Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-p6h7k Total loading time: 0.425 Render date: 2022-05-29T06:25:13.109Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Unequal Plurality: Towards an Asymmetric Power Model of British Politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2014

Abstract

Until recently, Rhodes's ‘Differentiate Polity Model’ (DPM) has been the most analytically-developed model of the British political system, but it is not without its problems. Here, we argue that the DPM over-stresses the diffuse nature of power in Britain and the extent to which the state has been hollowed out. Instead, we contend that the British political system is more closed and elitist than the DPM acknowledges; rather than being hollowed-out, the state has been reconstituted and the core executive still remains the most powerful actor in the policy process. These themes are reflected in our own ‘Asymmetric Power model’.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2003.

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1 For example, see Birch, A. H., Representative and Responsible Government, London, Allen & Unwin, 1964 Google Scholar and Rhodes, R. A. W., Understanding Governance: Policy Networks, Governance, Reflexivity and Accountability, Buckingham, Open University Press, 1997 Google Scholar.

2 Gamble, A., ‘Theories of British Politics’, Political Studies, 34 (1990), p. 411 Google Scholar.

3 R. A. W. Rhodes, Understanding Governance.

4 See Marsh, D., Richards, D. and Smith, M. J., Changing Patterns of Governance in the United Kingdom: Reinventing Whitehall?, London, Macmillan, 2001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Richards, D. and Smith, M. J., Governance and Public Policy in the UK, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002 Google Scholar.

5 These arguments are presented in full in D. Marsh, D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit. and D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy, op. cit. There, the research is drawn from a large programme of elite interviews with politicians, civil servants and interest group representatives conducted between 1995–2001.

6 See D. Marsh, D. Richards, and M. J. Smith, op. cit. and D. Richards and M. J. Smith, op. cit.

7 See D. Marsh, D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit. and D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy, op. cit.

8 Marsh, D., ‘It's Always the Happy Hour for Men with Money, Knowledge and Power: Beyond Pluralism as the Approach to the Study of British Politics’, in Hay, C. (ed.), British Politics Today, Oxford, Polity, 2001 Google Scholar.

9 See D. Marsh, ‘It's Always the Happy Hour’, op. cit., and Kavanagh, D. and Richards, D., ‘Prime Ministers, Ministers and Civil Servants in Britain’, Comparative Sociology, Special Edition, 10 2002, pp. 1628 Google Scholar.

10 See D. Marsh, ‘It's Always the Happy Hour’, op. cit.

11 In addition, it is important to recognize that the relationship between ideas and institutions is a dialectical one; institutions affect cultures, which in turn, affect institutions. This point is dealt with at some length in a longer version of this article available from the authors.

12 On representation and responsibility, see A. H. Birch, Representative and Responsible Government, op. cit., and Judge, D., Representation, London, Routledge, 1999 Google ScholarPubMed; on the British political tradition, see Marsh, D., The British Political Tradition, University of Essex, Mimeo, 1980 Google Scholar; Tant, A., British Government: the Triumph of Elitism: A Study of the British Political Tradition and its Major Challenges, Aldershot, Dartmouth, 1993 Google Scholar; Marsh, D. and Read, M., Private Members' Bills, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988 Google Scholar; Marsh, D. and Tant, A., ‘Democracy Under Mrs Thatcher: Towards a Centralisation of Power’, in Haralambos, M. (ed.), Developments in Politics, Ormskirk, Causeway Press, 1991 Google Scholar; Evans, M., Charter 88: A Successful Challenge to the British Political Tradition, Aldershot, Dartmouth, 1995 Google Scholar; Marsh, D. and Kerr, P., Ideas and Institutions: The British Political Tradition and Constitutional Reform under New Labour, University of Birmingham, Mimeo, 2001 Google Scholar, and D. Marsh, ‘It's Always the Happy Hour’, op. cit.

13 See Judge, D., The Parliamentary State, London, Sage, 1993 Google Scholar; Beattie, A., ‘Ministerial Responsibility and the Theory of the Modern State’, in Rhodes, R. A. W. and Dunleavy, P., (ed.), Prime Minister, Cabinet and Core Executive Studies, London, Macmillan, 1995 Google Scholar.

14 See D. Judge, Representation, op. cit.

15 See D. Marsh and P. Kerr, Ideas and Institutions, op. cit. and D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy in the UK, op. cit.

