United Kingdom security policy was in Northern Ireland, how the lack of co-operation at a variety of levels acted to the detriment of the security situation in Northern Ireland and how this negatively impacted the ability of security force personnel to counter adequately the increasing violence.
 
Article
The 1974–79 Labour governments were elected on the basis of an agreement with the TUC promising a redistribution of income and wealth known as the Social Contract. However, the government immediately began to marginalise these commitments in favour of preferences for incomes policy and public expenditure cuts, which has led the Social Contract to be described as the ‘Social Contrick’. These changes were legitimised through a process of depoliticisation, and using an Open Marxist framework and evidence from the National Archives, the article will show that the Treasury's exchange rate strategy and the need to secure external finance placed issues of confidence at the centre of political debate, allowing the government to argue that there was no alternative to the introduction of incomes policy and the reduction of public expenditure.
 
Article
This article uses data from the British Election Study series since 1974 and qualitative data from interviews with key party personnel to investigate the social and political basis of Liberal support in Britain. There are three main sections to the article: the first deals with the social and demographic profile of the Liberal vote, while the second examines the political characteristics of its supporters. In the final section these findings are used to assess the Liberal Democrats’ electoral strategy at the 2001 General Election and beyond. We find that Liberals tend to be drawn from a similar social background to Conservative supporters (particularly in term of class), but politically there has been an increasingly close relationship between the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party.
 
Article
While for multiparty systems the development of vote function forecast models for the incumbent party and the official opposition party is commonplace, only rarely do these models try to forecast the vote for a third party. Can third party vote shares be forecasted with reasonable accuracy? We explore this question within the context of British politics. Our model proposes that the British Liberal party vote is mostly driven by the extent to which the UK electorate approves or disapproves of the official opposition leader. Our results are consistent with the idea that once the decision has been made to punish the incumbent government, a voter must then decide whether to support the official opposition party or another smaller party.
 
Article
This article first describes the decline in Conservative Party representation in local government over the period 1979–97. It then explores a number of factors to account for the nature and depth of that decline, including: differential abstention; the desertion of heartland voters; tactical voting at local level; and electoral bias. Clearly, the Conservatives’ performance at local elections was worse than might have been expected given the party’s overall electoral popularity. It appears that Conservative council candidates largely fell victim to the changing pattern of party competition and the apparent ability of rival parties to target seats more effectively. Furthermore, the impact of these factors was compounded by the operation of biases within the electoral system.
 
Article
The concept of depoliticisation has become increasingly popular in recent years, but empirical studies into depoliticisation policies have been less prevalent. Absent from the literature, too, are any clearly delineated criteria by which the success or failure of such policies might be assessed. This article attempts to address these issues through an examination of Britain's membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism from 1990 to 1992. In contrast to the conventional view of this episode, in which it is seen as a policy disaster, it is argued that as a policy of depoliticisation ERM membership was a relative success.
 
Article
The Korean peninsula is one of the most dangerous places on the planet. Decisions relating to the peninsula are for high stakes, and one small error can potentially result in an enormously destructive war. This article seeks to assess whether strategies of engagement or coercion can improve the chances of North Korea co-operating with either the US or South Korea. Using Vector Autoregression (VAR) techniques I assess the behavioural patterns of the North Korean regime in response to the actions of the states involved in the six-party talks between 1990 and 2000. The article finds that there were dramatic differences between the negotiating strategies employed by both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in their dealings with both the US and South Korea. The results suggest that, in being able to manipulate US foreign policy, the North Koreans are punching well above their weight and that the chances of a meaningful settlement with the regime of Kim Jong Il are very small.
 
Article
During the 1992 Parliament the Conservative Party lost its reputation for unity. The parliamentary party, said by some to be unusually rebellious, got the blame. This article places the levels of dissent in the division lobbies of the House of Commons in historical perspective, comparing the 1992 Parliament with those before. Contrary to received wisdom, Conservative MPs were not noticeably more rebellious after 1992. The article also considers the ideological and factional basis of the rebellions. Because the rebellions in Parliament focused almost exclusively on Europe, the party remained one of tendencies, albeit well-organised and cohesive tendencies, rather than factions; and the extent to which the rebellions cut across existing ideological cleavages has been overstated.
 
