This is a critical time for the relationship between Britain and Europe, as politicians debate the balance of competencies between governance at EU and national levels. Charting how recent political developments have changed the debate surrounding Britain’s membership of the European Union, this book poses a series of questions about how this debate will unfold over the course of the coming months and years:
- How has the renegotiation agenda shifted?
- How will EU partners respond to threats of departure from Britain?
- What is the impact of the rise of rightwing parties like Ukip?
- What will the 2015 general election and its highly unpredictable outcome change?
- What are the politics of a referendum on membership in 2017?
By seeking answers to these questions, Roger Liddle assesses whether a series of miscalculated gambles by David Cameron and his forebears have left Britain teetering on the edge of Brexit.
Introduction / How we got here: the remorseless logic of Conservative division on the European question / The shifting renegotiation agenda / Will our EU partners deliver what Cameron needs? / The politics of a 2017 referendum / The uncertainties of the May 2015 general election / What would be different with a Labour-led government? / Conclusion
Roger Liddle is chair of Policy Network and became a life peer in 2010. He was formerly Tony Blair’s special adviser on European policy and subsequently worked for three years in the European commission, first in the trade commissioner’s cabinet and then advising the president of the commission. He has been at the heart of the Europe debate for two decades, with detailed knowledge of both the politics and public policy. Roger has written extensively on European and British affairs, including The Blair Revolution (with Peter Mandelson, 1996), Global Europe, Social Europe (with Anthony Giddens and Patrick Diamond, 2006) and Beyond New Labour (with Patrick Diamond, 2009), and most recently The Europe Dilemma: the Drama of EU Integration (2014), as well as several other Fabian Society and Policy Network pamphlets.
He also coauthored two papers for the president of the European commission’s thinktank, the Bureau of European Policy Advisers, on Europe’s Social Reality (February 2007) and the Single Market: Yesterday and Tomorrow (July 2006), and since then has contributed to various edited collections on the single market, the social challenges facing Europe, the case for a social investment strategy and Britain’s European policy.