16 See Richards, D. and Smith, M. J., ‘New Labour, Governance and Constitutional Reform’ in Smith, M. J., and Ludlam, S., (eds), New Labour in Power, London, Macmillan, 2000 Google Scholar.

17 Richards, D., ‘The Civil Service in Britain: a Case-Study in Path Dependency’ in Halligan, J., (ed.), Comparative Studies of National Civil Service Systems, London, Edward Elgar, 2003, pp. 210–31Google Scholar.

18 See D. Marsh, D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit., and D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy in the UK, op. cit.

19 Rhodes, R. A. W., ‘Governance and Public Administration’ in Pierre, J., Debating Governance, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 62 Google Scholar.

20 See D. Richards and M. J. Smith, ‘New Labour, Governance and Constitutional Reform’, op. cit. and D. Marsh and P. Kerr, Ideas and Institutions, op. cit.

21 See D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy in the U.K., op. cit.

22 Pierre, J. and Stoker, G., ‘Towards Multi-Level Governance’ in Dunleavy, P., Gamble, A., Heffernan, R., Holliday, I. and Peele, G., (eds) Developments in British Politics 6, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 2000, p. 29 Google Scholar.

23 Ibid., p. 29.

24 Rhodes, R. A. W., ‘Centre–Local Relations’, in Committee of Inquiry into Local Government Finance, The Relationship between Central and Local Government, London, HMSO, 1976 Google Scholar, and Rhodes, R. A. W., Control and Power in Central–Local Government Relations, 1st Edition, Aldershot, Gower, 1981 Google Scholar.

25 R. A. W. Rhodes, Understanding Governance, op. cit., p. 132.

26 Ibid., p. 15.

27 Ibid., p. 132.

28 Stoker, G., The New Management of British Local Governance, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1999, p. 3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

29 Fox, P. and Lowndes, V., ‘Between Rhetoric and Reality: Does the 2001 White Paper Reverse the Centralising Trend in Britain?’, Local Government Studies, 2002 Google Scholar.

30 Wilson, D., ‘Unravelling Control Freakery: Redefining Central-Local Relations’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 2003, p. x Google Scholar.

31 Ibid., p. x.

32 Ibid., p. x.

33 See D. Marsh, D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit. and D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy in the UK, op. cit.

34 Marsh, D. and Rhodes, R. A. W. (eds), Policy Networks in British Government, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

35 D. Marsh, D. Richards, and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit. pp. 181–208.

36 See ibid. and McLeay, E., ‘Policing Policy and Policy Networks in Britain and New Zealand’, in Marsh, D. (ed.), Comparing Policy Networks, Milton Keynes, Open University Press, 1998 Google Scholar.

37 D. Marsh and R. A. W. Rhodes, Policy Networks in British Government, op. cit.

38 See D. Marsh, D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit., pp. 181–208.

39 See Lawson, N., The View from Number Eleven, London, Bantham Press, 1992 Google Scholar.

40 Smith, M. J., The Core Executive in Britain, London, Macmillan, 1999 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

41 D. Marsh, D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit., pp. 132–54 and D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy in the UK, op. cit., pp. 199–229.

42 Ibid., pp. 224–7.

43 See D. Marsh, D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit., pp. 101–31, Richards, D. and Smith, M. J., Governance and Public Policy in the UK, pp. 199229 Google Scholar.

44 See Chapman, R. A., The Treasury in Public Policy Making, London, Routledge, 1997 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Dell, E., The Chancellors, London, Harper-Collins, 1997 Google Scholar; Lipsey, D., The Secret Treasury, London, Viking, 2000 Google Scholar.

45 Deakin, N. and Parry, R., The Treasury and Social Policy, London, Macmillan, 2000 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

46 See D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy in the UK, op. cit., pp. 210, 224.

47 See McCaig, C., ‘New Labour and Education, Education, Education’, in Ludlam, S. and Smith, M. J., (eds), New Labour in Government, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 2001 Google Scholar.

48 See D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy in the UK, op. cit., pp. 239–49.

49 See Rhodes, R. A. W., ‘The Hollowing Out of the State’, Political Quarterly, 63:1 (1994), pp. 138–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar, R. A. W. Rhodes, Understanding Governance, op. cit., and Weller, P., Bakvis, H. and Rhodes, R. A. W., (eds), The Hollow Crown: Countervailing Trends in Core Executives, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1997 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

50 R. A. W. Rhodes, ‘Governance and Public Administration’, op. cit., p. 62.

51 M. Saward, ‘In Search of the Holy Crown’ in P. Weller, H. Bakvis and R. A. W. Rhodes, The Hollow Crown, op. cit., pp. 32–3.

