Elitism, Populism, and European Politics

By Jack E. S. Hayward | Go to book overview

Conclusion
Has European Unification by Stealth a Future?

JACK HAYWARD

From its inception, the post-war movement to achieve European integration was characterized by its reliance upon the exertion of behind-the-scenes influence by a few self-conscious agents of change. Personified by Jean Monnet, who was accustomed to the manipulation of politicians whose expectancy of high office in any government was likely to be short-lived and of bureaucrats more inclined to inertia than innovation, there has subsequently been an endeavour to institutionalize this role in the President of the Commission. While it might be necessary from time to time to adopt a high-profile stance to precipitate a crucial change, this would have been preceded by prolonged and unobtrusive preparations, so that what may appear to the public as a bold initiative has been anything but improvised. Without the assistance of a major cataclysm that can mobilize mass support for spectacular change, reliance has been placed upon those occupying key positions to use their power to make incremental changes discreetly. 1 Rather than engaging in the slow and difficult task of persuading the general public of the need for changes before making them, there has been a proclivity on the part of the few well-informed insiders to place before the many ill-informed outsiders a fait accompli. Have the principal agents of European integration been right in believing that this was the most effective way to achieve their purpose?

Whatever the answer to this question may be today, to start the integrative process half a century ago required proceeding surreptitiously and indirectly, rather than openly to the accompaniment of resounding public declarations. Although eloquent exhortations in favour of European unity were made, notably by Winston Churchill, it is significant that his own country refused to take the lead or even respond to the lead offered by others. In a Europe quickly rent by the Cold War, in which the choice was not so much between Left and Right but between East

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Elitism, Populism, and European Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Tables ix
  • LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS x
  • Introduction Mediocre Élites Elected by Mediocre Peoples 1
  • Note 9
  • 1: The Populist Challenge to Élitist Democracy in Europe 10
  • Notes 30
  • 2 - 'Losing Touch' in a Democracy: Demands Versus Needs 33
  • Notes 60
  • 3: Freedom from the Press 67
  • Notes 86
  • 4: From Representative to Responsive Government? 88
  • Notes 99
  • 5: The European Union, the Political Class, and the People 101
  • Notes 120
  • 6: Political Parties and the Public Accountability of Leaders 121
  • Notes 141
  • 7: Élite-Mass Linkages in Europe: Legitimacy Crisis or Party Crisis? 143
  • Notes 160
  • 8: Organized Interests as Intermediaries 164
  • Notes 186
  • 9: Mediating between the Powerless and the Powerful 190
  • Notes 202
  • 10: Public Demands and Economic Constraints: All Italians Now? 203
  • Notes 219
  • 11: The Fluctuating Rationale of Monetary Union 220
  • 4: Conclusion 235
  • Notes 237
  • 12: Has Government by Committee Lost the Public's Confidence? 238
  • Notes 249
  • Conclusion Has European Unification by Stealth a Future? 252
  • Notes 257
  • Index 259
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