Officious – Rise of the Busybody State


A new book by Manifesto Club director Josie Appleton. Published by Zero Books.

In Anglo-Saxon countries there is a new and distinctive form of state: the busybody state. This state is defined by an attachment to bureaucratic procedures for their own sake: the rule for the sake of a rule; the form for the sake of a form. Its insignias are the badge, the policy, the code and the procedure. The logic of the regulation is neither to represent an elite class interest, nor to serve the public, nor even to organise social relations with the greatest efficiency as with classic bureaucracy, but rather to represent regulation itself.

This book analyses the logic of the busybody state, explains its origins, and calls for a popular alliance defending the free realm of civil society.

Paperback £9.99 || $15.95

e-book £5.99 || $8.99

See the Zero Books page.

Buy from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (US).


This is a must read for anyone thinking about the workings and nature of the modern State. It combines sensitive insights from the author based on her experience of working as hard as possible to uphold freedoms, and a genuinely thought provoking argument about the State and its purposes, drawing on serious intellectual work. I would recommend that anyone teaching in the areas of Social Policy, Sociology or Politics and Government reads this book and uses it for teaching. Dr Ellie Lee, Director of Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, Reader in Social Policy, University of Kent


The antics of meddlesome bureaucrats are frequently so ridiculous that it is tempting to laugh them off. Officialdom is no joke, however, as Josie Appleton’s insightful book makes clear. Our freedoms will be lost unless we confront these incremental steps towards an authoritarian state. ~ Nick Cater, Executive Director, Menzies Research Centre; author, ‘The Lucky Culture (and the rise of an Australian ruling class)’


The state once left us alone unless we committed a crime or fought in a war. Now its tendrils creep everywhere. Josie Appleton, a doughty champion of the free citizen, brilliantly exposes the meddlesome bossiness of the modern state. ~ Philip Johnston, author, ‘Bad Laws’