Non-party organisations and campaigns on European integration in Britain, 1945-1986: political and public activism

Richardson, David William (2014). Non-party organisations and campaigns on European integration in Britain, 1945-1986: political and public activism. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


Download (2MB)


This thesis is about non-party and non-governmental organisations campaigning for and against European integration in Britain between 1945 and 1986. These groups have been largely overlooked by studies on Britain’s relationship with Europe. The thesis will examine how these groups operated between the spheres of public activism and institutional politics. They targeted the general public directly with the aim of becoming popular mass movements, and focused on emotive and populist themes and adopted a moralistic tone as part of a broad non-party or cross-party appeal. Old-fashioned methods of activism, including pamphleteering and mass meetings, were used to cultivate a groundswell of support. However, these groups were not able to wrest control of the EEC membership issue away from Westminster. In the case of anti-EEC groups, attempts to acquire political influence and attract more parliamentarians to the campaign were at odds with the “anti-establishment” or “anti-political” tone adopted by sections of their support. Divisions over whether to adopt a more “insider” strategy of lobbying and adopting the model of a research-based think-tank or whether to continue seeking mass support stifled the campaign. Disagreement over strategy, and the confused position between public protest and Westminster politics, caused the anti-EEC campaign’s to fail.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: Leverhulme Trust
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year