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Politics of sovereignty: Britain and European Monetary Union.

Keitch, Raymond John (2002) Politics of sovereignty: Britain and European Monetary Union. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

The thesis examines the interrelationship between conceptions of British sovereignty and European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The central argument advanced is that the multiple discourses of sovereignty generated in the political debate have been a key influence in understanding British government policy on EMU. Before 1997 both Conservative government policy and Labour opposition policy on EMU was marked by an overall "wait and see" approach and a referendum commitment. After 1997 there was a divergence between the "Yes subject to economic tests" policy of the Labour government and the "No for two Parliaments" policy of the Conservative opposition. The multiple discourses of sovereignty focused on the locus of sovereignty (executive, parliamentary or popular) and the divisibility of sovereignty (pooling, differentiated or absolutist). These discourses taken together influenced policy in a number of identifiable ways. Initial chapters outline the epistemological approach of discourse analysis, the interpretation of sovereignty as a social construct and the serious challenges of EMU to British conceptions of sovereignty. The relationships between the discourses of sovereignty and government policy on EMU are examined in the political debate from the Maastricht ratification process in 1992/3 to the aftermath of the European election of 1999. Five arguments are advanced. Firstly, the discourses of sovereignty reinforced the cautious "wait and see" policy. Secondly, sovereignty was a key component of Conservative divisions, which influenced Conservative government policy (1992-1997). Thirdly, Conservative divisions, arguments on popular sovereignty, and reaction by the Labour opposition fostered the referendum commitment by both major parties. Fourthly, the referendum commitment itself strongly influenced Labour government policy (1997-2001). Finally, the alternative discourses of pooling and absolutist sovereignty between the two major parties prefigured the 1997 policy divergence. Other factors influencing government policy on EMU are considered. The conclusion stresses the key influence of the multiple discourses of sovereignty.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2111

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