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Political Leadership

Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.


Political Leadership
NEW HORIZONS IN PUBLIC POLICY

General Editor: Wayne Parsons


Professor of Public Policy, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London,
UK

This series aims to explore the major issues facing academics and practitioners working
in the field of public policy at the dawn of a new millennium. It seeks to reflect on where
public policy has been, in both theoretical and practical terms, and to prompt debate on
where it is going. The series emphasises the need to understand public policy in the
context of international developments and global change. New Horizons in Public Policy
publishes the latest research on the study of the policy making process and public
management, and presents original and critical thinking on the policy issues and problems
facing modern and post-modern societies.
Titles in the series include:

Beyond the New Public Management


Changing Ideas and Practices in Governance
Edited by Martin Minogue, Charles Polidano and David Hulme

Economic Decentralization and Public Management Reform


Edited by Maureen Mackintosh and Rathin Roy

Public Policy in the New Europe


Eurogovernance in Theory and Practice
Edited by Fergus Carr and Andrew Massey

Politics, Governance and Technology


A Postmodern Narrative on the Virtual State
P.H.A. Frissen

Public Policy and Political Institutions


The Role of Culture in Traffic Policy
Frank Hendriks

Public Policy and Local Governance


Institutions in Postmodern Society
Peter Bogason

Implementing European Union Public Policy


Roger Levy

The Internationalization of Public Management


Reinventing the Third World State
Edited by Willy McCourt and Martin Minogue

Political Leadership
Howard Elcock
Political Leadership

Howard Elcock
Professor of Government and Honorary Research Fellow,
University of Northumbria at Newcastle, UK

NEW HORIZONS IN PUBLIC POLICY SERIES

Edward Elgar
Cheltenham, UK • Northampton, MA, USA
© Howard Elcock 2001

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.

Published by
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A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data


Elcock, H.J. (Howard James)
Political leadership / Howard Elcock
(New horizons in public policy series)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Political leadership. I. Title. II. New horizons in public policy.

JC330.3 .E43 2001


303.3'4–dc21 00–057679

ISBN 1 84064 059 6


Printed and bound in Great Britain by Bookcraft (Bath) Ltd.
Contents

Preface vii

PART I THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP

1 Why is leadership important? 3


2 Some classic analyses of political leadership 20
3 The personalities and environments of political leaders 43
4 Leadership, administration and management 64
5 The psychology of leadership 85

PART II LEADERSHIP ROLES

6 The functions of leadership: governing roles 105


7 The functions of leadership: governance and allegiance roles 128
8 The apparatus of leadership 149
9 Case study: leadership in British local government 166
10 Setting the course: leadership, not management 186

Bibliography 195
Index 209

v
In Memoriam

ROBERT BAXTER

Fearless iconoclast and true friend


Preface

Politics, declared Aristotle, is the master science. Rather more recently, Bernard
Crick described political science as either the most imperialistic or the most
parasitic of the social sciences. Certainly, it is very wide ranging and no scholar
would nowadays claim to be equally interested or expert in all branches of this
large and fissiparous discipline.
My primary interest in politics has always been in how political decisions are
taken. At first, the primary focus was international and historical: the process
by which the Treaty of Versailles was written. More recently, it has been
decision making in local government, both as a scholar and in practical terms
as a member of the first two Humberside County Councils and a member of its
leadership group.
Over the last five years, the opportunity has come my way to interview senior
politicians and officials about their leadership roles in local governments in the
United States of America, Germany and northern England. However, when
seeking analytical frameworks to use in presenting the findings resulting from
these interviews, I found that such analytical frameworks were curiously
lacking, despite the repeated debates about the ‘core executive’ in local
government which have been carried on in Britain under the general banner of
corporate management. This book is an attempt to develop some of the outlines
for such a framework.
This task, however, is the philosopher’s stone of modern political science.
Hence, to claim to have provided definitive answers to the many questions that
surround political leadership would be arrogant indeed. So this effort is offered
as a contribution to enabling people to think through the concept of political
leadership at a time when the managerialist receipts offered by the ‘New Right’
may be giving way to a new political and administrative paradigm: the ‘Third
Way’. It is certainly no claim of mine that all the relevant questions have been
satisfactorily answered here. Indeed, some of them may not even have been
asked! I hope only that perhaps what follows will help make a little more sense
of a complicated, greatly abused but most important political concept.
This is a book in the British political science tradition. It is eclectic in its
methodology, drawing on a wide range of sources. It does not seek to formulate
‘scientific’ propositions about how leaders behave and what objectives they
seek. The public choice theorists and their supporters in political science would

