LSE and Libya – interesting fact…

When the LSE set up their controversial programme of training civil servants in Libya the person they negotiated the contract with was a Dr Mahmoud Jebril, who was then the DG of the National Development Board.

At today’s Conference in London on the Future of Libya the Transitional Government (i.e. the rebels) was represented by, amongst others, their acting Prime Minister – Dr Mahmoud Jebril. And yes, it is the same man. Just thought people ought to know, especially those who attacked the LSE so vociferously.

Japan – aiding recovery and reconstruction?

A colleague at MBS, Tudor Rickards, has launched an interesting initiative over at Leaders We Deserve focussed on the Fukushima problem.

But, as I indicated in my previous post, I still think the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami to the coastal communities in north-east Japan is by far the biggest problem. Estimates of the eventual death toll are already over 16,000 – my guess is it will go even higher than that. The destruction of housing, businesses and infrastructure is intense. Continue reading

Going Nuclear: the BBC (and rest of the media) and Japan

I don’t usually do media commentary, but the coverage of the aftermath of the quake and tsunami in Japan forces me to make one point: the coverage of the nuclear problems at Fukushima are out of all proportion to the scale of the problem itself or, more importantly, the very real scale of the catastrophe of the quake and tsunami. Continue reading

Too Many Ministers

Today’s report from the Public Administration Select Committee (see here and Press Release reproduced below) makes complete sense. It argues that as Ministers reduce the size of the House of Commons (from 650 down to 600 MPs) and devolve power (allegedly) away from Whitehall, there should be less need for so many Ministers and their bag-carriers (Parliamentary Private Secretaries, the first rung on the ladder to a red Box). Continue reading

Big Society versus Big State – unpicking a myth

The current debate in the UK about the  “Big Society” has been marred by some unfortunate mythology about to what extent the “Big Society” already exists, whether it is growing or shrinking, and whether it is counter-posed to the “Big State”.  The argument can be summed up as follows: Continue reading

Learning in Government – not: the decimation of knowledge

The New Labour government made a great song and dance about “evidence based policy”, which was generally observed more in rhetoric than in reality. But to be fair to them, their period in office did see a big increase in knowledge about “what works” and “what performs” in government, even if they didn’t always (often?) act on it. Continue reading

Western Universities Helped Ferment the Arab Revolt

Over the past couple of decades, tens of thousands of students from (usually autocratic) Arab states have attended universities in Britain, America and other western countries. On a smaller scale, many western universities have also run all sorts of training and education programmes in these same states. Continue reading