Institute for the Study of Civil Society


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

The Return of Political Patronage: How special advisers are taking over from civil servants and why we need to worry about it, by Alasdair Palmer

No-one in power has announced it. No-one in power has even admitted it. But the actions of successive governments have been to downgrade and marginalise objective civil service advice, and to replace it with counsel from politically committed special advisers. In this excoriating account of contemporary government, Alasdair Palmer portrays the return of political patronage to the highest levels of our public administration. Read More

Lessons From Switzerland: How might Britain go about business outside the EU?, by Jonathan Lindsell

Should Britain choose to quit the European Union it would take back from Brussels responsibility for negotiating its own trade deals with economies around the world. In this study, Civitas research fellow Jonathan Lindsell takes a look at how Switzerland has fared as a European nation outside the EU. With an economy much smaller than Britain's, it has hammered out trade agreements with an impressive array of global partners. Lindsell finds that there is much to be said for the Swiss approach – and how Britain too might go about business outside the EU. Read More

Defence Acquisition for the Twenty-first Century, edited by Bernard Jenkin

The recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq came at a heavy cost to Britain's military capabilities. However, rather than replenish the forces with the equipment they needed, spending reviews in the last parliament saw defence expenditure drastically reduced. These cuts have left all three services with large deficiencies in key areas. The authors lay out a completely new case for the UK to adopt a radically different acquisition strategy; one which is much more cost effective and would allow for the adaptability, agility and flexibility essential to modern militaries. Read More

The Problem with Human Rights Law: Is it out of control? Who is responsible? What is the solution?, by Michael Arnheim

Human rights law has been hijacked in the UK by special interest groups seeking to advance their own rights above those of the rest of the population. The European Convention on Human Rights has been repeatedly used in a way that weakens the government's ability to defend the country from threats such as terrorism or to deal with illegal immigrants. But, practising barrister Michael Arnheim argues, while there has been a growing clamour for this abuse to be tackled, the real cause of the problem has been fundamentally misdiagnosed. Read More

The Ins and Outs of Selective Secondary Schools: A Debate, edited by Anastasia de Waal

Should secondary schools be allowed to select, and if so, on what basis? These questions have long been a battleground of the English education system and have too often yielded answers that reduce the issue to oversimplified dichotomies. This collection gathers together a diverse range of key thinkers to evaluate the modern scope of secondary school selection in all its evolving complexity – including by ability, fee, faith and stealth. The authors consider the dilemmas we face as a society in determining what it is we want to achieve through education. Read More

A Tangled Web: Why you can't believe crime statistics,
by Rodger Patrick

Crime is going down, officially, yet most people feel that society is becoming more crime-ridden. What could explain the discrepancy between the claims made by politicians and the everyday experience of citizens? In this hard-hitting exposé, Rodger Patrick, former Chief Inspector of West Midlands Police, shows how this has come about. He unpacks the gaming behaviours of police forces under pressure from central government to reduce crime rates and increase detection rates by any means – including some that are unethical and even criminal. 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

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