Political power and democratic control in Britain

With all the debate about quangos, I wondered whether anyone had made the case against them based on the Rule of Law.

And so I found and added to my reading list Political power and democratic … – Google Books:

There is a sense in which quasi-government diminishes the role and authority of Parliament as well as its more obvious erosion of local government. In practice, the quango state removes layers and ares of policy-making and action from the parliamentary — and public — gaze. The absence of a constitutional framework and the informal and secretive nature of its policy processes blocks scrutiny and parliamentary and public debate about policy goals and outcomes. The government can co-opt and mobilise all manner of bodies, including private companies, consultants and advisers within the domain of quasi-government to carry out major tasks, such as industrial re-structuring, training and employment policies. Parliament has no oversight over the government’s creatures, their interests and processes, as they operate under cover of ministerial discretion. Indeed, even the government itself often has no direct control over them.

I am reminded of a quote attributed to Harold MacMillan:

We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts.

And of the following campaign poster from the Conservative Party Archive (shelfmark 1929-31):

Inspectors all around

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