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The Road To MaastrichtNegotiating Economic and Monetary Union$
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Kenneth Dyson and Kevin Featherstone

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198296386

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019829638X.001.0001

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John Major: Between the Party and the IGC

John Major: Between the Party and the IGC

Chapter:
(p.644) 15 John Major: Between the Party and the IGC
Source:
The Road To Maastricht
Author(s):

Kenneth Dyson (Contributor Webpage)

Kevin Featherstone (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019829638X.003.0016

With the failure to delay or block the EMU initiative, Major was left to bridge the unbridgeable, caught between a divided party and European credibility. Party divisions prevented any radical shift of policy. More constructive rhetoric did not disguise essential policy continuity. Major's instincts were for pragmatism, but any scope for building alternative coalitions (e.g. with the German–Dutch bloc) were not exploited, despite compatibilities in policy belief (on monetary policy and on free markets). Thus, the end game became dominated by the technical design of an opt‐out from EMU and a weakening stage 2. The ‘victory’ on the opt‐out was somewhat hollow: not least because Britain's partners had all but given up on her. The problems of reconciling Britain's interests were graphically portrayed by its exit from the ERM in September 1992. The irony of Major's leadership was that, despite him giving priority to party unity, the Conservative Party was left in almost terminable decline and he failed to ease the constraints on his successor.

Keywords:   Black Wednesday, Britain, coalition building, Conservative Party, ERM, Norman Lamont, John Major, opt‐out, policy belief, subsidiarity

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