Institute for the Study of Civil Society


Institute for the Study of Civil Society


Institute for the Study of Civil Society

Latest Books and Pamphlets

Checking Up: How the Coalition's plans to cut back on criminal records checks have been defeated, by Josie Appleton

Since 2002, more than 40 million criminal records checks have been carried out at a cost of nearly two billion pounds, yet there has never been any significant research showing the effectiveness of mass vetting in child protection terms. In June 2010, the Coalition government promised to 'scale back' criminal records checks to 'common-sense proportions'. This has not happened and, far from being scaled back, in certain ways the vetting system appears to have become more complicated, expansive and expensive. Read More

Softening the Blow: Who gains from the EU and how they can survive Brexit, by Jonathan Lindsell

'Brexit' - British exit from the European Union - is a distinct possibility. Although many argue that the economy of an independent Britain will be more successful on the whole, there are sectors in which people feel that they benefit from EU membership. These people are consequently strong critics of the Brexit movement. In Softening the Blow, Jonathan Lindsell discusses Brexit fears with industry spokespeople, then explores how these could be addressed post-independence. He argues that Britain would need to act decisively to fill the gaps that the EU used to cover. Read More

With Friends Like These... Why Britain should leave the EU - and how, by David Conway

Trust in the European Union has been in steep decline since the eurocrisis, and the 2014 European Parliament elections saw many MEPs sent to Brussels to represent parties opposed to the federalist agenda, and in some cases to the EU itself. Euroscepticism has become a vital topic for debate. But it is scarcely reasonable to expect people to make up their minds on this important issue without setting before them the alternatives to EU membership. David Conway considers the alternatives, as well as several possible exit strategies. Read More

Progressively Worse: The burden of bad ideas in British schools, by Robert Peal

Since 1953, education spending in Britain has increased by nine times in real terms yet levels of numeracy and literacy among school leavers have hardly changed. In this historical analysis, Robert Peal shows how the UK's abject record in education can be traced to the dominance of so-called progressive teaching methods. This approach has largely ignored the importance of rigour, knowledge and discipline - to disastrous effect. Now, empirical data is laying bare its lack of success and cognitive science is showing fundamental misconceptions about how children learn. Read More

The Demise of the Free State: Why British democracy and the EU don't mix, by David G Green

As the UK approaches a crossroads in its relationship with the European Union, Civitas director David G Green contrasts the ideals that have evolved in the British political system over many centuries - best described as those of liberal civilisation, or what he calls a 'free state' - with the unaccountable structures of the EU which seem designed to insulate decision-makers from popular opinion. In a wide-ranging discussion of the evolution of British democracy, he sets out the powerful political and ethical arguments for upholding the UK's independence. Read More

Prisoners of the Blob: Why most education experts are wrong about nearly everything, by Toby Young

What is "The Blob" and what has a 1950s sci-fi movie got to do with education policy? Journalist and free school founder Toby Young explains how the education establishment has been sucked into a thoughtworld which will not permit reasonable discussion of the best ways to school our children. The adherence of teaching unions and academic "experts" to so-called progressive classroom techniques is so fanatical that they ignore a huge body of evidence pointing to the need for a more disciplined, teacher-led and knowledge-rich approach. Read More

There Is An Alternative: An economic strategy for 2015, by John Mills

By the time of the 2015 general election, living standards will still be lower than before the recession and total government debt will be approaching 100 per cent of GDP. Optimism could soon give way to anxiety about the widening balance of payments deficit and the need to raise interest rates. In the long-run, the UK is saddled with an economy which consumes too much, invests too little and which cannot pay its way in the world. But there is an alternative to this unpromising future. Here, the entrepreneur and economist John Mills sets out an economic roadmap that could transform the UK's long-term prospects within five years. Read More

Beyond Beveridge: Restoring the contributory principle to retirement pensions and welfare benefits, by Peter Saunders

Britain's National Insurance system was founded by William Beveridge on the contributory principle that we should pay in when we are working so that we can be supported when we are sick, unemployed or retired. Over the past 70 years, this core principle of fairness has been eroded and many economists now believe NI should be scrapped. But what then would become of Beveridge's contributory principle? Peter Saunders asks how this important fairness condition might be retained and strengthened if NI were abolished. Read More

Transforming the Market: Towards a new political economy, by Patrick Diamond

Britain is at risk of a return to the unsustainable debt-fuelled growth that left the economy so badly exposed during the 2008 financial crisis. While recent growth figures have been encouraging, little headway has been made in the more fundamental task of rebalancing the economy and tackling the chronic short-termism which has held the UK back. In this new volume, a former Downing Street adviser under the last Labour government warns that the current economic debate is not addressing the underlying problems. Read More

Sticking Up For Siblings: Who's deciding the size of Britain's families? by Colin Brazier

Why is it that children without siblings in the UK are almost twice as commonplace as they were a generation ago? Childcare, time off work, the price of an extra bedroom and, to cap it all, the Government has slashed child benefit. Little wonder then that more than half of couples with an only child say they cannot afford another. But fears about the costs are being exaggerated by scaremongering from the City - and there are implications for both parents and policymakers about the rise of the only child. Read More

The Meaning of Matrimony: Debating same-sex marriage, edited by Anastasia de Waal

The legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2013 laid bare one of the deepest and bitterest divides in modern British attitudes. Here that argument is captured in a series of passionately-written essays exploring the issue from all sides. Contributors ranging from Lord Carey to Peter Tatchell provide the definitive guide to a debate which has encompassed much more than simply allowing same-sex couples to wed, ranging across family ideals, society's treatment of homosexuality, and crucially the kind of society we want to be. Read More