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Developments in (33 years of) British Politics

Abstract : If, according to Harold Wilson’s political calculus, ‘a week is a long time in politics’, then 33 years is an eternity. Yet it is now almost exactly a third of a century since the very first edition of Developments in BritishPolitics (henceforth Developments 1) was published. It appeared just before the 1983 general election, though with a hastily revised re-edition published early in 1984 to take account of the re-election of Margaret Thatcher. Much, of course, has changed since then. The task of this concluding chapter is to gauge quite how much – how, if you like, developments in British politics have … developed. In so doing, I return to and draw on the concluding chapter of the original volume, Patrick Dunleavy’s characteristically crisp, lucid and still extremely useful ‘Analysing British Politics’ (1983). My central question is whether and, if so, to what extent, we can still make sense of and analyse British politics today in and through the categories, terms and theoretical perspectives that he set out so clearly a little over three decades ago. To start with, however, it is useful just to remind ourselves a little of the world in 1983. Ronald Reagan was President of the US, and Peter Davidson was Doctor Who. The Cold War was at its height, the Berlin Wall had yet to fall, Gorbachev was not yet general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and the terms glasnost and perestroika were, as yet, entirely unfamiliar even to Western diplomats.
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Colin Hay. Developments in (33 years of) British Politics. Colin Hay; Philip Cowley; Colin Hay; Richard Heffernan; Meg Russel. Developments in British Politics 10, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.287 - 312, 2016, 9781137494733. ⟨hal-02295359⟩

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