Press Release

Stein Ringen discussed the conclusions of his book at a talk at the Royal Society of Arts with Polly Toynbee of the Guardian on 14th September 2009. The event was a great success and a sell-out.

Listen to Stein Ringen's talk here.

Ringen presents his agenda for reform at the RSA

Polly Toynbee responds to Stein Ringen's presentation

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Brown
How a Strong Government was Defeated by a Weak System of Governance

By Stein Ringen

14 September 2009, Paperback, £5.95, ISBN 978-1-905622-24-5


You can also purchase this title on Amazon.

In The Economic Consequences of Mr. Brown, Professor Ringen, Oxford's Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, analyses the economic policies of New Labour from fiscal management to outcomes in child poverty, health, crime, education, and inequality.

From 1997 to 2007, Britain had a government of exceptional strength. Its failures have nothing to do with the credit crunch that followed.

By any ordinary political logic, this government should have succeeded in putting its mark on British life and society. In fact, its story is a tragic one. It tells how a government that had everything going for it, and that should have represented a break with the past, came to rule in a continuation of the discredited regime it had ousted.

Under New Labour, Britain became an even more unequal society than when the Conservatives left office. Mr. Blair and Mr. Brown inherited Mrs. Thatcher's centralised government and then centralised further. Thereby they undermined their own cause and condemned themselves to ever harder effort for ever less gain.

In spite of firm fiscal management and additional public spending and investment, the government has next to nothing to show for it in policy outcomes and nothing at all in turning the tide on Britain as a society of entrenched inequality.

As Professor Ringen concludes: "This government of power was finally defeated by the system of governance it had to work through. Britain now has the most centralised system of government in Europe. All policies emanate and are run and managed from Whitehall, and preferably from Downing Street. Parliament, and notably the House of Commons, has virtually no role in the formulation of policy and very little role even in its scrutiny. Local government has been reduced to implementing commands from Whitehall. A structure of command has replaced the traditional partnership between ministers and top civil servants. The professions are not rallied and encouraged but subjected to a technocratic regime of rigid targets, performance indicators, league tables and the like."

"The lesson of New Labour is that Britain needs, more than a new government, a new constitution".

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Brown
On 14 September 2009, Stein Ringen, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Oxford, gave his assessment of the New Labour government and the state of the British constitution. In this the first of the Royal Society of Art's new animation series, visual scribe Andrew Park presents his interpretation of the event.

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