The Health of Nations

Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the NHS, this report offers an objective assessment of the benefits and deficiencies of the National Health Service, along with a wide-reaching search for new structures that are better able to deliver the sophisticated and diverse forms of health care demanded today, while preserving the ideal of universal access.

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Micropolitics

'Micropolitics' analyzes the process of policy formulation which makes allies of the various interest groups affected by change. Dr Pirie sets out the thinking behind some of the policies which characterized the Thatcher revolution in Britain, and to some degree those of the Reagan revolution in the United States. It deals with techniques such as ‘micro-incrementalism’ – policies which gradually replace one state of affairs with another because many people feel more comfortable with gradual, creeping reform.

His view is that we should make advances where and when we can, if they all point in the same direction. Each new status quo achieved will serve as a springboard for the next advance. ‘Micropolitics’ tells how and why.

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Expounding the Arts

It is clear that there are only two roads forward for Britain's arts and heritage. The one is to continue to depend on public support, always likely to be given grudgingly and with strings attached; always likely to be reduced in an economic crisis, always subject to changes in government; and always likely to carry with it the threat or reality of political interference. It was in the uncertainty or cross-party political support that Sir Roy Shaw foresaw potential disaster for the arts. His belief that it could be averted while till retaining substantial and growing public subsidies from the taxpayer defies all previous experience of the political process.

There is only one way to avoid becoming embroiled in political warfare, and that is to be totally independent of government. It is towards such independence that this report concludes the arts and heritage should look.

Such independence offers a major challenge which some might not survive. Equally, and more importantly, it offers an opportunity; an opportunity to create a partnership with the majority of the public that forty years of subsidies has signally failed to achieve.

The Prison Cell

Britain's prison system is in a state of crisis. Violent incidents, industrial disruption and rooftop sieges are common reminders that radical reform of the system is urgently required. Antiquated Victorian prisons often house three prisoners in cells designed for one. The overcrowding and poor conditions inevitably lead to resentment and tensions which break out in violence.

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The Right Lines

The Adam Smith Institute envisages a two-stage sale of British Rail: the track and terminals privatized as a complete unit, and then the individual services which run on the track.

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A Divorce for Auntie

In his 1987 report 'A Divorce for Auntie', Nicholas O'Shaughnessy of Loughborough University presents objections to the "monolithic" ideological nature of the BBC. Today, the debate on the BBC's ideological leanings continues, with 41% of those polled in 2013 saying they believed it to display some bias. This considered, O'Shaughnessy's report remains important to this ongoing controversy.

Read the report