The Party and the Civil Service
This chapter discusses one of the most powerful influences upon the actions of Conservative governments: the role of the civil service. It notes that the Conservatives returned to office in 1970 and still more in 1979 armed with plans intended to ensure that the governmental machine worked to implement rather than frustrate their aims. The chapter explains that, traditionally, Labour had been suspicious of the ‘establishment’ influence of the civil service, but once the Conservatives also adopted a radical agenda, they too came to regard the bureaucracy as a barrier to be overcome in its instinctive commitment to the status quo. It charts the different interactions between the party and Whitehall, concluding with a discussion of the Thatcher and Major reforms.
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