Students Staff

25 March 2014

Award for Blunders book

Colchester Campus

Professor Anthony King

Professor Anthony King.

Distinguished political scientists Professor Anthony King and Professor Sir Ivor Crewe have won an award for their popular book The Blunders of Our Governments.

Up against five other contenders for Practical Politics Book of the Year at the Paddy Power Political Book Awards, their book was chosen by a panel of journalists and politicians.

The award was presented by Essex alumnus and Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster and author Gyles Brandreth at the BFI IMAX in London.

The book, which won acclaim from political commentators, looks at a wide range of policy cock-ups by our governments from the poll tax to the Millennium Dome, and lesser known failures such as the scheme to update London’s Underground system which wasted £20 billion, and the Assets Recovery Agency which cost far more to run than it clawed back from the proceeds of organised crime.

The Guardian reviewer, Peter Wilby, said the book, written by Professor King of the Department of Government and former Essex Vice-Chancellor, Sir Ivor, “will make you gasp in disbelief and stamp your feet in rage, and quite frequently reduce you to helpless laughter. It will also make you tremble in terror at the realisation that the people in charge of our destinies are, in many respects, idiots.”

As well as opening our eyes to the worst government horror stories, Professor King and Sir Ivor set out to explain why the British system of government is so prone to appalling and costly mistakes.

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