Book News: July 2nd, 1998

Can the Hollow State be Good Government?

Christopher D Foster and Francis J Plowden.

This is a comprehensive account of the changes that have taken place in British government in recent years. It argues that (and explains why) there has been a general decline in competence and ability to deliver good government.

Ministers are increasingly overloaded, their long-standing relationships with civil servant have altered and the power of Parliament has declined. And the machinery of government has been transformed. At one level, by changes in the use of Cabinet and at another by privatisation, contractorisation and the creation of executive agencies where most memories of how it used to work in the 1970s are irrelevant. The State under Stress argues that, while the clock cannot be turned back, urgent reforms are needed if democracy is not to be further undermined.

1997 0 335 19723 2 Paperback. £16.99. 0 335 19714 0 Hardback. £45.00