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viii Preface

have us treat leaders as ‘rational maximizers’ who will act in the ways which
are guaranteed to maximize their support among their followers. No allowance
is made for idealism and altruism, yet there is plenty of evidence that political
leaders are motivated by both – and, equally, by irrational hatreds.
The debts of gratitude I have incurred in nearly 40 years of teaching and
research are obviously legion. However, a few people must be singled out for
special thanks. First among equals come my good friends and colleagues at the
State of New York College at Fredonia, who helped me greatly both with the
interviews with American mayors and in developing the ideas that underlie this
book. In particular, my hearty thanks for their friendship and advice go to Len
Faulk and Bill Muller in the Political Science Department, Tom Rywick in
Psychology and Lee Braude in Sociology. In Germany, good friends at the
Fachhochschule fuer oeffentliche Verwaltung Nordrhein-Westfalen, with whom
the University of Northumbria has enjoyed scholarly links for ten years and
more, have given me much help and support, notably Friedrich Schwegmann
of the Fachhochschule’s Muenster campus and Wolf Bovermann in Wuppertal.
Simone Kruthoff and her friend Petra Weber were invaluable and charming
companions and translators during the German phase of the research.
I am also truly grateful to the very busy men and women in all three countries
who gave their time to answer my questions. Since they were mostly
interviewed on condition of anonymity, they cannot be named here but, if any
of them read this, you know who you are and I am sincerely grateful. My fellow
members and the officers of the former Humberside County Council also gave
me many insights, whether consciously or otherwise!
In Britain, I must thank my colleagues and students at the universities of
Hull and Northumbria for their tolerance of my eccentric teaching and other
habits over the years, as well as for their own varied contributions to my ideas
about leadership and management and their support of my research efforts.
David Welsh, Bill Hartas and Lord Norton of Louth have been especially
helpful. Other friends who have helped by reading and commenting on parts of
the book include David Shaw and Judith Phillips. Lastly, this book’s dedicatee
was, until his tragically early death, an invaluable source of inspiration, encour-
agement and challenge, as well as being a greatly treasured friend.
Of course, none of these good souls bears any responsibilities for the in-
adequacies and errors in what follows.
Howard Elcock
PART I

Theories of Leadership
1. Why is leadership important?
RIVAL THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP

Leadership is central to politics and government but its definition is elusive.


The Book of Proverbs warns that ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’
(29: 18). Vision has to come from leaders. We often hear people complain that
‘scum rises to the top’, or ‘a fish rots from the head down’, when they are
disgruntled about the organization they work for or pessimistic about its future.
However, leadership has had a mixed press. On the one hand some, like Georg
Friedrich Hegel (1822) and Thomas Carlyle (1841), have argued that world
historical figures or ‘Great Men’ emerge to change the course of history when
they are needed. For Hegel, such ‘world historical individuals’ are the ‘chosen
vessels of the Spirit’ but they may also ‘act from selfish or wicked motives’
(Plamenatz, 1963, vol. II: 205). Such theories have also been used to justify
the actions of leaders who have perpetrated horrors required by their visions,
such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, whose projects transcended all the
barriers, not just of decency but of simple humanity (Bullock, 1990).
Although Hitler’s ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question’ must stand alone
in its sheer evilness, there have been many others. Stalin’s forced collectiviza-
tion and industrialization of the Soviet Union in the late 1920s and early 1930s
served both to bring about economic change and to reinforce his personal hold
on power. However, these aims were achieved at the cost of untold millions of
deaths among the kulaks, ethnic minorities and dissidents who were displaced,
persecuted or eliminated to secure obedience to Stalin’s commands. Regrettably,
there have been many examples since of leaders who have led their peoples to
vilification and doom. Current examples include Presidents Saddam Hussein of
Iraq and Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. Their determination to act out their
nationalistic fantasies have turned their countries into impoverished rogue states
because of the evil deeds, including mass exterminations, which have been
carried out on their orders.
On the other hand, there are those who argue that individual leaders and their
followers are in reality merely pawns in the hands of the economic or social
forces which really determine the development of peoples and nations. Marxist
analyses of political power assert that social change and revolutions result from
conflicts between successive ruling classes and the new classes which displace
them as the economy moves from one stage of development to the next. Thus