Article
With the emphasis on loyalty and unity and an aversion to ideological disputation the Parliamentary Conservative Party (PCP) has traditionally been described as a party of tendencies, rather than factions. The Cowley and Norton study of the ideological and factional basis of rebellion argues that the 1992–97 PCP adhered to the party of tendencies definition. However, through the development of a new three-dimensional, eight-fold typology of Conservatism, that involves behavioural and attitudinal mapping, it can be demonstrated that between 1992 and 1997 the PCP did display evidence of factionalism.
 
Article
There is a wealth of research into time series dynamics of bureaucratic control in the federal presidential system of the US, but no equivalent investigation in unitary parliamentary systems. This article proposes an approach for measurement of the effect of political interventions on bureaucratic outputs in British politics. It throws some light on tools of bureaucratic control that are associated with the fusion of legislative and executive powers in Britain's Westminster system. In contrast to the US, political control in the form of oversight or appointments is not required because government is able to intervene directly in bureaucratic activities through legislative, executive and administrative controls. It uses Box-Tiao time series models to analyse administration of the UK asylum system by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office.
 
Article
Questions of standards in public life came to the fore of British politics during the 1992–1997 parliament. Concerns were expressed over the probity of individual politicians and of political parties and worries extended to the health of the British system of government as a whole. Underlying these news stories, however, were wider issues concerning attitudes towards government. Furthermore, these concerns about standards were also extensively reported during the 1997 election campaign, and were widely held, in popular accounts, to have played a part in the Conservative government's dramatic defeat. But, surprisingly, few academic analyses have tried to gauge either the extent of public concerns in 1997, or whether they really had an impact on party support. More generally, recent political science interest has focused on fears of declining public trust in the democratic system, throughout the western world. This article explores British voters' trust in their polity.
 
Article
This article analyses Liberal Democrat voting in the 1997 parliament. Overall, Liberal Democrat MPs were most likely to find themselves voting with the Labour government than with the Conservatives. But the Liberal Democrats became noticeably less supportive of the government, and more favourable towards the Conservatives, as the parliament went on. There are also clear differences between different types of votes, with the Liberal Democrats being much more likely to support the government over votes on the principle of legislation than on the detail. To use the Party's own phrase of constructive opposition, the data appear to indicate that they began to stress the ‘opposition’, whilst still retaining the ‘constructive’.
 
Article
Tony Blair's New Labour government came to power in 1997, promising a new attitude towards Europe, distinct from the ‘Euroscepticism’ associated with its predecessors, the Conservative party. Analysts were keen to highlight this as a significant shift in British politics, pointing in particular to Blair's instrumental role in the development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) as evidence of the change. This article examines Labour attitudes towards both the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the ESDP in comparison with those of its Conservative predecessors to argue that Blair's actions represented more a policy of adaptation than a momentous change in UK policy.
 
Article
In developing a framework for relations with China since 1997, official UK policy towards China has had two main aims: to develop commercial opportunities for UK companies and to promote ‘positive’ social and political change in China. Although some have argued that this represents a contradictory set of objectives, the counter argument is found in liberal theory. Economic engagement will create a dense network of transnational interactions that will generate political change in China as it becomes deeply enmeshed in the global economy. If we follow the logic of this approach through, then the UK government has transferred much of the power to attain its stated objectives in relations with China from traditional diplomatic agencies to governmental economic agencies. More important, individual companies, whilst pursuing their own commercial activities, are effectively carrying out government policy in relation to China. Thus, the key actors in post-diplomatic relations with China are increasingly non-state economic actors.
 
Article
A number of recent accounts of UK social policy under New Labour have emphasised the continuing Americanisation of the British welfare state. This article does not deny the influence of the US but rather seeks to balance it with an account of the growing Europeanisation of UK social policy. It argues that Americanisation and Europeanisation are distinct in terms of both content and process. Since these are not mutually exclusive, the UK is currently influenced by both. This situation is illustrated by looking at three social policy issues under New Labour: social exclusion, the New Deal and the treatment of lone parents.
 
Article
This article explores the domestic formulation of UK European defence policy 1997–2000 through the intergovernmental meetings at Pörtschach and Saint Malo which set in train the development and codification of a common European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in 2000, through a Liberal Intergovernmentalist (LI) framework. This research leads to five conclusions: first, that the Saint Malo initiative was a tactical shift of government policies rather than core preferences; second, that the prime minister centralised European defence policy-making within the core executive; third, that the prime minister was crucial to the development of the initiative; fourth, that the presentation of the initiative was made on lowest common denominator grounds; and, lastly, that the ‘successive limited comparisons’ framework provides an effective corrective to LI's domestic policy formulation hypotheses.
 
