Job advertised in The Times Higher , November 21 2003
The European Union still makes headlines in Britain with almost monotonous regularity more than 30 years after it joined the club.
Perhaps more so than any other member state, a significant number of British voters - and newspapers - regard the EU with suspicion, at best, and outright hostility, at worst. The success of the UK Independence Party at the recent European elections is further evidence of this phenomenon.
Public opinion about the EU and its political institutions are two of Richard Whitaker's main research interests. He started on July 1 as a lecturer in European politics at Leicester University's politics department.
Dr Whitaker attributes Britain's scepticism about the EU to the fact that it was not part of the experiment from the start. He says this stance is unlikely to change in the near future. For this reason, Dr Whitaker, who has a doctorate from Manchester University, believes it likely that the planned referendums on both the euro and the European Constitution will be lost in Britain. The latter may suffer the same fate in other EU member states.
The post is Dr Whitaker's first permanent position and was preceded by temporary roles at the universities of Nottingham and Salford, where he studied as an undergraduate.
Dr Whitaker is a member of the multinational European Parliament Research Group, which brings together leading scholars of the European Parliament from Europe and North America.
The politics department at Leicester is on the up, according to Dr Whitaker. It earned a 3 in the last research assessment exercise, and he says the pressure is on to improve the score.