The Decline of the Public

The Decline of the Public : The Hollowing Out of Citizenship

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David Marquand traces the growth of the public domain from Gladstone to Attlee, analyses the forces that began to undermine it post-war and exposes the campaign that the Thatcher and Blair governments have waged against it. He ends with a call for a counter-attack based on a re-statement of the civic ideal in a twenty-first century idiom.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 9mm | 212g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0745629105
  • 9780745629100
  • 929,725

Back cover copy

'To construct a civilization around the nostrum that the publicrealm is morally, economically and socially inferior to the privaterealm is to submit to an alien barbarism in which what we hold incommon is permanently placed as second best. David Marquand hasconstructed a masterly and highly readable plea for the idea of thepublic once again to be celebrated in British life. His re-entryinto the national conversation could not be better timed or moreimportant. Let's hope our fellow citizens take arms in the battlehe invites us to join.'
--Will Hutton, Columnist, Observer Newspaper

'A profound analysis of the decline of the public realm and thegrowth of unaccountable government in Britain. The summation of alife's work by one of Britain's leading political thinkers.'
--John Gray, The London School of Economics

The public domain of citizenship, equity and service is crucialfor individual fulfilment and social well-being. But it has beenunder attack for thirty years - first from the marketfundamentalists of the New Right, and then from their New Labourimitators. The results are everywhere - resource-starvedpublic services; the marketization of the public sector; thesoul-destroying targets and audits that go with it; the denigrationof professionalism and the professional ethic; and the erosion ofpublic trust. More damaging still are the hollowing out ofcitizenship, the manipulative populism that now pervades Britishgovernment and a slide towards a new version of the 'OldCorruption' that our Victorian ancestors thought they hadbanished.

David Marquand traces the growth of the public domain fromGladstone to Attlee, analyses the forces that began to undermine itin its post-war heyday and exposes the campaign that the Thatcherand Blair governments have waged against it. He ends with a callfor a counter-attack, based on a re-statement of the civic ideal ina twenty-first century idiom.

This book will appeal to all those who take an interest incurrent political events as well as those studying politics andsocial policy.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgements. Prologue. 1 Economical with the Actualite. 2 The Public Conscience. 3 Troubled Zenith. 4 Kulturkampf. 5 Counter Attack. Notes. Selected Bibliography. Index.
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Review quote

"David Marquand is a unique, perhaps irreplaceable, figure in British life ... [He] has written yet another stimulating book. He could strike a massive popular chord as Will Hutton did in the State Wea re In, and re--ignite British political thought." (Kenneth O. Morgan, The Guardian) "Gripping from start to finish ... a brilliant book. Marquand is as fresh and powerful as ever." (Financial Times) "What makes Marquanda s book so helpful is the historical sweep of how Britain developed the "public domain" in the first place." (Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian) "Highly readable." (Camden New Journal) "Decline of the Public echoes concerns being heard across the political divide ... Marquanda s analysis of the problem is compelling -- and certainly worth worrying about." (Health Service Journal) "...powerful and eloquent polemic." (TLS) "This short, powerful book should interest students and eperts alike." (Political Studies Review)
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About David Marquand

David Marquand is Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford and formerly Professor of Politics at Sheffield University.
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