Article
Elections for the Scottish Parliament and for all Scottish local authorities were held on the same day in 1999 and 2003, allowing a more detailed exploration of turnout variations than has been possible before. On both occasions, turnout in the two sets of elections was almost identical so that reported ward turnout at local level also indicates ward turnout in the parliament elections. Parliamentary turnout is analysed at both constituency and ward levels. The latter gives us greater confidence in the constituency results and also suggests some relationships which are not apparent at constituency level. The strongest determinant of turnout is consistently found to be the proportion of adults with a degree; religious affiliation, here analysed for the first time at the aggregate level, is also strongly related to turnout.
 
Article
The unease at being part of the EU, as presently constructed at all levels of state and society in the UK, means that the main political parties have to wrestle with finding a clear policy direction towards the EU. Historical analysis of the UK's exceptionalism towards the EU is well documented. While it is perfectly acceptable to view the UK position as a pro and anti dichotomy, this fails to account for the nuances in the debate, and the strategies and difficulties that all three major UK political parties have in dealing with the EU issue. The approach of the main UK political parties towards the EU from the setting up of the European Convention to the first three months of the UK presidency of the EU in 2005 has shifted, with the EU issue being repackaged within the broader themes of political economy and internationalism. Through these, the UK government and Labour Party, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have found appropriate mechanisms for confronting Europe.
 
Article
The importance of campaigning at British general elections seems to vary across the country's three main political parties, although it is of particular salience for the Liberal Democrats. Existing research suggests that the Liberal Democrats use the combination of local success and grass-roots activism as a stepping stone to achieve the prize aim of parliamentary representation. It could be argued that local factors are likely to account for more of the spatial variation in votes for the Liberal Democrats than is the case for the main parties. Using Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR) to model the parties' relative vote shares, we find that intensive campaigning, not only what is spent but also the role of the local MP as a representative, particularly where there were first-time incumbents, was a significant influence on the Liberal Democrat vote in 2001 when compared against the Conservatives and Labour.
 
Article
The 2001 General Election generated considerable interest and also much criticism of politicians' use of the Internet. Via content analysis, search engines and database material, this article examines candidates' and local constituency parties' on-line activity in three areas: first, the extent of Internet use by candidates and local parties—who and how many candidates had live websites for the election?; second, the pattern of on-line activity at the local level—where were parties/candidates on-line?; and third, what were candidates doing on-line—did candidates experiment with interactivity, or use the new media as another top-down communication tool? The survey indicates that use of the Internet was patchy and websites often acted as little more than static on-line leaflets. Moreover, the overall impact of the Internet on electoral outcomes was minimal and use of the technology by itself is unlikely to herald the coming of e-democracy. However, we also argue that some of the criticism levelled at parties is misplaced and that there are good reasons why parties have so far behaved cautiously.
 
Article
The turnout of 59.4 per cent at the 2001 general election was the lowest since 1918. It has been widely assumed that ethnic or religious minority electors are less likely to vote in general elections than white electors. Furthermore, electoral participation is regarded as both an indicator of the integration of minority communities and the quality of the democratic system. However, existing research that attempts to provide ethnic or religious specific estimates relies heavily on survey data or aggregate data. Most surveys do not overcome the problems of misreporting, non-response bias and a small sample size. Ecological estimates for minority groups are based on potentially spurious inferences from aggregate to individual data. In short, evidence of lower turnout among ethnic and religious minority electors remains inconclusive. Here we use an alternative method to gauge the level of participation among South Asian electors at the 2001 general election. This article uses evidence from complete sets of marked electoral registers from a random sample of 97 wards at the 2001 general election, analysed using names recognition software. This allows a unique analysis of electoral turnout among Britain's South Asian communities. Using religious origin to aid comparisons with other data sources, the results show turnout is as high or higher for South Asian electors than the rest of the population, but this varies by religious groups. For Hindus, turnout was significantly higher than the overall rate. Also using a multi-level logistic regression model, we find that South Asian turnout is statistically significantly higher in areas where there are more South Asians in the electorate, which is where overall turnout rates are much lower.
 
