Journal Article

How can experts help governments think? Inaugural lecture


Britain’s exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 and the Second Iraq War in 2003 are two infamous examples of disastrous policy, but governments blunder all the time – whatever party is in power. Infrastructure projects overrun. The aims and techniques of different departments clash. Scandals erupt among officials and politicians. Controversies stymie attempts at agreement and consensus. But why exactly do these failures happen? Are they more or less widespread than in the private sector? And can studying British governments’ decision-making across the twentieth century improve it in the future? In his May 2018 inaugural lecture, Professor O'Hara recommended a slow, deliberative, transparent, democratic and above all humble and sensitive approach in order to avoid another Black Wednesday or ruinous war – an approach in contrast to the populist tone of much recent debate.

Attached files


O'Hara, Glen

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of History, Philosophy and Culture


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-11-26

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