• Malcolm McIntosh


A number of case studies from the period 1979 to 1986 have been examined within the framework of the British Constitution and in the light of the defence decision-making process as it has evolved since 1945. These case studies have covered government control of defence spending, the central defence organisation and ministerial changes at the Ministry of Defence, the acquisition of the Trident strategic nuclear submarine system and government efforts to counter the anti-nuclear lobby and the 1982 war in the South Atlantic.


Prime Minister Ministerial Control Defence Policy Select Committee Defence Matter 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    ‘Reliability and Maintenance of Defence Equipment’, National Audit Office, HC 173, 1989.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dan Plesch, ‘Preparing for the First Use of Nuclear Weapons in Europe’, Peace Research Reports No. 16, School of Peace Studies, Bradford University.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Australia’s freedom of information legislation requires this.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Douglas Wass, ‘Public Access to Government Information: Some Practical Aspects’, June 1986 (London: RIPA).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    MINIS, see Chapter 2.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Data Protection Act 1984 and Data Protection Amendment Act 1987, (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Clive Ponting, The Right To Know (London: Sphere, 1985). Richard Norton-Taylor, The Ponting Affair (London: Cecil Woolf, 1985).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
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  9. 9.
    Ibid. Martin Bailey, ‘Whistleblower pays high price’, Observer, 31 July 1988. James Erlichman, ‘Whistleblowers saved from US gulag’, Guardian, 28 July 1988.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    See note 3, Chapter 2.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    See Chapter 2 introduction on post-Second World War history of British defence decision-making and the establishment and use of US airbases in the UK.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    For discussions of ‘serious injury’, see FOI texts, Note 3, Chapter 2.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Distinction between FOI in Australia and OIA in New Zealand — see texts, Note 3, Chapter 2.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    For Parliamentary Questions see later section under that title. Military personnel in the MOD tended not to be in favour of FOI, whereas the civil personnel tended to be in favour.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Personal communication. Also see Wass, ‘Public Access to Government Information’.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mackintosh, The British Cabinet, pp. 147/8.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
  19. 19.
    David Judge, ‘The Politics of Parliamentary Reform’, p. 4.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Douglass Wass, ‘A Constitutional Commission for Britain’, RIPA Seminar, 3 April 1985.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mackintosh, The British Cabinet, p. 143.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bernard Weatherill, Speaker, House of Commons, ‘On The Day You Were Born’, BBC R4, 27 November 1987.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Julian Critchley, ‘In the Darkness’, The Times, 10 July 1980.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    ‘MPs apathetic on Whitehall finances’, Guardian, 13 October 1987.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    1986/7, HC 519 and 518. Defence Committee. 1986/7, HC 308, 176, 193. Trade and Industry Committee reports on Westland.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    HComs, 24 January 1980, re Pym on Chevaline.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    HCom., 2 November 1987, col. 608.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Evidence to the Treasury and Civil Service Committee, 22 February 1982.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    HCom., November 1985, re Heseltine ‘unthinkable’ to discuss NATO Montebello decision in Commons.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    In NZ an Opposition Research Unit is funded by central government, and staffed by public servants, some appointed by open advertisement.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ponting, Whitehall, pp. 150/151, plus personal communications.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    SAS — Special Air Squadron.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    SBS — Special Boat Squadron.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    HCom., 2 May 1978. Brian Sedgemore, The Secret Constitution (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1980).Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    HComs, 3 June 1985, re PQ’s.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Heseltine resignation speech in MOD, 6 January 1986.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    HCom., 15 January 1986. Government reply to Opposition reply for debate on Westland affair.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Frank Cooper, ‘Select Committees — a View From a Witness’, Contemporary Record, Spring 1987, p. 17.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
  44. 44.
    John Biffen, ‘Commons Select Committees: the Government’s View’, in Dermot J. T. Englefield (ed.), Commons Select Committees — Catalysts for Progress? (Longman, 1984) pp. 4/5.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
  47. 47.
    Gavin Drewry, ‘Select Committees in the Constitutional Limelight’, Contemporary Record, Spring 1987, pp. 17/18.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Andrew Marr, ‘A Former Mandarin with all the Fashionable Virtues’, Independent, 12 January 1988. David Hencke, ‘A Model Civil Servant Scrutinises Government Books’, Guardian, 12 January 1988.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Lord Hailsham interviewed Sheldon in Contemporary Record, Autumn 1987, pp. 57/58.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
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    Richard Holme, ‘Ten Principles of Constitutional Reform’, Constitutional Reform Centre, Summer 1987, p. 5. Richard Holme, The People’s Kingdom (Bodley Head, 1987).Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    John Palmer, ‘Europe Rules OK?’, Guardian, 7 June 1988.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    For a discussion of this see Margaret Blunden, ‘Defence Decision-Making: the Boundaries of Influence’, in Owen Greene and Margaret Blunden (eds), Science and Mythology, unpublished at time of writing.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    David Hencke, ‘Whitehall Under Siege From Leading Lady’, Guardian, 27 November 1987 looks at report by Anne Mueller, Second PUS Treasury, on effect of putting civil servants on contracts based on working practices throughout the country.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    John Nott, ‘Our Defences All at Sea’, The Times, 5 October 1987.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Greene and Blunden (eds), Science and Mythology.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    See Chapter 2 for MOD initiatives with academics.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    See Chapter 3 for Pym and Nott’s arguments for Trident, also see DOGD’s and SDE’s for arguments for Trident 1980–1986.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Nott, ‘Our Defences All at Sea’.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Personal communication.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Nott, ‘Our Defences All at Sea’.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    ‘Civil Servants and Ministers: Duties and Responsibilities’, Treasury and Civil Service Committee 1985–6, HC 92-1, para. 5.28.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Ibid., para. 5.30.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Heseltine interview with David Taylor, January 1986.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Nott interview by Taylor.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    HComs, 19 May 1981, col. 164, Defence Estimates Debate, 1981.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    ‘The Future Size and Role of The Royal Navy’s Surface Fleet’, Defence Committee, HC 307, 1987/88.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Defence Committee report on annual defence estimates, HC 495, 1987/88.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Malcolm McIntosh 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malcolm McIntosh
    • 1
  1. 1.BathEngland

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