It is widely argued that Britain has always followed a coherent imperialist strategy in Northern Ireland. Paul Bew and Henry Patterson take issue with this assumption in the first serious study of British policy towards Ulster over the past twenty years. They demonstrate, through a detailed examination of the twists and turns of successive governments, the fundamental incoherence of Britain's approach in its oldest colony.
Simplified notions about the consistency of British policy have led to undue pessimism amongst those advocating progressive change in the North. As a consequence they have missed real opportunities to achieve significant political realignment by exploiting the contradictions in Britain's stance.
Rejecting both the nationalist stance which defines the crisis in terms of an occupying army and the traditional bi-partisan approach which sees it only as a problem of terrorism, The British State and the Ulster Crisis is a brave and original contribution to a vital contemporary debate.