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Using Europe and abusing the Europeans: the Conservatives and the European community 1957–94

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The Conservative Party has traditionally presented itself as the more ‘pro‐European’ of the two larger parties in the UK, particularly after the first British EEC application was launched by the Macmillan government in 1961. This article argues that the key to understanding the Conservative approach to the European Community since 1957/58 lies in dissecting the dualism between, on the one hand, the policy‐making on Europe by the Conservative governing elite, which has traditionally felt itself comparatively free of domestic constraints, and, on the other, Conservative governments’ domestic presentation of policies and their European diplomacy which have been fundamentally determined by the highly ambivalent domestic political strategy of positioning the Conservatives as ‘the party of Europe’ and the ‘patriotic party’ at the same time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-399
Number of pages19
JournalContemporary British History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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