chapter  6
8 Pages

The Left, the Nation-State and European Citizenship

As the European Union (EU) moves steadily towards fuller political integration in the form of the single European currency, attitudes on the left towards projects of supranational governance remain ambivalent. Currently in Britain, the Labour Party under Tony Blair presents itself as markedly more Eurofriendly than the defeated Conservatives but historically the two parties have not always aligned themselves in this way. Both parties have been divided between pro-and anti-Europeans but until the arrival of Margaret Thatcher enthusiasm for the European project ran higher among the Conservatives. On the Labour left, membership of the European Economic Community (as it was called then) was seen as imposing a straitjacket of economic orthodoxy on the policies of national governments, and although this point of view has become heretical under New Labour, we can expect to see it expressed more often as the debate about whether to join the single currency heats up. Equally, pressures from big business will in due course force the Conservative Party to moderate its present Euro-sceptic stance.