townhall

A Mayor for All Seasons?

From June, Greater Manchester will get an interim mayor as part of a deal with the Government on regional devolution. But its imposition without a referendum is a fundamental error by the political elite that may well backfire, argues Professor Colin Talbot. ‘Mayors’ seem to have become the default answer of many in the political […]

whitehall

Civil Service Accountability to the Public part II

In the second of three blogs Martin Stanley examines whether senior officials should be more accountable – especially to MPs – for the advice that they give to Ministers. This is the fourth post in our series on the Civil Service. How would officials react to greater public scrutiny?  Most of them, I suspect, would […]

whitehall

Civil Service Accountability to the Public

In the second of our series of posts exploring the corridors of power in Whitehall, former senior civil servant and public sector chief executive Martin Stanley discusses how we are governed and the tensions between the needs of Ministers, MPs and the wider public.  The electorate clearly believe that ‘the Westminster Village’ is incompetent and/or […]

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Nomination of Mr Juncker – A tentative step forward for European democracy?

David Cameron failed to block Jean Claude Juncker from being nominated by the European Council for the post of European Commission President. Dr. Georgios Papanagnou takes a look at some of the weaknesses in the campaigns by Cameron and the British media. In the end “this time was not so much different” – Jean Claude […]

Budget 2014

Budget 2014: Smaller and Smaller – the end of ‘Big Government’ in the UK?

George Osborne’s fifth Budget as Chancellor delivered few real surprises or big changes. Many of the detailed adjustments were trailed in advance, and only in the pensions arena did he deliver any radical measures, writes Professor Colin Talbot. It is the pensions issue that will grab the headlines – as he intended. This was a […]

Representation in Parliament Manchester Policy Blogs

How and when will the Coalition end?

As our Coalition Government moves inexorably towards its end, what are the factors and events that will determine how and when the formal dissolution takes place? Speculation is starting to build, says Prof Colin Talbot, not least because of obvious ‘distancing’ tactics being adopted by both the partners to the Coalition. We have 15 months […]

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Do we need a ‘new settlement’ with Europe – or just a better sausage factory?

In seeking a ‘new settlement’ with the European Union (EU), the UK government is ignoring the existing rules and procedures that should already govern law making, argues Clive Bates. Here he focuses on a current example, the regulation of e-cigarettes, highlights the broader faults in the current process and offers some solutions. Otto Von Bismark […]

polltax_blog

The Blunders of our Governments

The Blunders of our Governments, Anthony King and Ivor Crewe.  Oneworld Publications, September 2013. This is a must read book for anyone interested in British public affairs, writes Prof Colin Talbot. It is seminal, not so much for the insight it offers – much of what it says has been said before – but in the […]

Whitehall Watch Manchester Policy Blog

Could Budget 2015 lead to our very own version of the Washington Shut Down?

“The last government defeat over estimates was in 1921 … nowadays any amendment would be tantamount to a vote of no confidence.” (Whener, 2010: p8). Could we see, in March 2015, the first example of a real conflict within Parliament on the Government’s Budget proposals, leading to a Washington-style impasse? There are several reasons to […]

No10reshuffle

Females to the fore in reshuffle – but women’s policy input may remain limited

As expected, David Cameron has boosted the number of women in his Government. But this strategy is problematic, argue Professors Claire Annesley and Francesca Gains, and may not address the lack of women’s policy input in decision making. Earlier this spring Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s former spin doctor, suggested that ‘Sam Cam’ was the Conservatives’ ‘secret […]