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The Blunders of Our Governments

The Blunders of Our Governments From the poll tax to ID cards a groundbreaking look at three decades of outrageous political mishaps A lively and intrepid analysis of the mistakes made by both the Labour and Tory governments over t

  • Title: The Blunders of Our Governments
  • Author: AnthonyKing Ivor Crewe
  • ISBN: 9781780742663
  • Page: 188
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the poll tax to ID cards, a groundbreaking look at three decades of outrageous political mishaps.A lively and intrepid analysis of the mistakes made by both the Labour and Tory governments over the past three decades Written by two of Britain s most distinguished political scientists, this is the must read politics book of 2013

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      Published :2020-06-26T02:43:50+00:00

    About "AnthonyKing Ivor Crewe"

    1. AnthonyKing Ivor Crewe

      Anthony King was a Millennium Professor of British Government at the University of Essex He broadcasted frequently on politics and elections for the BBC and wrote on the same subjects for the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Observer.

    179 Comments

    1. There were some Chinese tourists on the radio the other day, they’d come to London and they were expressing their surprise at what they saw – blue sky! They were fully expecting London to be wreathed in Dickensian fog. Yes, this antique image is still alive and well. But people, the London pea-souper was eradicated in 1956!! That was when parliament passed the Clean Air Act which created urban zones where only smokeless fuel could be burnt. This was a great success – many people were thus [...]


    2. If you want to be reminded of some of the government blunders from the last 40 years this is a good book for you. The authors won't just remind you though they will provide measured and well researched insight into not only bills, initiatives and taxes that went bad but also offer views on patterns and behaviours of decision making (or not), and why the British government system makes howlers that not only cost taxpayers fortunes but in some case people's lives.Flowing, well paced and informativ [...]


    3. Blundering Around WhitehallThe Blunders our Governments make by the respected political professors and commentators Ivor Crewe and Anthony King is a non-partisan look at the mistakes that all governments make in the course of history. Sometimes in the face of fierce opposition they still make the mistakes most politicians like to quietly disown while the opposition party likes to remind them of.It is not all bad as Crewe and King explain what they view as a Blunder and not all of them come from [...]



    4. Interesting, but gossipy and somewhat shallow in its analysis.The authors made some very odd determinations about what counts as a 'blunder' (incidentally I found the use of that word throughout immensely irritating) and what as successful policy.Examples:Barbara Castle's 'In Place of Strife' approach to industrial relations is termed a blunder. It was a failure certainly, but that was down to deep divides in the Labour Party not because the proposed approach was a blunder.The 1980s sell-off of [...]


    5. The first half of the book provides very interesting details and stories about some of the biggest government blunders of the last ~50 years. It gets pretty gory in terms of the jaw dropping incompetence on display, but it makes a number of good points about the weaknesses of government and (in particular) ministers.The second half of the book I found a bit laboured though - it felt like a bit of a lecture on points that I felt were already made in the first half. I was also disappointed that th [...]


    6. I enjoyed this book, it was clear and well sourced account of major blunders the UK government has made in the past 30 years. The first half which deals with each blunder in turn is equal parts hilarious and sad. You begin noticing the structural causes that are a recurring theme, the civil service also comes in for some deserved heat as well as bumbling ministers. The one issue I have with this book is that it looks at the issues in a sort of fish bowl. How do other countries deal with similar [...]


    7. The first Part covers, in painful detail, many of the most egregious blunders of the last several governments in the UK. Crewe and King maintain the right mix of scorn and understanding throughout, and the examples are well contextualized (even for those, like myself, born before many of them occurred).The second and third Parts, on the Human and Systematic causes of the blunders, are less successful. The structure of the book finds the authors churning over the same blunders as an example of ma [...]


    8. In The Blunders of our Governments Anthony King and Ivor Crewe trawl through the litany of woeful decisions and economic oddities that have been perpetrated by a succession of British Governments. Whether it be the mis-selling of pensions, the woeful NHS IT overhaul, the scrapping of ID cards or any of the other numerous examples cited, it seems that government incompetence knows no bounds. The Blunders of our Governments is as depressing as it is funny and is a real eye-opener to just how easil [...]


    9. Having read this, I'm very glad the UK government isn't about to embark on some massively complex project, for which it is completely unprepared, and could do serious harm to the country if mishandled.Oh.


    10. Gets a bit dreary towards the end but well worth a read if you're interested in government (as opposed to politics).


    11. I'd been looking forward to reading this book for a long time what with having an interest in politics, history and economics and I can't feel anything other than disappointed. This is definitely a book of two halves and the first half is actually quite good. King and Crewe retell, in just the right amount of detail, some of the biggest (and best?) government blunders of the last 30 years. No topic is dwelled on for too long and the pace of the book is fast enough to keep you engaged but slow en [...]


    12. To err is human, but to really screw up you need government.Once, the theory goes, British Government was almost a brand name, a mark of quality and level-headedness. They considered policy carefully, enacted it efficiently and made the world a better place. In recent decades, however, it's all begun to unravel and governments of all stripes are now more blunder-prone than ever before.It's an interesting theory, of course, but not, I suspect, particularly accurate. Lord North's loss of America o [...]


    13. Inevitably, this book will have more appeal to someone involved in Public Administration than the general reader, perhaps even the Politics geek.As an auditor in Central Government for the best part of 25 years this book highlights the importance of an audit regime without ever quite saying that- although it frequently acknowledges NAO reports as prime source material.As I read through the chapters, I repeatedly asked - what could Internal Audit have done? The NAO has the luxury of being able to [...]


