1 min read

Editor's blog 18th September 2008: thoroughly modern Milly?

Just when you were thinking that nostalgia isn't what it used to be (oil price spike; credit tightening; house prices off a cliff; unemployment and inflation rising - let's party like it's 1974 / 1981 / 1991!), some great news breaks.

The Quiff Of Doom is back.

And he's using the word "change" (copyright Barrack Obama) a lot.

In fact by the look of this, policy-wise Alan Milburn has joined the Lib Dems .

Another ex-Health Secretary, UNISON and RCN favourite Patricia Hewitt has joined the debate, calling for a "bold" and "convincing new narrative" in Progress magazine

She (and colleagues) argue that "we need to provide the public with a sense of ownership and explain how we are going to give both them, and the workforce, a say in how we design and deliver services", and that "legitimacy for a local trust running a community asset can come from good governance and accountability. This can provide as much of an electoral mandate as those depressing local elections in which only a small minority of people take part."

Yet you will be relieved to hear that Hewitt suggests "this does not mean a return to a top-down command economy in the public sector. It means providing transparency in the governance of the academies, trusts and companies that spend public money.

"We should encourage new forms of ownership such as social enterprises that cross the traditional boundaries between private and public sectors. We can still provide fairness and sustainability through frameworks for access and finance. And, through better regulation, we can guarantee standards for the public whatever the model of ownership or management."

Can the John Reid leadership challenge be far away?

It's going to be an interesting Labour Party conference next week.

UPDATE: This Martin Wolf article in the FT is probably the most sane thing I've read about the current financial situation.