Article
The Liberal Democrats have become synonymous with the idea of ‘community politics’. This means being active in communities between elections in order to build a profile from which the party benefits at subsequent elections. This article examines the constituency organisation of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in order to ask how deserved the reputation for ‘community politics’ is in the Scottish context. It assesses how extensive the party organisation is, and how active that organisation is both between and during election campaigns. The first section of the article assesses the importance of local parties. The second section examines the extent of Scottish Liberal Democrat membership and societal penetration. The third and fourth sections address levels of activity between and during elections. The article concludes with a short assessment of the implications for the party.
 
Article
The European Parliament elections in June 2004 coincided with local elections in many parts of England. In four regions of the country these elections were conducted entirely by postal ballots; in four other regions traditional methods of polling were used. Overall turnout was higher where all-postal voting was in place, but having local in addition to European elections made an independent and significant contribution to the level of electoral participation in all postal and non-postal regions alike. The pattern of party choice at the two types of contest also varied considerably. The three major political parties together took a much larger share of the overall vote at the local than at the European elections, and each independently ‘lost’ a sizeable number of its local votes to smaller parties. Aggregate level analysis suggests that voters assess the importance of electoral contests along a continuum and, in Britain in 2004 at least, treated local elections as less ‘second-order’ than pan-European ones.
 
Article
This article is a critical feminist analysis of the UK Gender Recognition Act of 2004. This Act is radical in enabling transgenders to gain certificates recognising their new ‘acquired gender’ without undergoing hormonal or surgical treatment. The Act has considerable implications for marriage, for motherhood and fatherhood, for women who are the partners of men or women who ‘transition’ and for ‘women-only’ spaces. It is based on confusing and contradictory notions of the difference between sex and gender. As such it should be of great interest to feminists but there has been a dearth of feminist commentary. The understandings of sex and gender and of the importance of the Act will be explored here through analysis of the parliamentary debates and public responses.
 
Article
Recently, we proposed an original statistical model for forecasting general elections in the United Kingdom, based on the observation of a few key indicators of the political and economic system. That vote function model was tested against the results of the 2001 general election. Here we evaluate the results of that test, and offer an appropriately revised model for the forecasting of the upcoming 2005 general election. According to our forecast, a Labour victory appears the most likely outcome.
 
Article
Although neural networks are increasingly used in a variety of disciplines there are few applications in political science. Approaches to electoral forecasting traditionally employ some form of linear regression modelling. By contrast, neural networks offer the opportunity to consider also the non-linear aspects of the process, promising a better performance, efficacy and flexibility. The initial development of this approach preceded the 2001 general election and models correctly predicted a Labour victory. The original data used for training and testing the network were based on the responses of two experts to a set of questions covering each general election held since 1835 up to 1997. To bring the model up to date, 2001 election data were added to the training set and two separate neural networks were trained using the views of our original two experts. To generate a forecast for the forthcoming general election, answers to the same questions about the performance of parties during the current parliament, obtained from a further 35 expert respondents, were offered to the neural networks. Both models, with slightly different probabilities, forecast another Labour victory. Modelling electoral forecasts using neural networks is at an early stage of development but the method is to be adapted to forecast party shares in local council elections. The greater frequency of such elections will offer better opportunities for training and testing the neural networks.
 
Article
The article provides a set of contingent forecasts for the forthcoming UK general election. The forecasts are based on popularity function derived from monthly time series data covering the period 1997–2004. On most likely assumptions, the forecasts produce a clear Labour victory in the early summer of 2005, with the Liberal Democrats increasing their vote share by roughly four percentage points.
 
Article
The liberalisation of the rules covering postal voting attracted a good deal of attention during the 2005 general election campaign, including several allegations of fraud and malpractice. This article uses both survey and aggregate-level data to examine the increase in the numbers of postal voters and its impact on both turnout and party choice at that election. It demonstrates the legacy of the all-postal voting pilots held between 2000 and 2004 in prompting a rise in the postal electorate, and a consequent reduction in the correlation between constituency marginality and turnout. In general, however, postal voting on demand did not prove to be a panacea for the turnout ‘problem’ and had only a very weak effect on the distribution of party support.
 
