Posts Tagged ‘blank sheet of paper’

We can’t afford the luxury of leaving the page blank for much longer

28/02/2011, 12:00:00 PM

by Tom Harris

Ed Miliband was predictably mocked by the Tory benches after his “blank piece of paper” initiative was leaked.

Yet even those government MPs who were oh-so-cleverly holding up their blank order papers for the TV cameras knew that opposition parties, in the immediate aftermath of an election defeat, always – always – review their policy from scratch. The Tories did it in 2005, and in 2001 and in 1997. I seem to remember a perpetual policy review throughout the 80s and into the 90s (remember “Labour Listens”)?

The fact is that the 2010 manifesto failed. It was rejected. It is now deceased, an ex-manifesto. It has joined the Choir Eternal in manifesto heaven. And we will need a brand new one before 2015.

The danger for Ed and our party is that the current political and economic climate doesn’t allow us the relaxed timetable that Cameron enjoyed after his party’s third successive defeat. All the future prime minister had to worry about in those days was how to “detoxify” his party’s brand and capitalise on the inevitable imminent succession of Brown to replace the thrice-victorious Blair. It was all about strategy, message, image. (more…)

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Hey, Eds, let some other people write on your blank sheet of paper.

24/02/2011, 02:00:04 PM

by Alex Hilton

I saw something on the BBC this week that looked so silly I had to check it wasn’t yet April 1. It seems that Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are insisting that shadow ministers submit forms for approval before announcing any policies. Policy forms are a simple solution to the complex problem that we want to have policies, but we don’t want to be held to them.

But this solution will create more problems than it solves. Mostly, it will drive innovation into the hands of the two Eds, a centralisation of thought that exceeds even the worst paranoia-tinged years of government.

This approach has no resonance in a world where people expect a better quality of communication than can be achieved through a simple broadcasting of opinion from important people. And in an era when people are rightly mistrustful of pre-election promises, reassuring the public of our general values will become an essential factor in securing their confidence.

This can’t be achieved through a turgid conveyor belt mechanically analysing policies one by one and reducing them to their lowest common denominator. We can instead develop a more fecund environment for innovating in policy by reducing restrictions rather than reducing the pool of available talent contributing to their inception. (more…)

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