52 Rose, R., The Prime Minister in a Shrinking World, Oxford, Polity, 2001 Google Scholar.

53 To be fair to Rhodes, he does not take an extreme view in his brief discussion of globalization (see R. A. W. Rhodes, Understanding Governance, op. cit., pp. 18–19), although he does suggest that globalization is a key aspect of the hollowing-out of the British state. For the best review of approaches to globalization see Held, D., McGrew, A., Goldblatt, D. and Perraton, J., Global Transformations, Oxford, Polity, 1999 Google Scholar.

54 Ohmae, K., The Borderless World, London, Collins, 1990 Google Scholar.

55 See A. Gamble, ‘State Economy and Society’ and Peterson, J., ‘Sovereignty and Interdependence’, in Holliday, I., Gamble, A. and Parry, G., (eds), Fundamentals in British Politics, Macmillan, London, 1999 Google Scholar.

56 Baker, A., ‘The Transnationalisation of the Core Executive in the UK: The Case of HM Treasury's International Finance Directorate’, Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions Workshops, Bern, 27 03-4 April 1997 Google Scholar.

57 For a review of the debate, see Hay, C. and Marsh, D., ‘Demystifying Globalization’, in Hay, C. and Marsh, D. (eds), Demystifying Globalization, London, Macmillan, 2000 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

58 So the argument that is often presented is that what is occurring is regionalization, not globalization. See the work of Hay, C., ‘Globalisation, EU-isation and the Space for Social Democratic Alternatives: Pessimism of the Intellect…British Journal of Political and International Relations, 4:1 (2002)Google Scholar, for a strong empirical defence of this position.

59 For example, see Castells, M., End of the Millennium, Oxford, Blackwell, 1998 Google Scholar; Hirst, P. and Thompson, G., Globalization in Question, Oxford, Polity, 1999 Google Scholar.

60 See Hay, C. and Watson, M., Rendering the Contingent Necessary: New Labour's Economic Conversion and the Discourse of Globalization, Paper no. 8:4, Harvard University, Centre for European Studies, 1998 Google Scholar; C. Hay and D. Marsh, Demystifying Globalisation, op. cit., and Hay, C. and Rosamond, B., ‘Global, European Integration and the Discursive Construction of Economic Impreratives’, Journal of European Public Policy, 9:2 (2002), pp. 147–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

61 Marks, G., Hooge, L. and Blank, K., ‘European Integration from the 1980s: State-Centric Versus Multi-Level Governance’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 34 (1995), p. 343 Google Scholar.

62 Ibid.

63 Holliday, I., ‘Is the British State Hollowing Out?’, Political Quarterly, 71 (2000) pp. 167–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

64 Ibid., p. 175.

65 Wallace, H., ‘The Policy Process’ in Wallace, H. and Wallace, W. (eds), Policy-making in the European Union, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 176 Google Scholar.

66 Bulpitt, J., ‘The European Question’ in Marquand, D. and Seldon, A. (eds), The Ideas that Shaped Post-war Britain, London, Fontana, 1996 Google Scholar.

67 Buller, J., ‘The Advantage of “Tying One's Hands”: Rules, Autonomy and the Europeanisation of British Economic Policy’, paper delivered to The PSA Annual Conference, London, 10-13 04 2000 Google Scholar.

68 See George, S., An Awkward Partner, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2nd edn, 1998 Google Scholar and J. Buller, ‘The Advantage of ‘Tying One's Hands’, op. cit.

69 Ibid.

70 D. Marsh, D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Changing Patterns of Governance, op. cit., pp. 209–31.

71 M. Castells, End of the Millennuim, op. cit., p. 330.

72 See Richards, D., ‘Central Administration’ in Catterall, P. (ed.), Britain in 1998: A Review of the Year, London Institute of Contemporary British History, 1999 Google Scholar and D. Richards and M. J. Smith, Governance and Public Policy in the UK, op. cit., pp. 273–4.

103
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Unequal Plurality: Towards an Asymmetric Power Model of British Politics
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Unequal Plurality: Towards an Asymmetric Power Model of British Politics
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Unequal Plurality: Towards an Asymmetric Power Model of British Politics
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *