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Prime Minister: Conduct of Policy Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, 1974-79 [Hardcover]

Bernard Donoughue


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Book Description

28 May 1987
What are the political realities of policy-making inside Downing Street? This fascinating account of the premierships of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan provides a new insight into the conduct of the government in Britain. It is written with both the personal knowledge of an insider who worked at senior level in No. 10 and the authority of an academic who for many years has taught and studied British politics and central government in universities on both sides of the Atlantic. It gives a vivid picture of the interplay of personalities and style, in Cabinet and among Whitehall mandarins and their network of advisers, that startlingly documents the real world behind 'Yes, Prime Minister'. Bernard Donoughue charts Britain's progress through the dramas, the triumphs and the disasters of the 1970s. He analyses the problems which daunted governments of the day - and the policy solutions which were tried and found wanting. The nature of Prime Ministerial power is examined and the widely differing styles of the last two Labour Prime Ministers are contrasted with that of their successor, Margaret Thatcher, posing the question: has Cabinet government given way in the 1980s to Prime Ministerial government? As Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Minster and founder and Head of the Downing Street Policy Unit, the author enjoyed a unique view from the summit as Britain staggered from oil crisis to incomes policy and the Social Contract, from inflation to IMF loans and the Winter of Discontent. Unemployment, militant trade unions, Ireland and the EEC all ring through these pages, as they do in newspapers today, while the institutions at the heart of British Government are scrutinised and laid bare. Enlivened by personal experience, this highly readable document of our time is at once essential for any student of British politics and a revealing guide for those who wish to know what actually happens once they have exercised their right to vote.


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About the Author

In addition to serving as Senior Policy Advisor to two Prime Ministers in Downing Street from 1974 t 1979, Bernard Donoughue has enjoyed several careers. Awarded a First Class Honours and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford, he became a Heary Fellow to Harvard University and taught for many years at the London School of Economics as a Reader in Politics. He is an Honorary Fellow of Lincoln College and an Associate Member of Nuffield College, Oxford. Bernard Donoughue has also worked as a professional journalist on several national newspapers (including The Times where he was Assistant editor), and is now a director of a leading merchant bank. He has played both soccer and rugby at representational level, and is currently Chairman of the Executive of the London Symphony Orchestra. He has published a number of books including British Politics and the American Revolution, edited a volume of poetry, and wrote (with G. W. Jones) the authorised biography of Herbert Morriss, Portait of a Politician. Bernard Donoughue became a peer in 1985.

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