Monday, April 30, 2007

Miliband and Cameron

These two Davids are starting to identify that UK politics is about the issues raised in The Free Lunch – Fairness with Freedom. David Miliband (New Statesman 2 April 2007) who is a possible future New Labour leader has described a progression from the ‘I need’ of old Labour in 1945 through the ‘I want’ of the Thatcher 1980s, to his vision of ‘I can’ for the future, where we are all empowered more to contribute to the solutions for society. He wants us to be more locally effective.

David Cameron (Daily Telegraph 25 April 2007) leader of the Conservatives says similar things: we need a new ‘revolution in responsibility’ and puts a simple test for new legislation: ‘does it give people more responsibility, or does it take responsibility away from them?’

Miliband talks of ‘different government institutions’ and ‘a genuine partnership … between government power and citizen power’ for his ‘I can’ theme. Cameron talks of’ a mindset in which government treats its citzens like adults, to be trusted and respected’.

Will any of this result in anything very different? Will any party trust the citizen enough to establish a non-means-tested Citizen’s Royalty for all? A new institution for organising such a payment would, as the Royalty increased, effectively shift power to citizens so that many of the old statist institutions could shrink and wither. People would increasingly become empowered. The two Davids could usefully study The Free Lunch for some ideas of how their similar aims might be realised.

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