How can “experts” help government think?

This event has now finished. Please see our events website for details of upcoming events at Brookes.

OLS 17-18: How can

Who this event is for

  • Everyone


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.