The Other Matthew Taylor.
It isn't the Lib-Dem M.P. nor the Portsmouth footballer, bit this Matthew Taylor was Tony Blair's Chief Adviser on political strategy until recently. In an article in today's Observer he points out that in September he "was charged with developing a plan for a fundamental policy review to be overseen jointly by Downing Street and the Treasury." He only makes two points about the review, but they are enough to spread gloom and dispondency.
1. Its Grasp.
"It will grasp some tough nettles, envisaging a radically reformed central state - smaller, more strategic, less controlling, focused more on the causes of poverty, ignorance and sickness than the Sisyphean struggle to ameliorate their consequences"
That looks like kicking away more safety nets and passing the new plans over to the free market.
2. On the way to the Forum.
It will also make use of "a high profile citizens' forum."
Which sounds like more old-hat focus groups. The problem with New Labour is their trying to think of something that is still new.
Ye Passing Trade.
Taylor soon rushes on in his article to deal with the problems of the passing trade - Northern Ireland, Iraq, Palestine, Africa, Climate Change, NHS waiting lists and the in-your-face problem of ethics in public life. But he tells us that we can forget about academies and trust schools as these have all been sorted. I don't think so somehow.
Waiting for Gordon
It seems that when (or if?) Gordon takes over, he will have his pathway pre-determined. It is just going to be the heritage of old New Labour.
The problem with constructing a political straightjacket for Gordon, is that he knows that once he is in the job he can immediately burst free from it. The only fear I have is that it will be the type of straightjacket he always wanted and has helped shape himself. With Gordon it has always been a question of the ownership of the straightjacket and not thoughts of a Houdini act.