Mea culpa and some strange invitations

It is a while since I have posted anything.  No real excuses, just inertia – it gets harder to post the longer you leave it.  In the intervening weeks, a lot has happened.  But I want to comment on a couple of events.

First, an invitation to speak to an event in London.  I cannot remember the last time I saw so many Tories gathered in one room.  They were from local authorities across the south-east and had a world view I scarcely recognised.  Apparently, the Big Society is alive and well in Windsor and Maidenhead District Council.  That is to say there is more volunteering, but this is in the context of a very small (3% was mentioned) cut in their budget.  The contrast to the north-west was stark indeed.

Second, an invitation to join an Expert Group Meeting at the UN.  This arose as a result of the colloquium I organised with colleagues on administraive history (see: and a special issue of the International Journal of Public Administration to appear shortly).  This seemd an odd interest for the UN to be following up, but an invitation is an invitation.  The event itself was hard work and, to be honest, I am not sure what, if anything, the UN will derive from it.  But it was worth it to hear an ancient historian addressing the assembled to suggest that we haven’t progressed much in 2,000 years.  The problems we face today are very familiar, and the solutions not much different either.


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