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

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine