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The Chancellors' Tales: Managing the British Economy

Howard Davies (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-7456-3884-3
240 pages
December 2006, Polity
The Chancellors
This remarkable book tells the story of how the British economy has been managed over the last 30 years. The story is told by those who should know more about it than anyone else – the former Chancellors of the Exchequer in both Labour and Conservative administrations.

The Chancellors' Tales offers a unique insider view of the management of a modern economy, charting the opportunities and constraints that each chancellor faced. The book provides a rare historical record of the difficulties and dilemmas of managing the British economy in an increasingly global age. Written with both deep insight and wit, the chapters follow the period in office of each of the chancellors. Each chapter offers a detailed account of the handling of the economy during that chancellors period of office. Taken together they provide a privileged insight into the way the British economy has been run and why.

The chapters are written by Lord Healey, Lord Howe, Lord Lawson of Blaby, Lord Lamont and Kenneth Clarke, MP. The book also contains an introduction by Sir Howard Davies, Director of the London School of Economics. He provides a context in which to understand the contributions of each of the chapters which follow.

The book will be of interest to specialists and non-specialists alike interested in understanding how government works and economies function.

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Foreword

* Introduction by Howard Davies

* Lord Healey: Why the Treasury is so difficult

* Questions and Answers

* Lord Howe: Can 364 Economists all be Wrong?

* Questions and Answers

* Lord Lawson of Blaby: Changing the Consensus

* Questions and Answers

* Lord Lamont: Out of the Ashes

* Questions and Answers

* Kenneth Clarke MP: The Quest for the Holy Grail -
Low Inflation and Growth

* Questions and Answers

* Afterword by Howard Davies

* Appendix: Schedules
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Howard Davies is director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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  • This is a fantastically unique book which gives a one off insight into the management of a modern economy, charting the opportunities and constraints that each Chancellor faced.
  • A really timely book which will have an up to date afterword by Howard Davies, Director of the LSE and so will really capture the sense of the British Economy today as well as in the past 30 years.
  • Introduction by Howard Davies is really contemporary and brings the thoughts of the former Chancellors into historical context as well as comparing them with the present day.
  • This is a really unique historical document which should be of great interest to anyone interested in politics.
  • The Chapters are written by Lord Healey, Lord Howe, Lord Lawson of Blaby, Lord Lamont and Kenneth Clarke, MP.
  • Each chapter offers a detailed account of the handling of the economy during that Chancellor's period of office. Taken together they provide a privileged insight into the way the British economy has been run – and why.
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    "Memoirs are all very well, but usually too long. This invaluable book gives us chancellors on their feet, after most of them have been on the ropes. I couldn’t put it down."
    William Keegan, The Observer

    "Anyone who remembers the episode of Father Ted in which he uses his Golden Cleric award acceptiance speech to stick the boot in to everyone who has ever crossed him will find many of the reminiscences strangely familiar."
    EN Magazine

    "One of the many fascinating sub-themes to emerge from this collection is how little regard even the more cerebral holders of the office since 1974 had for the craft of the professional economist ... the inclusion of the discussion transcripts [from the original lectures] is a great bonus."
    Peter Hennessy, Times Literary Supplement

    "Sir Howard Davies had the ingenious idea of getting every chancellor from Denis Healy, except John Major who held the office for only a year before being translated to higher things, to give an account of how they saw things."
    Financial Times

    "Davies writes a careful but typically elegant introduction."
    Public

    "A crucial text for those interested in British economic policy since the breakdown of Bretton Woods."
    Chris Huhne, Business Economist

    "Almost all the chancellors holding office between 1974 and 1997 set out their personal interpretation of their experiences, with disarming openness at times – and Howard Davies brings the recurring themes together with great skill. Taken collectively these essays give us an absorbing insight into the conduct of economic policy."
    Lord Burns, Former Treasury Permanent Secretary

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