Policy Processes in a Changing World



The formulation of British policy in relation to the outside world is subject to all the contradictory and conflicting trends we have identified in the previous chapters. The policy process is a mixture of unchanging realities and new developments. The unchanging realities are important, for they express some of the simplicities of impressive political power: the nature of foreign policy in the British constitution, or the role of the civil service in the workings of cabinet government. In this respect a general understanding of the nature of British government constitutes at least a partial understanding of how the foreign policy process works. In this sense, none of the major books that have been written on the policy process over the last 25 years are actually out of date. What Vital, Frankel, Barber and Wallace — indeed what even Strang and Morrison — said about British foreign policy-making is still essentially true.1


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© Royal Institute of International Affairs 1992

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