Article
In the spring of 2009, long months after the September 2008 financial tsunami had begun its destructive journey around the financial machineries of the global system, the governing party of the United Kingdom, one of two countries whose financial centres had precipitated all the trouble, is still in place, notwithstanding the almost audible sound of a population tapping its collective foot as it awaits an electoral opportunity to wreak a measure of revenge. But the electorate is condemned to wait upon the convenience of the government and administrative machineries that are responsible for the debacle. This seems unreasonable. One might ask how is this possible and what—speculatively—could happen to improve matters; that is, one can ask how the elite's insulating machineries might be reduced in order to bring them more routinely within the reach of the judgements of the electorate.
 
Article
Neil Kinnock expressed scepticism about Gordon Brown's likely showing in the 2010 election debates, suggesting that the Labour leader had a ‘radio face’. We report an experiment in which students were split randomly between audio and video conditions for the third debate. As Kinnock predicted, Gordon Brown was more often proclaimed the winner by listeners. Nick Clegg, not David Cameron, benefited most from television. These differences were statistically significant despite a small sample (n = 63). We test three explanations for Clegg's advantage: (i) that television boosts the salience of certain traits (notably attractiveness); (ii) that television boosts the importance of ‘style’ over ‘substance’; (iii) that listeners form judgements based on performance throughout the debate, while viewers are disproportionately influenced by memorable incidents or remarks. There is evidence supporting all three explanations.
 
Article
This article examines the figurative appropriations of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, drawing on a selective audit from newspapers, television, radio and blogs during the 2010 general election period. The flurry of excitement produced by Clegg's sudden visibility during the election campaign offers a unique opportunity to observe the hasty moulding of a new political persona. Across the mediascape, political commentators and humorists employed an expressive range of critique and humour to reflect on Clegg's new-found appeal. We present analysis of the various mediated attempts to ascribe to Clegg certain characteristics and values through the use of labelling, metaphor and other popular culture allusions. It is especially in the unpicking of the prevalent sexualised metaphor that our research prompts wider queries about the current mediation of British political culture.
 
Article
This analysis traces the evolution of ideas about one of the most important policies facing any state: taxation. The article will demonstrate that elite ideas about tax policy have changed dramatically over the past century and that these ideas have had enormous consequences for the development of the modern state. This article argues that there is an iterative, interdependent and dynamic relationship between policy makers’ ideas, political institutions and public policy outcomes.
 
Article
This article reports the results of a 2004 survey of academics, specialising in British politics and/or modern British history, asking them to rate all the 20th-century British prime ministers in terms of their success in office and also asking them to assess the key characteristics of successful prime ministers. The top-ranked PMs were (in order) Attlee, Churchill, Lloyd George and Thatcher. In contrast to the many and regular surveys of American academics ranking US presidents, this is the first large-scale exercise of this type in British political science. Analysis of the findings in terms of the characteristics of the survey respondents helps shed light on the survey results.
 
Article
By the late 1980s changes in the British and global political, social and economic situation necessitated a major rethink of the Labour party's policy approach. This rethink began with the 1987 Policy Reviews and continues to develop under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. In contrast to many critics of New Labour's economic and social reforms this article argues that the party is not acting on simple pragmatic grounds, nor are they simply a ‘kinder’ neo-liberal party. Rather, it is argued that there is a clear coherence to New Labour's governing approach and that this is itself guided by the leadership's understanding of endogenous growth theory. The long-term goal is that by adopting an endogenous growth strategy the government will be able to re-institute an activist policy regime capable of promoting the party's traditional values of equality, justice and fairness within a socioeconomic policy designed to ensure long-term growth and prosperity.
 
Article
Northern Ireland, we are told, holds positive lessons for other societies emerging from violent conflict. As Britain is one of the leading proponents of liberal internationalism, this article considers whether the liberal internationalism pushed with so much enthusiasm abroad through British foreign policy has been applied with diligence at home—in the Northern Ireland peace process. The findings suggest that Northern Ireland is by no means a poster child for liberal internationalism. Instead, British government handling of the Northern Ireland peace process shows serious deviations from the liberal internationalist canon. This article argues that liberal peace-lite has been tolerated and facilitated at home, while a stricter variant is often expected in overseas contexts.
 
