By Jeffrey Pickering;
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Extra resources for Britain’s Withdrawal from East of Suez: The Politics of Retrenchment
1. In contrast to the other pressures which shaped the coalition-building process, their presence was nearly continual and their significance extended well beyond the single issue of overseas Decline and the Politics of Retrenchment 25 military bases. ' 21 A constant cause is one that affects policymakers year after year. It is a long-term, perhaps even permanent, phenomenon which has deep social and political consequences for the polity. The outcome produced by such a variable is relatively continuous.
And when popular attitudes did diverge from those of the government, they more often than not reflected opinions expressed by segments of the articulate public. 56 This should not imply that foreign policy initiatives were invariably given blanket support by the mass public at this time. Dissent, sometimes very vocal, was registered, with the activities of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the late 1950s and 1960s being a prominent example. But such opposition was more often the exception than the rule, and it rarely persuaded government decision-makers or changed policies.
71 To explain a major transformation of policy such as retrenchment, it is thus logical to concentrate on periods of crisis. Focusing on three transition periods in post-1945 British foreign policy does neglect notable events in the evolution of Britain's overseas military role. But, for reasons given above, none of these events would be expected to result in a major transformation of east of Suez policy, such as retrenchment. And, in fact, none did. A solid example is found in the 1952 Defence Policy and Global Strategy Paper, which was perhaps the most significant instance when dramatic change was contemplated outside of the three transition periods.