The paper analyses continuing vocational education and training policies in the UK in the period 1979-2010 with a focus on regulation and governance. It reviews Conservative and Labour party policies to ascertain their principal components and explore their evolution through time. More specifically, the paper reviews the paradoxical existence of three seemingly opposed accounts of recent dynamics in the management of continuing vocational training: one that sees it moving inexorably to the political right, one that emphasises the singularity of social-democratic policies and one that focuses on the difficulties of any movement, towards the political left or right. The paper concludes that while there has been a degree of convergence between right and left, differences remained in terms of their favoured institutional decision-making structures. However, Labour played a two-level game, which combined the establishment of new channels for dialogue and coordination with key stakeholders, with a limited scope for meaningful stakeholder input to policy.