Beyond Westminster and Whitehall: The Sub-Central Governments of Britain

Beyond Westminster and Whitehall: The Sub-Central Governments of Britain

Beyond Westminster and Whitehall: The Sub-Central Governments of Britain

Beyond Westminster and Whitehall: The Sub-Central Governments of Britain

Excerpt

I began work on intergovernmental relations in Britain in 1978 and over the past decade I have incurred innumerable debts. Pride of place must go to the Economic and Social Research Council for providing invaluable financial support. Not only did it fund the research initiative on central-local government relationships, which provided the bulk of the research data drawn on here, but it also awarded me a Personal Research Grant without which this book would have been stillborn. The freedom to spend a whole year reading and writing is priceless, and I am duly grateful.

The work of my fellow researchers on the central-local relations initiative constitutes the heart of this book. I acknowledge the specific contribution of each at the appropriate point in the text. Here, I simply thank them for their help and exonerate each and every one of them from any errors of facts and interpretation in my paraphrase of their work.

In the case of officials in central and local government, convention discourages their acknowledgement by name, and I defer to their natural caution. Without their help, often frank and unstinting, any merits this book may possess would have been reduced immeasurably.

In the case of academic colleagues, convention encourages (to the point of obligation) their acknowledgement. If I named everyone who had been good enough to comment on papers over the past few years, the list would be endless. Consequently, I trust all who showed me the error of my ways at seminars and conferences will accept this general acknowledgement of their help. A few colleagues have helped me to such an extent, however, that they must be identified. Michael Goldsmith (Salford) criticized and, much more important, encouraged me throughout. A simple ‘thank-you’ must suffice. Brian Hardy (Loughborough) was a model senior research officer who continued to provide concrete assistance and to comment on all my work long after he left Essex. Pat Dunleavy (London School of Economics) and Ed Page (Hull) have worked with me on articles and provided cogent criticisms of some of my earlier work. Both reshaped significantly various themes and arguments presented here. In all probability, neither will agree with my interpretation but they helped to improve it. David Marsh (Essex) never ceased to marvel at my interest in sub-central governments. If underwhelmed with enthusiasm, none the less he challenged continually my interpretation of British government and thereby helped to clarify the argument. John Stewart (Birmingham) and George Jones (London School of Economics) . . .

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