Leading article: Wanted: new political thinking

null

Share
Related Topics

Another beast is out and circling around Gordon Brown. And this time it is serious. In the immediate aftermath of Mr Brown's worst week as Prime Minister a number of predators began to sniff the air. The most explicit was the former Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, a political heavyweight, but a man widely discounted as embittered. Next in directness was the former Labour chair Hazel Blears, who revealed the mood of Blairites within the Cabinet.

But it is the intervention of Alan Milburn, the man whom Tony Blair once regarded as his protégé, which is perhaps most revealing. The article by Mr Milburn which we carry today fires a significant shot across the bows of HMS Brown. Its subtext is this: it is all very well for Labour to focus on the many ramifications of the global financial crisis but it is not enough. An election is looming and fire-fighting on the economy will not be sufficient to save Labour.

Mr Milburn detects a vast blank space where the Labour manifesto ought to be. If the party is to stand a chance of being elected it needs new policies on education, housing, training and childcare. It needs to offer new ways to reduce crime, create jobs, regenerate communities and protect the environment. As Mr Miliband implies, there is precious little sign of any of this necessary thinking going on.

What is clear is that the old political solutions will not fit a new era characterised by rising demand for public services and dwindling public resources. Old Labour put its trust in the state and nationalisation, Thatcherism in the free market and privatisation, New Labour in high spending and modernisation – but none of that will work now.

Mr Milburn's solution is a new vesting of power in individuals to give citizens greater control over the decisions which affect them. This, of course, raises questions of its own about affordability. "Shifting individual behaviour" is unlikely to be cheap. But whatever the merits of Mr Milburn's prescriptions, he has certainly helped to identify a gap in the present policies of the Government. The time has come for new thinking and some detailed policy which reflects that.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The central concept of Death Row Dinners is an interesting way  to make us think more about our food  

Out there: A death row diner, the other musicians taking a leaf out of U2's (i)book and rolling up my CV for a smoking hot job opportunity

Simmy Richman
A ceramic figure is the only thing remaining at the site of this destroyed home in Fredalba, California. The dry Santa Ana winds roll into Southern California from the upper Mojave Desert, setting off car alarms and starting wildfires  

Time for God to step in on climate change, Groucho Marx's answer to golf prejudice and education, the best method of birth control

Ellen E Jones
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam