I’m tied up for the next few days, working my way through a very dense consultation paper, and trying to write a lecture.
However, you may enjoy the following position pieces and policy debates over at the Euston Manifesto website:
First, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair MP, on the progressive case for public sector reform:
First, it must be the citizen doing the choosing not the school or hospital doing the selecting. In countries that have allowed selection in schools, like New Zealand, for example, they have found that the gap between the rich and the poor grew. In countries such as Sweden, which did not allow selection but which did give the power of choice to parents, they found that the gap closed.
Second, it is important that the funding is organised progressively. We protect equity by ensuring that we defend the principle of progressive funding. Services should be free at the point of use. Essential services should not be rationed because an individual cannot pay.
Third, a service can and must be designed to ensure that access is equitable. The content of what is provided, the ways that staff work, the outcomes expected for citizens: all these are subject to stringent regulation. These regulations apply to all sectors and the claims that the reforms lead to two-tier services are quite wrong.
In the end, the best argument for reform is that it works.
You can comment on, and discuss, this article in the new Euston Manifesto forum, or email SDF Editor, Alan Johnson (no, a different one) who will be co-ordinating the responses, to which the Prime Minister will be responding.
Also read the Secretary of State for the Environment, David Milliband MP on Britain 2025:
The successful countries of the future will be egalitarian in their ethos and structure, pluralistic in their systems of power, and globally linked at the level of the individual and the community as well as the nation. Modern social democrats must shape the ’empowered societies’ of 2025.
… and Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable:
A progressive tax policy is needed to underpin social justice, localism and environmentalism