How can “experts” help government think?
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Who this event is for
John Henry Brookes Main Lecture Theatre, John Henry Brookes Building, Headington Campus
Professor Glen O’Hara will examine why governments get
things so wrong, so often. He will ask how history can be
used to improve public policy making.
Britain’s exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism
in 1992 and the Second Iraq War in 2003 are two infamous
examples of disastrous policy, but governments blunder
all the time – whatever party is in power. Infrastructure
projects overrun. The aims and techniques of different
departments clash. Scandals erupt among officials and
politicians. Controversies stymie attempts at agreement and
consensus. But why exactly do these failures happen? Are
they more or less widespread than in the private sector?
And can studying British governments’ decision-making
across the twentieth century improve it in the future?
Glen will recommend a slow, deliberative, transparent,
democratic and above all humble and sensitive approach in
order to avoid another Black Wednesday or ruinous war.