Between political controversy and administrative efficiency
Kenneth A. Armstrong and Simon Bulmer
European integration has represented one of the most fundamental challenges for politics in the United Kingdom since 1945. Integration has highlighted the problems of, and possibilities for, the re-orientation of foreign policy as part of the United Kingdom's post-war descent from world power status. The authors have argued that two broad patterns of European policy conduct can be identified in the United Kingdom. Under circumstances of a small parliamentary majority, they argued that continued British sensitivity to issues of sovereignty could result in issues of European policy being handled in a highly symbolic, rhetoricised manner. However, they also argued that much European policy did not trigger these sovereignty concerns and was consequently conducted at a more technical level. There are two apparently contradictory patterns evident in the management of British European policy. One is a pattern of centralisation and the other trend is more centrifugal.