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4 Theories of leadership

aristocracy is displaced by the bourgeoisie as society moves from feudalism to


capitalism with the development of manufacturing industry and consequently
urban communities. Capitalism in turn generates an exploited proletariat with
nothing to sell but its labour. Thus alienated from the products of their labour,
the proletarians will eventually overthrow capitalism and bring about the final
socialist revolution. The triumph of the proletarian revolution leads to the estab-
lishment of the final and ideal society in which there will be no further
revolutions because there is then no further oppressed class to rebel against it.
The driving force behind this process of historical determinism is the conflict
between the economic power holders – the ruling class – and the oppressed
class, which sooner or later displaces them. The political system and its
development are part of the superstructure, whose function is to conceal the
power of successive ruling classes from the masses. Hence economics governs
politics. Politics persuades the mass of the people that they have a say in the
government of their country when in reality the political leaders they elect are
either members of the ruling class or that class’s pawns. Politics, like religion,
is therefore an opiate of the masses which prevents them from becoming
conscious of their oppressed state and removing the ruling class by mounting
a revolution.
By contrast, elite theorists, including Gaetano Mosca, Vilfredo Pareto and
Robert Michels, whose ideas were developed in opposition to the Marxists’
socioeconomic analysis, argue that the source of the domination of the mass of
the people by small groups of leaders is essentially political, not economic. It
results from the development of collective political organizations such as
political parties which become dominated by their functionaries: leaders,
secretaries, delegates to party bodies or bureaucrats. The cause of this domination
of the many by the few is therefore political, not economic. It is at least in part
covert. Geraint Parry summarized the elite theorists’ thesis as follows:

The appearance of democratic majority control over the minority is deceptive. The
minority is in a position to manipulate the electoral process to its own ends by means
of a range of measures from sheer coercion of voters, through bribery or the skilled
use of propaganda to the selection of the candidates. The sovereign electorate will
‘choose’ its leaders from those acceptable to the elite. (1969: 31)

Elite theorists argue that all political structures will inevitably be dominated
by small groups of office holders: this is Robert Michels’s ‘iron law of
oligarchy’ (1915, bk VI, ch. 2). Michels argues that, once a person gains a party
office, such as local, regional or national secretary or treasurer, he or she will
retain that office for many years and so becomes a member of the party’s
decision-making and administrative apparatus. The network of such func-
tionaries runs the party and hence controls its decisions. Hence his famous
Why is leadership important? 5

saying, ‘who says organisation, says oligarchy’ (1915: 401), because mass
membership political parties are run by these networks of office holders. For
elite theorists, political structures and processes, not economic processes, are
fundamental to explaining power structures.
More recently, public choice theorists have argued that the self-interested
rationality of politicians and bureaucrats inevitably produces inflated bureau-
cracies because officials aim to maximize their budgets as well as the number
of people who work for them (Tullock, 1976). Inefficiency is compounded by
the electoral cycle, which leads to the over-provision of public services because
politicians expand them in order to win elections (Downs, 1957), because
political leaders are rational maximizers who act to maximize their electoral
support (Fiorina and Schepsle, 1989). Again, therefore, the power to make
collective decisions falls into few hands.

LEADERSHIP IN THE NEW RIGHT DECADES

Over the last 20 years, the public choice theorists have seen their ideas adopted
by two political leaders who were important agents of change. Margaret
Thatcher and Ronald Reagan led their countries in directions in which, in some
respects, political leadership might be expected to become less important as a
result of the changes they wrought, because their project was to reduce the part
that government plays in people’s lives, to get the state off the backs of the
people. However, they had to become dominant leaders and centralize control
in their own hands in order to be able to do this.
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan both personified a new path in
government which proposed replacing the consensus welfare state policies
which had dominated the 30 years after the end of the Second World War with
new economic and social policies which favoured free markets and individual
self-reliance (Elcock, 1982). They regarded government intervention as
inherently undesirable because it is inefficient in providing public services, as
well as encouraging an unhealthy dependence upon the state among the
population. Wherever possible, therefore, public service provision should be
reduced or removed altogether and replaced, where providing the services is
necessary at all, by private provision, through hiving them off to private cor-
porations or contracting them out to private companies wherever possible.
Public spending should be reduced to the essential minimum so that taxes can
be cut and people thus set free to make their own spending choices. Citizens
should be encouraged to provide for themselves in unemployment, sickness
and old age, as far as possible independently of state support or services
For its part, the state must become a residual, discharging only those functions
which inescapably belong to it, even then doing so wherever possible through
6 Theories of leadership

