Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Blairism's last gasp and the need for a new design
Freedland suggests the limits of Blairism have now been reached: it has become clear that pouring money into moribund structures does not work and that trying to run government departments like business, with the aid of McKinsey style target driven consultancy does not work either. Blair's obsession with internal markets and the mantras of the private sector are being rejected to a large extent in both education and health. But this is where the article disappoints. Freedland suggests the way forward is a decentralised "looser, more diffuse 'organic' network of services that fit the people who use them. Citizens won't be passive recipients, but direct particpants".
The analysis of the problem, as one might expect of such a good columnist is acute, but for the remedy, this vague stuff about decentralising power is about as useful as a David Cameron speech. Whilst this may well be the direction in which government might develop, it would have been useful to draw on experience elsewhere- Sweden for instance where dramatic devolution of power has occurred- to reinforce the case.