Article
This article examines the increasing use of Northern Ireland as a ‘model’ for resolving conflicts. It seeks to identify what may constitute an Irish ‘model’ and to examine it in relation to three key aspects of existing conflict resolution theory: the timings of peace processes, the role of third parties and how to deal with ‘spoilers’. The article argues that the existing theory is currently ill-matched to both the Northern Ireland case and the ‘model’ that some have sought to extrapolate from it. It stresses the need to examine the Northern Ireland case in context if we are to learn any lessons from it that may be of use in other conflict resolution attempts.
 
Article
According to literature on organised interests in the European Union, the European Parliament's Environment Committee (ENVI) gives environmental interests a potent point of legislative access. Yet while ENVI helped sustain the EP's commitment to environmental interests in the case of the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive adopted in September 2000, it did not do so for REACH, a regulatory framework for the chemicals sector adopted by the EP and Council in December 2006. Ultimately, the value of legislative access for organised interest groups depends on the extent to which they have privileged interactions with a node in the policy-making apparatus and the degree to which actors in the policy-making process defer to the particular institutional node. For environmental interests, both privileged interactions between environmentalists and ENVI and deference to the committee decline when environmentalists seek regulations that impose concentrated costs on producers. Such instances invoke calls to protect industrial competitiveness and intensify conflict between EP committees.
 
Article
The accession and coronation oaths legitimate the monarchy and the UK political system but perpetuate a religious settlement originally legislated over 300 years ago. Some elements have been subsequently adjusted to reflect the changing composition of the union and in the 20th century influences from the ‘dominions’ have led to changes in the religious elements which have a questionable legal basis in the UK and significant domestic consequences. A major public review of them is necessary if they are to be adapted suitably for the changed circumstances of the contemporary era.
 
Article
Britain has been chief accomplice in the ‘global war on terror’ (GWOT) from the outset. This article examines the underside of that voluntary servitude—the complicity in torture and abuse, humiliation and rendition. It asks, inter alia, what we know, and how we know, and why we should care.
 
The Functional Dimension in Relations between Civil Society and the State
Article
The article attempts to offer a framework for understanding the interdependence between modern civil society and the democratic state in its complexity. The author seeks inspiration mainly from two very significant sources—in Toqueville's social theory and in Giddens’ theory of reflexive modernity. In the first stage the author summarises basic arguments in empirical discussions on the civil society concept. In the second stage he offers the overview of a robust normative perspective of the concept and, in the third stage, he tries to outline the complex interpretative framework for an empirical analysis of state–civil society relations. The author follows the ambition of overcoming to a certain extent the crucial sociological paradox between the macro- and micro- sociological approaches and considering both the functional-structural perspective and the empirical point of view of the civil society concept.
 
Article
This article focuses on the changing context for transatlantic relations within the global political economy. The first part of the article identifies key areas of structural change in the GPE and in particular the potentially revolutionary shifts caused by global instability and the emergence of new economic powers. The argument then explores changing patterns of economic relations between the EU and the US, within a general framework of continuity created by the coexistence of competition and convergence. These contextual factors are then related to patterns of Atlanticism and transatlanticism, to questions of values and identities in the GPE and to the possibility of an EU–US ‘grand strategy’ for the changing GPE. The conclusion argues that although there is perhaps more secure ground for a sustainable EU–US ‘compact’ than previously, the EU and the US may have ‘missed the bus’ in terms of jointly shaping the future of the global economy.
 
Article
An extrapolation, analysis and evaluation of papers recently released by the British government suggest that, backstage, the British and US governments condoned Turkish military objectives in Cyprus, at least to the extent of agreeing to take no serious action to dissuade Turkey from invading. The papers suggest British government foreknowledge of Turkey's objectives; Henry Kissinger's express delaying tactics to afford Turkey more time to consolidate its invasion; French anger at the Foreign Office for not providing them with information; British concern about a future Greek government turning to the French for support; and the British government's desire to give up its military territories in Cyprus. Overall, the picture which emerges is that the Wilson government gave in to Henry Kissinger's policies. It appears clear that Britain, despite its responsibilities and initial misgivings about Turkey's behaviour, gave the lead to the US.
 
Top-cited authors
John Street
  • University of East Anglia
Stephen Ward
  • University of Salford
Colin Hay
  • Sciences Po, Paris & The University of Sheffield
Matthew Vincent Flinders
  • The University of Sheffield
Alan Finlayson
  • University of East Anglia