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

Public Spending in the UK: Public Sector Debt

The debate on the future of the public finances and especially spending on public services has finally come to the fore after all the diversions of the past few months.

What are the crucial questions that we should demand of our politicians? Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to try to outline what are the crucial policy issues – starting with public sector debt. Continue reading

Universities and the Impact of the Recession

I recently attended a ‘professorial dinner’ at Manchester, the purpose of which was to discuss our future strategy. The main message at the start was – universities, after a decade of a relatively benign environment, face a decade or more of austerity. How are we placed to deal with this new reality and what should we do? Here’s my response. 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

So What Would You Do?

In December I appeared as a witness before two Select Committees in the Westminster parliament: the Treasury Committee (TSC) which was responding to the government’s Pre-Budget Report; and the Public Administration Committee (PASC) which was investigating what standards of ‘good government’ might look like. Continue reading