    14. Professor Anthony King and Sir Ivor Crewe have compiled a highly entertaining anthology of governmental incompetence over the three decades from Margaret Thatcher's arrival in Downing Street to the last general election in May 2010. They are also exemplary in their even-handedness: they do not adopt a partisan stance in their exposition of the array of blunders that they include in this selection, and they do concede that the cast of Ministers and Prime Ministers whom they describe did also achi [...]


    15. Very thorough (too much so at some points, and sometimes repetitive) book that describes various cases where the British Government has blundered in the past 30 years. In part III and IV, the authors describe and analyse common themes. Very good to look back and see which mistakes are made over and over again. Mistakes because of human psychology (part III) or the UK system (part IV).In their Epilogue, King and Crewe write (p.399): "The fault lies not in particular parties or individuals but in [...]


    16. Interesting, albeit revelatory mainly in terms of the scope of government blunders - Metronet, ID cards, Gordon Brown's tax credit fiasco, Black Wednesday, the Poll Tax - than the actual existence of these blunders. That said, it isn't that most of these issues were underreported, but rather that they were cast largely as political struggles rather than incompetence writ (very) large. I suspect that the authors' refusal to take partisan sides concerning some of these issues might irritate some r [...]


    17. I came to this book with high expectations, it being described as required reading by some of our course leaders. It has glowing reviews on the front and back covers from most of the major newspapers and has been lauded by plenty of political pundits.But the examples of policy blunders that it provides will be familiar to anyone who hasn't lived in a hole for the past twenty years (poll tax, tax credits, the PFI for the London Underground, the Millenium Dome celebrations) and the recommendations [...]


    18. Don't get me wrong, I have a vested interest in the subject matter but this is one of the driest books I've ever had the grim pleasure of wading through. I have read the Illyad and the Odyssey, I've read Henry David Thoreau, I have read some tough books and this is right up there with the toughest.Another reviewer complained about the proclivity of the word 'blunder' in the book, to be fair, the authors do use it a LOT, but only in the introduction and yet, to a distraction.The book itself sheds [...]


    19. This is an interesting account of how some of biggest (and most expensive) errors of recent UK governments came to be. The book's deliberate non-partisan approach is a real strength. Reading something like this without balance would be almost unbearably tedious. The most interesting section is almost certainly the last, where the authors make recommendations on ways to avoid such errors in the future and lessons to be learned from both foreign governments and our own history. Certainly, most of [...]


    20. An enjoyable trip through a depressing litany of failures. Failures that are "cross-party", although Gordon Brown especially does emerge (as ever) as a cretinous thug and bully.The book tails off a little bit toward the end, with a fair bit of repetition.My one takeaway: we would best be served by our elected betters if they had the courage just to do less, to try less. The less they try and implement massive projects or sea-changes in legislation, the less they can cock up. Governments feel the [...]


    21. An interesting selection of recent domestic policy blunders and failures such as tax credits (implemented, untested, at breakneck speed) and individual learning accounts (widely defrauded). There is also an analysis of causes which are often due to massive disconnect between policy making and implementation, compounded by unrealistic timescales, lack of consultation (known as group-think) or cultural disconnect (lack of basic understanding of those affected). I found the whole thing really well [...]


    22. A fascinating and perceptive exploration of cock ups and mistakes over the least 30 years.Including the poll tax, tax credits the Millenium dome.The second half of the book explains all the contributory factors-Groupthink, a disconnect between policy and operational implementation, lack of accountability,not consulting those likely to be affected .In terms of solutions the authors propose more consultation with Parliament and more deliberation. Well written,but in an detache, wry, sardonic and u [...]


    23. This is a frightening indictment of the complete and total mess of what we assume a logical government of this country is.It pulls no punches and dissects in minute detail the fact that our democratic process is not fit for purpose and can be totally disconnected from any form of functionality when trying to get things done'Totally non-partisan it lambasts all political hues and if you read it it will shake your faith that anything, ever, can actually be achieved.


    24. Many excellent case studies of terribly conceived and executed UK government programmes. A brilliant text book on how not to run a country. The amount of tax payers money squandered is totally scandalous. Well written too. Really worth a read if you are interested in UK government decision making or sell services into government agencies. I'm sure most other nations have similar stories of waste and poor decision making.


    25. A very readable book, which is well written and informative. Perhaps I particularly enjoyed this because I have worked in the public sector, although I don't think the causes identified are unique to public sector organisations. I would definitely recommend reading this if you work on projects; it would make an excellent manual for 'how not to do things'.


    26. The ineptitude of UK Governments is becoming more well known thanks to books like this. The blunders mentioned are indeed depressing, costly and most definately avoidable. Constructive suggestions on how to improve the situation are included. A book that should probably be read by all UK residents, and the politicians themselves.


    27. Not particularly full of startling revelations and slightly hamstrung but a format that leads to somewhat of a plodding second half, but pulls together some interesting threads on the systemic problems of the British system of government. The epilogue on the current government should be required reading for the upcoming 2015 general election.


    28. Well written, sharp analysis and sharp wit brought to bear on such classic blunders as poll tax, identity cards and the dome. Turns out that the business of government is harder than it looks and this book explains why. By the end one is left wondering how so much of what is done is well done.


    29. A truly brilliant book which should be required reading for anybody who lives in Britain. Complaining about how politics affects our lives is one thing, but this book will really open your eyes to how serious the `cock-ups` of governments can be.


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