Who runs Britain? The question is not as simple as it seems, and some of our greatest academics, journalists and politicians have dedicated themselves to finding out the answer.
There are, of course, the politicians we elect, who play the most visible role in our political system.
Then there are the mandarins of Whitehall, faithful servants of their elected masters or the people who really make the decisions, depending on your point of view.
Some writers claim to have identified a political class, a self-sustaining cadre with its roots in the media, think-tanks and professional politics, which has taken over all of Britain's leading political parties.
But there is another arm of the state which is rarely scrutinised. Hundreds of quangos spend billions of pounds each year on essential services such as health and education. These bodies are supposed to carry out Government policy rather than making it, but even with the best will in the world, this distinction tends to become blurred.
Indeed, the reason quangos are used, rather than civil servants in Whitehall, is because they have a degree of autonomy, supposedly allowing them to operate free from political interference.
As we report, a study from the New Local Government Network demonstrates that these quangos are dominated by people living in the south east and London.
When one part of the country is so overwhelmingly over-represented in the decision-making process, it is bound to have an effect.
This is certainly the view of Chris Leslie - who is not only a former Labour MP but a close political ally of the Prime Minister. His solution is to devolve power down to local government and regional level.
But this is something the Government has talked about in the past, with limited results.
Proposals for regional select committees and question times in the House of Commons, for example, have stalled.
The quango state should be dismantled, but it is unclear whether the politicians in London have the stomach to do it.