Category Archives: Politics

Visions of Subsidiarity and the Curse of the British Political Tradition

by Martin Smith (York University), Dave Richards and Patrick Diamond (both Manchester University) There is little doubt that the previous Labour Administration and the current Coalition Government have discernibly different governing projects.  Despite a rhetorical appeal to the contrary, Labour … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 2 Comments

UKIP: Building a Party when the “Party” is Over?

UKIPs undoubtedly successful showing in the (mostly) English local elections has left many analysts speculating over whether this is a sustainable political shift to “four party” politics or not?

Posted in Political Economy, Politics | 6 Comments

PASC Takes PM to Task Over Ministerial Inquiries.

It’s couched in polite terms, but today the Public Administration Select Committee issued what amounted to a bruising attack on PM David Cameron. The PASC said the PM was wrong to ask the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the Andrew Mitchell … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Parliament, Politics, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Top Twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts

Here’s the top twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts (so far) and the number of views. This doesn’t include numbers for posts that have been republished by Public Finance, Public Servant, LSE Policy and Politics and the Huffington Post.

Posted in Accountability, Communities, Development, Education, International, Local government, NHS, Parliament, Performance, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Riots, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Dave says we’re headed in the right direction, what do you think?

PM David Cameron claims we are ‘headed in the right direction’. Below are the latest headline figures from the Office of National Statistics website on the state of our national finances (so all their words, not mine, I’ve just added a … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Political Economy, Politics, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

The UK in 2013: A Failing Economy or a Failing State?

Maybe I’m being a bit overdramatic (and simplistic) with that headline, but I wanted to pose a question rather sharply – are we busily focussing on a failing economy in the UK when what we should really be worried about … Continue reading

Posted in Parliament, Political Economy, Politics, Whitehall | 7 Comments

’You Can’t Borrow Your Way Out of a Debt Crisis’. Er, actually you can Mr Osborne. It depends….

One of George Osborne’s favourite mantra’s is the above one. Unfortunately it’s based on a rather school-boy understanding of economics. Of course everyone is familiar with the personal debt spiral. Adam and Eve enjoy the good life. They spend a … Continue reading

Posted in Political Economy, Politics, Spending, Whitehall | 3 Comments

Romney tells Secret Service detail to “go and get a real job” – well, not really but that’s what he implied…

[President Obama] “took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have, and one that was essential to the task at hand.  He had almost no experience working in a business.  Jobs to him are about government.” Mitt Romney in … Continue reading

Posted in International, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration | 3 Comments

Targets? What targets? Change and Continuity in the performance regime in Whitehall

We were told, when the new Coalition Government came to be, that it would put an end to “New Labour targetry”. The use of targets for public sector performance had become a bête noir of both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in … Continue reading

Posted in Export, Performance, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 7 Comments

#London2012: Private Schools and Public Sports (or how I got humiliated at rugby)

  The disproportionate representation of UK private schools (confusingly called ‘public schools’) amongst Britain’s Olympians has been causing some controversy. For some on the right this highlights the superiority of private sector schooling over state provision – especially as a … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Education, Politics, Spending | 4 Comments

policy@manchester launches

Public policy community comes together 12 Jul 2012 The University of Manchester has established Policy@Manchester as a network bringing together a range of academics working in a variety of public policy areas.

Posted in Accountability, International, NHS, Parliament, Performance, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

David Cameron’s iPad “Dashboard” App

As someone who’s been writing and working with performance measures and dashboards for longer than I care to remember, I found this post on ‘False Economy’ (link below) just so funny I had to reproduce it…. ———————- A preview of … Continue reading

Posted in Performance, Politics, Whitehall | 1 Comment

The Civil Service Reform Plan – Mostly Old Wine in Very Old, but relabelled, Bottles.

The Civil Service Reform Plan announced yesterday mostly rehashes old solutions, some sensible, others of dubious worth – but mostly renames stuff and proclaims it as if it was ‘new’. The cry of ‘cultural change’, for example, towards greater managerial … Continue reading

Posted in Performance, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 4 Comments

The Class Ceiling – Posh Boys (and Girls) Still Rule OK

When Tory MP Nadine Dorries described her Prime Minister and Chancellor as ”two arrogant posh boys” it prompted me to start thinking about my own experiences of class in British society over the past half century. My conclusion – there … Continue reading

Posted in Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Whitehall | 5 Comments

BT Infinity – Infinitely Unavailable?

Yesterday I got an email from BT, once again extolling the virtues of BT Infinity* and inviting me to sign up. As I am a BT customer – which is why they had my email – it wouldn’t have been … Continue reading

Posted in Political Economy, Politics, Public Management, Whitehall | 7 Comments

The Public Government of Public Money – not yet, not by a long way

  Three decades ago two American academics published a superb analysis of the way in which British government’s made finance decisions provocatively entitled “The Private Government of Public Money” (Heclo and Wildavsky, 1981). Has the Coalition accidentally given birth to … Continue reading

Posted in Parliament, Politics, Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

Saint GP. Why have GPs been elevated to special status in the health debate?

The whole NHS reform is based on an assertion – that GPs are somehow better placed to decide what NHS services need to be provided because they are in some sense ”closer to patients”. The news story today that GPs … Continue reading

Posted in NHS, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management | 9 Comments

Is the Civil Service Accountable to Parliament? Hodge vs O’Donnell spat opens a can of worms.

Is the Civil Service accountable to parliament? Margaret Hodge MP, the formidable chair of the powerful Public Accounts Committee of Parliament says “yes”. Sir (now Lord) Gus O’Donnell and other ex-Mandarins say firmly “no”. (For details see the Guardian website here). … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Parliament, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 5 Comments

Implement That

Watch out for the word “implementation” in 2012. It’s the new in-word in Whitehall.

Posted in Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Whitehall | 2 Comments

My Top Ten (most read) WhitehallWatch posts of 2011 (so far)

Posted in International, Performance, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment