Politics and Governance in the UK

Second edition

by Michael Moran

Extra Resources - Chapter 18

Parry (1969) provides the essential theoretical frame for studying the issue of recruitment of political leaders. Savage and Williams (2008) though mostly about economic elites is an attempt to revive the tradition of elite studies. Guttsman (1963) was a pioneering study, still unrivalled for its historical depth, of the social background of leaders; Johnson (1973) carried the story forward; Moran (1985/1989) updated some more; but since then the steam seems to have gone out of this kind of work. However, each successive volume of the Nuffield Series of election studies (Butler and Kavanagh from 1974, Kavanagh and Cowling for 2010) has had an invaluable chapter on the social make up of candidates and MPs. Lovenduski and Norris (2003) are essential on dimensions neglected in earlier work, notably gender. Theakston (1999) examines leadership in a key arena, while Leach and Wilson (2000) look at local leadership. Hennessy (2001) surveys the apex - the office of Prime Minister - for the post-war period. Skelcher (1998) is good on the 'patronage' route to the top. Select Committee on Public Administration reports (2001 and 2003) are two goldmines, especially on the patronage route.

An indispensable web site for anyone interested in routes to the top is that provided by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. It has a profound effect both on how leaders are recruited, and how they are supposed to behave once they get there: http://www.public-standards.gov.uk/ If you want to know how rulers are now supposed to behave, look at this site; if you want to know how they (sometimes) misbehave, type 'British political scandal' into Google.