the medium of contracts with private suppliers to provide the necessary goods
and services. The ideal government thus becomes little more than a bundle of
contracts. In consequence, the values dominating the management of
government were restricted to the ‘three Es’ – economy, efficiency and effec-
tiveness. The provision of collective goods or benefits and the collective public
interest were not important any more. Other values, including equity and even
probity, were neglected or downgraded in importance in the drive to promote
‘can-do’ management, at the price of reducing public servants’ defences against
corruption (Chapman, 1988a, 1988b). Furthermore, the importance of
developing public policies is greatly reduced if one accepts that the ‘hidden
hand’ of the market, rather than the development of government policies, is the
way to secure optimal results.
Although Thatcher and Reagan were important in setting a new tone in
government and society alike, their philosophy appeared to involve reducing the
importance of political leadership because increasing numbers of decisions
were handed over to markets and the competing companies within them.
Equally, the citizen was to become a customer who chooses whether or not to
purchase a good or service, as well as deciding who should supply it or where
to buy it. Like a customer in a shop, the user of a public service is not expected
directly to participate in its supplier’s government or management. Hence a
form of economic democracy based on market choices would replace political
decision making and public participation in taking government decisions in the
‘New Right’ state, except at the level of Parliament (Waldegrave, 1993).
However, in order to ensure the adoption of these changes across the public
sector, the Thatcher administration in particular greatly centralized control over
the machinery of the state. The powers, discretion and functions of local
councils were greatly reduced by a three-pronged attack. First, financial
stringency was coupled with local tax capping to constrain their budgets.
Secondly, local authorities which became major centres of resistance to the
policies of the ‘New Right’, most notably the Greater London Council, were
abolished. Lastly, local authorities were first encouraged and then compelled
to put many of their activities out to competitive tender. However, the chief
result of this last reform was that councils made changes in their own
management by reorganizing their departmental structures, as well as their
management and industrial relations procedures, in order to retain the contracts
to provide the services for which they are responsible in the face of competition
from the private sector. They were usually successful in winning these contests
against private contractors (Elcock et al., 1988; Shaw et al., 1994, 1995).
Nonetheless, in some cases local government services were taken over by
private contractors.
Furthermore, some local functions were removed from local authorities
altogether and handed over to corporations controlled by boards appointed by
Why is leadership important? 7

ministers, which were encouraged to run them more entrepreneurially than local
authorities could or would have wished. This in turn aroused mounting concern
that public services were being increasingly provided by a ‘new magistracy’
(Stewart, 1993) which could not be held to account by citizens or their repre-
sentatives. This was the paradox of the Thatcher and Major years: that in order
to devolve power to markets and customers they had to centralize control over
the state (Jenkins, 1995). Similar trends can be identified in the United States,
where special purpose local governments have become more common over the
last 20 years because the traditional local governments are regarded as being
unable to provide specialist services efficiently. However, in the USA they are
usually controlled by committees of elected representatives rather than by
government nominees (Davis and Hall, 1996).
As the 1990s wore on, increasing doubts were expressed about the effects and
even the moral validity of these policies. There is increasing evidence that the
rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, with resultant increasing
social tensions. The managerial values of the ‘three Es’ and their associated
results, such as lower levels of taxation, benefit the middle classes but not the
working classes. They certainly do not benefit the former workers who have
been squeezed out of economic activity by technological change and consequent
reductions in employment opportunities, especially manual workers such as
miners and steelworkers. Churchmen expressed increasing concern about the
‘communities of the left behind’ which have resulted from New Right economic
and social policies (Sheppard, 1983). David Sheppard, Bishop of Liverpool,
David Jenkins of Durham and Graham Dow of Willesden have all provided
spiritual and moral leadership for those who regard the social consequences of
New Right free market policies as morally unacceptable. Significantly, all three
presided over dioceses which have faced economic decline and consequent
severe social problems since 1979.
Several economic analysts, notably Will Hutton (1995) in Britain and J.K.
Galbraith (1993) in the USA, identified an increasingly divided
‘forty–thirty–thirty’ society resulting from these New Right policies. The top
40 per cent, the ‘contented’ population (Galbraith, 1993) do well, holding secure
highly paid jobs and enjoying affluent lifestyles, but the remaining 60 per cent
are in roughly equal proportions marginalized or excluded altogether from the
benefits of increasingly affluent high-technology societies. As a result, urban
riots have broken out repeatedly since 1980 among the excluded populations in
cities from Los Angeles and Chicago to Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne.
These and other large cities have also become increasingly dangerous places in
which to live and have in consequence been deserted by the higher income
earners, making the dangers of living there worse and reducing local
governments’ ability to deal with them because of loss of local tax revenue from
the better off (Rusk, 1993). Furthermore, the ‘contented’ 40 per cent may be able
8 Theories of leadership

