Got to be Gordon

Apparently I’ve been tagged twice for this blog meme idea started by Matt Wardman, so you can see my thoughts on Labour’s new leader below the fold. I’ve deliberately avoided foreign policy, and not laboured exclusively on his handling of the economy. I’ve been tagged by Anthony over at OpenDemocracy, so here’s my late offering:2 things Gordon Brown should be proud of:

• Long term economic stability coupled with steady growth, bringing down unemployment levels across the UK.
• Massive capital investment in schools across England and Wales, which in many cases has seen the rebuilding of many schools starved of capital investment under the previous Conservative administration.

2 things he should apologise for:

• The blunt edge of Labour’s education reforms. Literacy rates have marginally increased, but at the expense of massive disruption in schools.
• Handing out lots of cash to GPs and at the same time making the service they offer less flexible, and with less local control.

2 things that he should do immediately when he becomes PM:

• Make it clear that public service does not always have to be run, centrally or locally, by government. Look for ways to involve the private and voluntary sectors, with a stronger and more effective regulatory role for government.
• Move quickly for an early date for a new election to establish his own mandate rather than one borrowed from Blair. Major’s big problem following Thatcher was that he never got to stand out from under her shadow. Accordingly, his programme ran out of steam just after his first and only direct election as PM. Soonest is best.

2 things he should do while he is PM.

• Give Parliament back a degree of centrality in the political process, and at the same time continue to multiply the quantity and deepen the quality of open channels between government and the wider public.
• Frontend the fight against poverty. Grasp the opportunity to promote the argument for tackling poverty at home as well as abroad, by promoting the benefits of increasing social mobility and tackling its block points. Above all, resist the temptation to centralise, or offer one size fits all solutions.

So now I have to tag eight other bloggers: David Vance; Tim Roll-Pickering; Splintered Sunrise; South Belfast Diary; Ciaran; Clive Davis; Recess Monkey; Oliver Kamm.

Tag: .

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Cheers for the response.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Has anyone heard any whispers about how accurate the “election next spring” stories are?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Belfast Telegraph have got a story on supposedly how Blair planned to sack Brown after the election. I wonder if they’ve got hold of a duffer.

  • snakebrain

    Proud of:

    1) Bank of England independence – smart political move on balance but flawed (see things he should apologise for)

    2) Decentralisation, especially in Wales where it’s been a great improvement

    Should apologise for:

    1) Allowing the Bank of England to sell off its Gold Reserve leaving the pound unsecured, exposed and particularly vulnerable to fluctuations triggered by US events.

    2) Failing to sort out the planning law situation that keeps UK house supply artificially low and forces prices high

    Should do immediately:

    1) Protect Freedom of Information legislation

    2) Demand, behind closed doors, that the US accept the BAE situation as part of the trade-off for support in Iraq; it’s not nice, but it would be smart. The US move is strictly protectionist of its own arms industry and is symptomatic of their belief in their right to run the West from Washington, both of which deserve to be challenged.

    While PM:

    1) Exert greater control over the City of London, without giving the upper hand back to Wall Street.

    2) Remove the bureaucratic hierarchy in the NHS that absorbs too much of its funding

    I know I should probably post this at the other blog, but I’m feeling lazy this morning