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COVID-19 and the blunders of our governments: long-run system failings aggravated by political choices

COVID-19 and the blunders of our governments: long-run system failings aggravated by political choices
COVID-19 and the blunders of our governments: long-run system failings aggravated by political choices
More urgently than ever we need an answer to the question posed by the late Mick Moran in The Political Quarterly nearly two decades ago: ‘if government now invests huge resources in trying to be smart why does it often act so dumb?’ We reflect on this question in the context of governmental responses to COVID-19 in four steps. First, we argue that blunders occur because of systematic weaknesses that stimulate poor policy choices. Second, we review and assess the performance of governments on COVID-19 across a range of advanced democracies. Third, in the light of these comparisons we argue that the UK system of governance has proved itself vulnerable to failure at the time when its citizens most needed it. Finally, we outline an agenda of reform that seeks to rectify structural weaknesses of that governance capacity.
British politics, Covid-19, governance, policy blunders
0032-3179
523-533
Gaskell, Jennifer
9653ac56-1d66-4d76-93dc-8064edbe5f99
Stoker, Gerard
209ba619-6a65-4bc1-9235-cba0d826bfd9
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Devine, Daniel
3c3c97c2-6d6a-4969-8cef-7cd1c2609d57
Gaskell, Jennifer
9653ac56-1d66-4d76-93dc-8064edbe5f99
Stoker, Gerard
209ba619-6a65-4bc1-9235-cba0d826bfd9
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Devine, Daniel
3c3c97c2-6d6a-4969-8cef-7cd1c2609d57

Gaskell, Jennifer, Stoker, Gerard, Jennings, William and Devine, Daniel (2020) COVID-19 and the blunders of our governments: long-run system failings aggravated by political choices. The Political Quarterly, 91 (3), 523-533. (doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12894).

Record type: Article

Abstract

More urgently than ever we need an answer to the question posed by the late Mick Moran in The Political Quarterly nearly two decades ago: ‘if government now invests huge resources in trying to be smart why does it often act so dumb?’ We reflect on this question in the context of governmental responses to COVID-19 in four steps. First, we argue that blunders occur because of systematic weaknesses that stimulate poor policy choices. Second, we review and assess the performance of governments on COVID-19 across a range of advanced democracies. Third, in the light of these comparisons we argue that the UK system of governance has proved itself vulnerable to failure at the time when its citizens most needed it. Finally, we outline an agenda of reform that seeks to rectify structural weaknesses of that governance capacity.

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PQ Blunders 2020 FINAL - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 15 July 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 August 2020
Published date: 2020
Keywords: British politics, Covid-19, governance, policy blunders

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 442507
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/442507
ISSN: 0032-3179
PURE UUID: d72d7d41-2752-424d-9545-f32e5259181b
ORCID for Jennifer Gaskell: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1702-6234
ORCID for William Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Jul 2020 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 06:35

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Contributors

Author: Gerard Stoker
Author: Daniel Devine

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