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.
This paper examines the need for public libraries, and the issue of their great expense for the public sector. It largely concludes that the system is of need of reform, and a user charge should be introduced, for both moral as well as practical economic reasons.
This report comprises the edited proceedings of an important conference on the subject of local authority tendering, held under the sponsorship of the Adam Smith Institute at the end of 1986. At that time, the government had announced proposals to make it compulsory for local authorities to invite tenders for several services; though in the event, these proposals were postponed. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the principle of compulsory tendering will soon be revived.
Even without official prompting, more and more local authorities are turning to contractors to perform their essential services. The teething troubles that are inevitable when any new market is established, have largely been overcome by those authorities and contractors with the longest experience in the field. Some of their wisdom, showing how they have defeated the problems and captured the benefits of privatization, is distilled in this report.
The savings that ratepayers have enjoyed because of contracting our undoubtedly run into hundreds of thousands of pounds; and as the contributors to this report argue, service quality has been improved at the same time. There is a general acknowledgement that public institutions have an obligation to provide the best service at the lowest price for those whom they represent. These papers illustrate one way of achieving that laudable aim.
This paper argues that Britain would be well advised to participate wholeheartedly in these developments, adapting her defence policy to the new circumstances, rather than being stranded with old weapons and old ideas. As the following chapter demonstrates, most of the charges that are levelled against strategic defence are false, misinformed, or misguided. Subsequent sections detail the substantial Soviet effort to develop strategic defences, the rapid technological progress that is being made in the US SDI research programme, and the political popularity of SDI. The conclusion of this paper is that strategic defence has much to offer Britain, that she has much of the technological know-how required to make it a success, and she should begin to carry out her own research in co-operation with the US with a view to deployment within the next two decades.