to maintain governments in office which will protect and promote their interests
to the detriment of the marginalized and excluded majorities (Galbraith, 1993).
For the last 20 years public management has been seen as the cure-all for
the ills of government: better management must mean better government. Above
all, it should mean less government. It was accompanied by reforms designed
to encourage individuals to provide for their own welfare rather than relying on
collective provision. Notoriously, Margaret Thatcher told the General Assembly
of the Church of Scotland that ‘there is no such thing as society, only individuals
and families’. This reflected a paradigm shift in social morality, as well as a
similar shift in public policy in the USA and the UK towards a new public
management. It was spearheaded by two charismatic transformational leaders
who changed the established value slopes of their governments and societies.
However, these New Right values did not penetrate the rest of Europe to the
same extent, although some of the resultant policies, notably privatization, have
been more or less extensively copied there and throughout the world.
In continental Europe collectivist Christian-Democratic and Social
Democratic values have survived because the parties of the Right did not
abandon them in favour of the New Right agenda. Although the competition
between Christian and Social Democratic parties has long constituted the basis
of party rivalry in most European democracies, both usually retain a strong
belief in the importance of protecting communal interests. In consequence, both
have continued to accept the need for governments to provide extensive public
services and welfare for the poor. At the end of the 20th century, the social-
democratic tendency was in the ascendant. It has been represented by
Social-Democrat leaders including Jacques Delors, who pursued this agenda
when he was President of the European Commission, Lionel Jospin, Socialist
Prime Minister of France, Gerhardt Schroeder, Federal Chancellor of Germany,
as well as the Scandinavian social democrat governments. Eleven of the
European Union’s 15 member states were governed by social democrat parties
at the end of the millennium.
By contrast, in Britain and the USA the value implications of the new public
management in terms of weakening collective concern and action were
neglected. The ‘three Es’ have been applied to the exclusion of other values,
including equity and support for the disadvantaged. The defences provided by
traditional bureaucratic systems against corruption and other misconduct have
been weakened in the interest of promoting greater efficiency and enterprise,
sometimes with disastrous results (see Elcock, 1991; Chapman, various;
O’Toole, 1996; Lewis, 1997). At the same time, market and business values,
notably individualism and the pre-eminence of the ‘bottom line’ profit margin
as the sole criterion of success, have been accepted as the only legitimate
objectives for governments to pursue, regardless of the social consequences of
thus transplanting business methods into governments. The poor have been
Why is leadership important? 9

increasingly regarded as undeserving, regardless of the reasons for their poverty


