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Title: Tales from the Riverbank : the art of government, policy-making, and politics : an insider's view
Author: McNulty, Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 9843
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the development of the Home Affairs policies of the New Labour Government (1997-2010) - specifically in the areas of counter-terrorism, policing, and immigration. Much of the most significant research on this government has focussed on political economy or politics in general. The Home Affairs agenda has been largely ignored and has only ever been dealt with in the context of civil liberties and the government's apparent proclivity towards authoritarianism. This thesis fills this lacuna and does so from a unique perspective of the researcher as a former Home Office minister. It focusses on both how policy is devised, developed, and implemented, and the role of ministers at each stage of the decision-making process. These themes are explored through the analysis of three key case studies: the development of a points-based system of immigration for non-European Union migrants; the proposal to merge the 43 police forces in England and Wales into 12-15 strategic forces; and the development of pre-charge detention in counterterrorism legislation. Each area is analysed in the context of rational choice theory, historical institutionalism, and an interpretivist approach. The relevance of these theories to an understanding of the development of policy in the real world is discussed from the perspective of an insider. It considers the historical context of each area, how each policy was formed, and the ultimate success or failure of the implementation process. The empirical analysis includes interviews with over 45 participants in these events at the time, among them, former ministers, including cabinet minister, former civil servants, policy officials and special advisers. The thesis contextualises these Home Affairs policy choices within the New Labour project in general and within the specific experience of government. It makes a hitherto unique contribution to political science since it represents a rigorous academic assessment and analysis of key policy areas by an active participant in the events described and analysed. It examines the key factors that inform both policy decision-making and the role of ministers from this dual perspective and argues that policies fail because so little regard is given to the factors that are afforded importance in an interpretivist approach. Memoirs abound, but this thesis uses the insider's perspective and an interpretivist approach, to make a substantive contribution to the field of UK politics and public policy by arguing that policies fail unless the 'understandings, beliefs and practices' of all the actors are understood and clear policy narratives are established.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Politics and International Relations ; Home Affairs ; New Labour ; Counter-terrorism ; Policing ; Immigration