Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Against All Odds

Philip Collins, Tony Blair's former speechwriter, writing in the Times, has a suggestion for how Labour can revive its political fortunes. He suggests that they need to adopt the public service reform policies of the, erm, John Major government.

"It is no coincidence that the Blair Government slowly came to the same conclusions on public service reform that the Major Government had come to. A decade of trying to flog improvement from the centre ends in the conclusion that nothing more can be done that way.

A few years ago, I took the Conservative manifesto for the 1997 general election, deleted all the insulting references to the State that would never appear in a Labour document, and circulated the expurgated text as if I had thought it all up myself. My colleagues in Downing Street thought it was an accurate but uninteresting account of the Labour Government's policy. They were mystified as to why I thought it worth sending round."

I read this and all the rest of the drivel in his article, and it gradually dawned on me where Labour had gone wrong since 1997. I dimly remember that Phil Collins threatened to leave the country if Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister. No wonder things started to go wrong when instead of doing so, he started writing Blair's speeches.


At 8:07 pm , Anonymous Paul said...

Interesting. Mostly because he's so wrong.

I've got a draft for publication later actually contending that some of the rhetoric now emerging from Tory-land is actually drawn from the Labour left (cf Red Tories) though obviously none of the substance, which they don't get. My reference point will be yesterday 'green paper' on local government.

At 7:54 pm , Anonymous Paul said...

oops, wrong comment box


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