in the ‘forty–thirty–thirty’ societies that the New Right governments created
(Hutton, 1995). The issue is no longer just poverty but the marginalization or
exclusion of the poor from the standard of life and work expected by the rest
of society.
This focus on achieving greater economy and efficiency, coupled with greater
effectiveness, although this has been defined in restricted terms, has produced
undeniable improvements in public management, particularly in terms of
increased efficiency and more helpful customer service. The chief executives
of Next Steps agencies, for example, have been innovative and enterprising in
finding ways to deliver better public services for constant levels of resources
or to maintain service quality while saving money. Public servants at official
counters have been persuaded to become more helpful. The surroundings in
which they work have been rendered more comfortable for staff and clients
alike. These gains are undeniable but the New Right ideology has also resulted
in a series of policy disasters.
Potentially the most cataclysmic of these was the BSE (bovine spongiform
encephalopathy) catastrophe, which may have been a direct result of deregu-
lation. In the early 1980s, regulations requiring animal foodstuffs to be heated
to a high temperature in order to kill off infective agents were abolished and the
practice ceased. By 1986, the effects of the cross-transmission of the sheep
disease scrapie to dairy cattle through food containing the remnants of sheep
carcases was becoming apparent in the appearance of the first ‘mad cows’. The
possibility that it has spread to humans through eating beef, in the form of new
variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, threatens Britain with a possible public health
disaster of unknown but possibly massive proportions.
Some other policy disasters which have been partly or wholly the result of
the new managerialist approach, are set out in Box 1.1.
The long hegemony of the New Right also led to increasing scandals about
misconduct in more or less high places. The climactic revelations of such
malpractice in British government were the Scott Report on the Arms for Iraq
affair and the ‘cash for questions’ scandal in the House of Commons in the
mid-1990s.
Growing doubts about the outcomes of New Right policies and the new public
management, coupled with rising concern about low standards of public (and
private) morality, have led to a decline in public support for the New Right. At
the same time, repeated electoral rejection of the traditional collectivist policies
of socialism led to the emergence of another new value paradigm on the Left,
notably in the US New Democrat Party and the British New Labour Party. These
values are imperfectly defined, but their outlines have gradually emerged more
clearly, as the ‘Third Way’ (Giddens, 1998; Gould, 1998). Its definition is still
10 Theories of leadership
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BOX 1.1 POLICY DISASTERS OF THE NEW RIGHT


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• Railway privatization was carried out with excessive haste


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before the 1997 General Election, resulting in a deteriorating


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quality of railway services and possibly poorer safety protection


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for passengers as a result of the fragmentation of the industry.


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The National Audit Office has now confirmed that the railway
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system was sold off too cheaply.


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• The Poll Tax, which was defeated by public hostility to it, was
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the second biggest New Right policy disaster. The government


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obstinately implemented its Community Charge in the face of


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repeated warnings that it was unworkable. It subsequently


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persevered in the face of rising public anger and disorder which


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developed as the injustices of the new tax became evident. Its


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failure was the result of ideological blinkering because


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dissenters were excluded from the policy-making process


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during Thatcher’s third term of office.


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• The elimination of redundancy to increase efficiency has


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involved ending the provision of extra facilities or resources


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which are not normally needed but whose availability may


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become vital in exceptional circumstances. One adverse


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consequence has been the annual hospital beds crisis in the


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NHS, because the slack in the system that formerly absorbed


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exceptional demands is no longer available.


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• Increased vandalism has resulted from de-manning because


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vandals can now usually deface buildings and vehicles without


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fear of detection. The response has been to introduce closed-


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circuit television (CCTV) cameras, with attendant threats to


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privacy and civil liberties.


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• The loss of community policing, partly through misdirected


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enthusiasm for efficiency and economy and partly through


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misguided faith in the ability of new technology to substitute for


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police officers patrolling and living in the communities whose


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members they should be protecting. As a result, the nature of


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the relationship between police and public has been funda-


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mentally changed. The Macpherson inquiry into the bungled


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Metropolitan Police investigation of the racialist murder of


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Stephen Lawrence demonstrated the extent to which the police


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have lost contact with local communities.


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Why is leadership important? 11
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• Failures by private contractors to deliver adequate levels of


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services. For example, Wandsworth London Borough Council


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was one of the first local authorities to contract many of its


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services out to private contractors in the wake of the 1980 Local


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Government Planning and Land Act. It tendered out the catering


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for its old people’s homes but it became apparent as a result of


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relatives’ complaints that the caterer had reduced the residents’


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meal portions to starvation levels in order to protect the


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company’s profit margin. The contractor concerned was


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discharged, but not before significant suffering had occurred.


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The issue of how to monitor contractors’ performance effectively,


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without spending most of the money saved by resorting to


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tendering in the first place in order to do so, has resurfaced


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