This book provides a long-term perspective on the opinions of the British public on foreign and defence policy in the post-war era. Thematically wide-ranging, it looks at the broader role of foreign and defence policy in British politics and elections, public opinion towards Britain’s key international relationships and alliances (the United States, NATO, the EU and the Commonwealth), and public opinion towards the projection of ‘soft power’ (overseas aid) and ‘hard power’ (defence spending, nuclear weapons and military intervention). Assessing the main areas of change and continuity in the public’s views, it also pays close attention to the dividing lines in wider society over foreign and defence policy.
Analysing an extensive range of surveys and opinion polls, the book situates the analysis in the wider context of Britain’s changing foreign policy role and priorities in the post-war era, as well as linking public opinion with the politics of British external policy – the post-war consensus on Britain’s overseas role, historical and contemporary areas of inter-party debate, and enduring intra-party divides.
This text will be of key interest to scholars and students of British politics, European politics, foreign policy analysis, public opinion, defence and security studies and more broadly to comparative politics and international relations.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Foreign and Defence Policy as an Issue Area in British Politics 3. The US and NATO 4. European Integration 5. Overseas Aid 6. Defence Spending and Nuclear Weapons 7. Military Intervention 8. Conclusion
Ben Clements is Associate Professor in the School of History, Politics and International Relations, at the University of Leicester, UK.