Register  |  Login
Government Articles
Key Contributors
Blume, Toby

Finlayson, Gordon

Flynn, Paul

Fowler, Kate

German, Lindsey

Pack, Mark

White, Graham

The Lessons from Beethoven String Quartets for Modern Public Services
Mark Pack
Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice
Published on 27 Apr 2011
A Beethoven string quartet may not seem the an obvious starting point for considering the future of modern public services, but it was such quartets that William Baumol and William Bowen picked on in the 1960s to highlight the problems with cost and productivity in the service sector.   Baumol’s cost disease (or Baumol’s coat as I always know it after misreading a hand-written note about it) argued that the problem with string quartets is that by their very nature you cannot significantly improve their productivity. A quartet is not much of a quartet if does not have four members, yet...     Read More
On Bullshit, the Big Society and other Bollocks
Gordon Finlayson
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Sussex
Published on 26 Apr 2011
“One of the most salient features of our culture” observed the Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt “is that there is so much bullshit.” Frankfurt advances a theory. The bullshitter’s statements reflect his indifference to the matter of their truth or falsity. That makes his deception distinct from, and in one respect worse than the liar’s. For the liar, who intends to deceive by presenting as true what he knows to be false, honours the truth in his own perverse way. Frankfurt observes that the realms of advertising and indeed “the closely related realm of politics, are replete with...     Read More
Big Society Re-Launch Risks Becoming Just A Re-Hash
Toby Blume
Chief Executive of Urban Forum
Published on 16 Feb 2011
Yesterday I was at the Big Society Network’s event where the Prime Minister relaunched his Big Society project. The room was packed with the faces I expect to see at these sort of affairs – though not as the media suggested an audience solely of social entrepreneurs – and we were all ‘treated’ to John Bird’s singing in advance of the Prime Minister’s arrival.   When he spoke, David Cameron gave a relaxed and upbeat performance, displaying every ounce of his marketing experience. The jacket came off (perhaps suggesting the symbolic removal of a straitjacket Big Society finds itself...     Read More
E-petition Spin
Paul Flynn
MP for Newport West
Published on 04 Jan 2011
It's pure spin but the media fall for it.   Yesterday it was fraud-abroad that was to be tackled. It was nothing more than dusted-down measures introduced by the Labour Government in 2008. This morning I was called at 7.00 am to talk about today's headline seeking gimmick of e-petitions.   Tony Blair did that. The most popular petition, with more than 180,000 people in support, opposed road pricing. If the same people had been asked if they wanted safer roads, with fewer accidents and less pollution they would also have said yes . World experience has shown that public will...     Read More
Six Months of Coalition Government: Six Months of Failing Animals
Kate Fowler
Head of Campaigns at Animal Aid
Published on 16 Nov 2010
Those of us who campaign for animals full-time felt nothing but frustration at the Labour government’s wishy-washy approach to animal welfare. The vegetarian MPs appointed to Defra kept their heads down rather than be criticised for taking progressive decisions, and simple issues like ending the use of wild animals in circuses weren’t tackled until weeks before the government got ousted. Another eleventh-hour Labour decision – to effectively ban the use of battery cages for breeding pheasants – was the first, but by no means the last, casualty under the new coalition...     Read More
Share This Page
We Are On Facebook - Become A Fan
Post this page to:        Share                  Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious                      submit to reddit