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Signalling Moderation: UK Trade Unions, ‘New Labour’ and the Single Currency

Steve Coulter

LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series from European Institute, LSE

Abstract: The paper examines why, and under what conditions, certain interest groups adopt positive positions on international economic issues. It provides a case study of how UK trade unions formed their preferences on membership of the EMU. Previous explanations of this have tended to emphasise the international dimension – either the material benefits on offer or whether or not they became ‘Europeanised’. A few authors are now exploring domestic political explanations instead. The paper builds on this growing literature to argue that the TUC, the peak association of organised labour in the UK, became extremely pro-EMU as part of a strategy to demonstrate its moderation to Tony Blair’s centrist ‘New’ Labour party, which was distancing itself from unions to court business.

Keywords: New Labour; trade unions; interest group politics; EMU; Europeanisation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-12
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