Political Culture, Institutions and Practices

  • Arthur Cyr


British retreat from old policies and commitments has been gradual. Only slowly has the reality been accepted that the nation can no longer be a global power and must be content with more modest status. As long as possible, the British held to the notion that a position of something resembling equality with the two superpowers could be maintained. Part of the explanation for reluctance to abandon traditional stances in international relations was that they actually worked quite well for a number of years following the Second World War. At least until the Suez disaster of 1956, it was possible for the British to believe they could play an independent role, linking Europe to the US while remaining closely bound to neither. Similarly, until the 1960s Britain retained control over a still substantial colonial empire.


Prime Minister Foreign Policy Civil Servant Political Culture Foreign Affair 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1965), p. 35.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Richard Neustadt, “White House and Whitehall”, The Public Interest, II, 1966, pp. 55–69.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    R. H. S. Crossman, The Myths of Cabinet Government (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972) is one of the most prominent recent arguments that the Prime Minister is becoming more presidential (see especially pp. 51–8).Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Donald G. Bishop, The Administration of British Foreign Relations (Syracuse University Press, 1961), pp. 74ff.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Paul Gore-Booth, With Great Truth and Respect (London: Constable, 1974), p. 227.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    Harold Wilson, The Labour Government 1964–70-A Personal Record (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1974), p. 352.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Harold Seidman, Politics, Position and Power—The Dynamics of Federal Organization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), pp. 110–11.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Bishop, op. cit., p. 225; D. C. M. Platt, The Cinderella Service— British Consuls since 1825 (London: Longman, 1971), p. 2.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    I. M. Destler, Presidents, Bureaucrats and Foreign Policy—The Politics of Organizational Reform (Princeton University Press, 1972), p. 25, 30, chapter 5 and passim.Google Scholar
  10. 19.
    David Vital, The Making of British Foreign Policy (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1968), pp. 59–60.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    One of the most useful recent analyses of the Treasury, with particular attention to its international role, is Samuel Brittan, Steering the Economy (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1971), passim.Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    William Bacchus, “Diplomacy for the 70’s: An Afterview and Appraisal”, American Political Science Review, Vol. LXVIII, No. 2 (June 1974), p. 736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Arthur Cyr 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Cyr

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