chapter  1
Re- centring the British Political Tradition: Explaining Contingency in New Labour’s and the Coalition’s Governance Statecraft
ByPATRICK DIAMOND, DAVID RICHARDS, MARTIN SMITH
Pages 20

This chapter seeks to be positive, by identifying common ground and new lines of inquiry, and not replying to critics. An interpretive approach rejects both comprehensive theory and the related idea that such notions as the state, class, or gender are material objects or emergent structures or social forms. An interpretive political science highlights contests among diverse and contingent meanings. The response of both the main parties in the aftermath of the referendum reveals a series of contingencies potentially challenging the key tenets of the British political tradition. To focus on the dominant tradition is to look at British government through the wrong end of a telescope; it excludes too much. A good example of rationalities or technologies of governance is provided by Paul Fawcett's analysis of metagovernance. He identifies three different approaches to metagovernance including a pluralist approach that emphasises the role of the state as a network manager.