Archive for October, 2011

Multiple Choice Test

, 27 October 2011

This week’s rebellion by Conservative backbenchers may have been thwarted, but a referendum on withdrawal from the Union is still likely to take place this Parliament. Not the European Union (though if treaty renegotiation is back on the agenda this cannot be ruled out), but the Union of England and Scotland, which has lasted...

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Posted in Parliament and the political process | 1 Comment »

Negative feedback

, 24 October 2011

The first thing to note – and maybe not without justification after the report this week about GP’s striking off stroppy patients – is how reluctant my mother was to give feedback.  She was a bit resassured by the promise of anonymity (though you need to give your email – so will it really...

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Posted in New models of governance and public services | 5 Comments »

Next steps in Welsh devolution

, 18 October 2011

The eagerly-awaited Commission on Devolution in Wales will get to work in the next few weeks, following the announcement by Secretary of State Cheryl Gillan on 11 October. This development comes at a time when the Scotland Bill, which will transfer further tax-raising and borrowing powers to Edinburgh, is being examined in the House of Lords,...

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Special Treatment? Why the coalition is appointing more special advisers

, 18 October 2011

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is in the process of appointing around half a dozen additional special advisers (SpAds). This will apparently take the overall number of SpAds across Whitehall to around 80, above the level at the end of the Labour administration (and not counting other political appointees within the civil service, let...

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The French Primary Election: What lessons for British political parties?

, 11 October 2011

A novel experiment in democratic participation is under way on the other side of the Channel. Following recent rule changes, the French Socialist Party (PS) has offered all registered voters the chance to vote on the party’s candidate to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s presidential poll. The first round of these new primaires...

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The king is dead, long live the kings!

, 11 October 2011

The news that Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell, is to retire by the end of the year, is not unexpected. He has served for more than 6 years, close to the average since 1979. What is more fascinating is that he leaves in his wake not just...

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Posted in Leadership for government | 1 Comment »

Media & Government – a bickering marriage of convenience

, 10 October 2011

Ministers and civil servants often complain about the media – their intrusiveness, sensationalism, inaccuracy and lack of proportion. At the same time, the media complain about government secrecy, distortions and manipulation. There is nothing new in this – read John Wilkes or The Times at its most thundering in the mid-19th century. Media and...

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If Steve Jobs did government…

, 7 October 2011

Adopted child, college drop-out, phoenix businessman, global technology superstar – Steve Jobs is the latest incarnation of the American dream.  But the interesting thing about Steve Jobs is how he broke many of the rules and succeeded magnificently because of it. The first rule of business is to focus on the customer. The Jobs...

Posted in Better policy making | 6 Comments »

You don’t need to be a professional to be an MP

, 6 October 2011

The Conservatives were the first party in the UK to use primary elections to select parliamentary candidates. At the fringe event it was surprising to note the lack of controversy surrounding primaries, particularly compared to the debate in both the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties about whether they should be introduced. Indeed, Andrew Adonis...

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Making parties more popular

, 3 October 2011

Ed Miliband is not the first party leader to talk bullishly about increasing the number of party members/supporters. All new Opposition leaders set a target of boosting party membership. They usually succeed to a limited extent in the short-to-medium term as their parties become more electorally successful. But they invariably fail in the long-term...

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