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The domestic origins of depoliticisation in the area of British economic policy

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Publication details

JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
DatePublished - Nov 2005
Issue number4
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)526-543
Original languageEnglish


This article seeks to build on Peter Burnham's analysis of New Labour's depoliticisation statecraft as set out in an earlier volume of this journal. While Burnham provides a convincing account of how this new governing strategy differed from earlier 'politicised' methods of governance, we know less about why such change took place. Burnham makes a start by suggesting that developments in the international financial system go some way to explaining this shift. The main argument of this article is that this account of change needs to be supplemented by a focus on domestic factors. It is asserted below that politicised strategies failed in part because state managers governed within a strategically selective context which penalised the deployment of more activist and discretionary policy instruments in industrial affairs. Instead, this context was more favourable to the depoliticisation techniques which have emerged in the 1980s and the 1990s.

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