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Unformatted text preview: Interpreting the Blair Government’s Policy-making on European Monetary Union: An Examination of Public Policy Theories CHIH-MEI LUO Department of Public Administration and Policy, National Taipei University, Taiwan A BSTRACT This paper is an investigation of policy-making by the Blair government on the issue of the UK’s European Monetary Union (EMU)/Eurozone membership. The Blair government inherited a ‘wait and see’ policy from its predecessor, and introduced its own variations in the detail of this policy. In particular, five economic tests were invented and placed at the centre of EMU policy-making, in order to depoliticise the political risks during a general election and referendum while also serving the needs of party management. This paper applies four well-known theories of policy-making to the EMU policy case: the broker state pluralist model, instrumental Marxism, the core executive model and rational choice theory. This paper demonstrates that each model possesses a degree of applicability, but argues that instrumental Marxism seems the most appropriate theoretical model among those examined. KEY WORDS: EMU/euro policy, Blair government, public policy-making, theories, five economic tests Introduction Ever since agreement on the Maastricht Treaty the question of whether the UK should join the European single currency has been a momentous issue for policy-makers. This paper investigateshow policy-makingonthe UK’s European MonetaryUnion (EMU) membership, described by the former Prime Minister Tony Blair as ‘the most important decision this country is likely to face in our generation’ ( BBC , ‘Blair opts to delay E-Day’, 1 December 1998), was developed by the Blair government. As EMU policy is an ongoing issue, this investigation focuses on the formation of the ‘five economic tests’—the centrepiece of the Blair government’s EMU policy—and the dynamics of the decision-making surrounding the Treasury’s two assessments. Both primary and secondary sources were employed in data collection in this investigation. This paper further applies four main public policy theories in order to interpret this case study, and assesses their respective applicabilities. The discussion is arranged in five parts. The first section briefly reviews the development of the Blair government’s EMU policy. The second section analyses the nature and characteristics of the policy in comparison with preceding policy. The third section employs four well-known public policy theories to interpret this case study, followed by an assessment 1478-2804 Print/1478-2790 Online/08/030433-16 q 2008 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/14782800802501070 Journal of Contemporary European Studies Vol. 16, No. 3, 433–448, December 2008 of their individual applicability in the fourth section. To provide a focused analysis representative models are selected from each theory group: the broker state model, instrumental Marxism and the core executive model were respectively selected from...
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