Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Taylor-Gooby

Politics appears to disappear during August. With Parliament in recess and many of the leading figures on holiday there is little to report. Recently news of the London atrocities and the famine in Niger has rightly demanded our attention. But in the background politics is still going on, although you could be forgiven for not noticing.

The Tory Party is engaged in a leadership election marathon. At first sight there seems to be more runners than the Grand National, but this is not something only for the small band of Conservative members and the bookies. It is of vital importance for the future of politics in this country.

You might be puzzled to find a committed Labour Party member of 36 years saying that. I can remember the days when we had no hope of being elected, and we could pass any resolution we liked, knowing full well that we would never be able to do much about it.

I am very pleased with the things we have done since we were elected in 1997. But I do not think a one-party state is good for British politics. We need to be challenged and ideas have to be developed in open debate. At the moment this is simply not happening.

Massive reforms are going on at the moment in education and the health service.

It is right that public services should be run efficiently, for the public and not for those who work in them.

It is also the best guarantee to ensure that people get a good service to give them a choice, and this should apply whether or not you have the money to buy privately.

But this does not mean that private provision of services is automatically better than public. What worries me is that this assumption runs through what is happening. There is a determination to force private provision on to the health service, education and public housing whether those responsible feel it is necessary or not. …

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