Democracy Demands: Show Us The Money!

In the film Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. famously demands of his Agent Maguire (Tom Cruise) that he “show me the money”. The message (in context) is simple – no amount of smooth talking from his Agent is good enough – Gooding’s character wants to see the actual money. This is a good lesson to apply to the latest “debate” (I use the word loosely) over the future of public spending. Continue reading

Breakfast with Brown: What Should The Government Do?

After attending the Prime Ministers breakfast seminar in No. 10 on the future of public services my overwhelming feeling was that the government is still in thrall to the tyranny of the new. An underlying theme was that they needed something ‘new’ to offer. Continue reading

The Invisible Hand’s Shadow

The shadow economy as an issue for public policy and public administration is something I have been banging on about for several years (see A False Economy, Public Finance, 2004). I recently tried to raise the issue at both the Treasury and Public Administration select committees.

So I was pleased to see a fascinating paper by Sean Mallin of the University of Notre Dame, USA, in the latest edition of ‘Real-World Economics‘. Mullin’s opening paragraph ought to tempt you to read further…. Continue reading

Modernising Government Mk II: ‘Working Together’

Back in 1999 ‘Modernising Government’ was finally published. After nearly two years gestation the general verdict was that it was indeed an elephant – huge, sprawling and ungainly. Everything including the kitchen-sink had been thrown into the lengthy, turgid and mind-numbingly boring document. Well, now we have Modernising Government II – or ‘Working Together: Public Services on Your Side’ (published on Tuesday 10 March 2009). Continue reading

Gizza Job? Jobcentres Plus stitched up by Minister.

“Gizza job”, those with long-enough memories will recall, was the catch phrase of the central character- Yosser Hughes – in Alan Bleasedale’s very dark BBC TV comedy ‘The Boys from the Blackstuff’ which aired in the middle of another big recession (1982). Continue reading