We can learn lessons about the dangers of precipitate policy-making from political reaction to the murder of toddler James Bulger

Tomorrow it will have been 20 years since the murder of toddler James Bulger. Rob Allen reflects on the tragic case and its implications for criminal justice in the UK. He argues that the rapidity with which policy was made in the face of a national outcry holds important lessons for  contemporary policy makers, particularly in relation to the Government’s controversial plans to effectively dismantle […]

Measures of Prime Ministerial performance indicate Tony Blair was a great leader but voters do not seem to be assessing him as kindly

Jim Buller and Toby James provides insights for assessing Prime Ministers and argues that using their framework suggests that Tony Blair was very successful. However, poll numbers suggest that support for the Liberals would drop were he to take the helm from Ed Miliband. Earlier in the summer, there was some speculation that Tony Blair may yet dramatically return as Prime Minister. When […]

Book Review: Doing Politics

Throughout the expenses scandal, the lobbying scandal and other storms which have buffeted Parliament, many regard Tony Wright as one MP who provided a measured, sane and sensible reaction to events. His recent book considers the wider implications of the various political ructions and the public reaction to them. Dave O’Brien is impressed with the publication, but is also hopeful that Wright might be tempted […]

Book Review: Prime Ministers in Power: Political Leadership in Britain and Australia

Mark Bennister’s comparative study of John Howard and Tony Blair’s “predominance” offers some fascinating insights into modern prime ministerial leadership, finds Jill Rutter. The book includes a wealth of comparative detail for students of government organisation.   Prime Ministers in Power: Political Leadership in Britain and Australia. Mark Bennister. Palgrave Macmillan. March 2012. Find this book:  Compared to the very well studied […]

Mending “Broken Britain”: From the Respect Agenda to the Big Society

Judi Atkins argues that David Cameron’s conception of a ‘broken Britain’ and the Big Society have ideological underpinnings that suggest that he is best seen not as the ‘heir to Blair’, but as the ‘son of Thatcher’. Addressing the Centre for Social Justice in 2006, David Cameron argued that ‘we have to show a lot more love’ towards disaffected young people. Although subsequently derided as his ‘hug […]

The role of special advisers should be clarified and there must be more transparency about their work

The seemingly nebulous and underhand role of special advisers has featured prominently in many of the government’s recent scandals – most recently in the case of Adam Smith and the handling of the Newscorps bid for BSkyB. Martin Smith argues that the problem is not their existence per se, but a lack of clarity about what they do and transparency about how […]

Book Review: Leaders of the Opposition: from Churchill to Cameron

Political journalists often refer to Leader of the Opposition as the hardest job in politics, but opposition studies have remained largely neglected by political academics. To address this gap, this edited book brings together a team of leading experts to evaluate the performance of each Leader of the Opposition in the post-war era. Reviewed by Catherine Haddon. Leaders of the Opposition: […]

Show – don’t tell: Political rhetoric is increasingly anecdotal but not particularly artful

Anecdotes have become one of the most common rhetorical devices in political speeches and debates to prove the success of policies or to illustrate that a leader is ‘down to earth’. Judi Atkins and Alan Finlayson explain why our politicians are ignoring Shakespeare and Keats and instead turning to ‘Holly from Southampton’ to prove their virtues. In the first of […]

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work by British Politics and Policy at LSE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.