As lifelong learning becomes a greater focus for policy at local, national and supranational levels, a question emerges as to how to engage in policy analysis. This is a debate, which is already taking place in relation to policy analysis in other sectors of education. However, this has had little influence on policy studies in lifelong learning. This paper reviews the wider debates and argues for the productiveness of a discursive approach to policy analysis. In particular, it argues that the notion of metaphor can be deployed in such analysis to good effect. This is illustrated through an initial analysis of the UK government's 1998 Green Paper, The Learning Age: a Renaissance for a New Britain.