Looking Forward: Unfinished Agendas and New Models
Nonetheless, honour must be given where honour is due, and it is definitely due here. Whatever else can and cannot be said about this New Labour government, one thing at least is very clear: this is a government of high intellectual capacity and moral purpose, one whose policies are sustained and underpinned by analysis of unprecedented quality and range. We are not dealing with stupidity here, or with the politics of soundbites, as arguably was the case in Labour governments in the past. There is real force in the arguments that New Labour politicians make about the novelty of the agenda posed by changes in the global economy, and by the rising expectations of an increasingly sophisticated and affluent electorate. There is real force in their ruminations on how best to modernize the provision of public services, the better to maintain public support for the social democratic principles underpinning their provision. There is real force in their argument that productivity growth holds the key to employment and affluence over time. Even its critics must concede that this is a government that has built its policies on the basis of careful and complex analyses of the origins and character of the problems that those policies are designed to redress; and that this is a government which, once it settled upon those policies, has demonstrated an unusually sustained capacity to hold to them, and to maintain their coherence over time.
KeywordsPublic Service Child Poverty Labour Government Labour Party Welfare Provision
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