Tuesday, 15 January 2008

I feel under some pressure to blog. I keep getting asked about things I have written and the feedback is very encouraging. So I thought I'd start the year with a bit about our new leader Nick Clegg. He made a major policy speech at a conference last weekend which has received broadly a positive press Paul Walters of whom I know little, has done a complete run down of the media response and today's papers carried still more 'think' pieces on the speach. Even our own John Pugh has added a thoughtful note.
The reform of public services is a key political debate. In some way Sefton's Major Service review is an aspect of the wider issue. Clegg proposing a plurality of providers funded by the state with guarantees of equality of access is nothing new. I modestly point you to my own 1984 publication in the Liberty 2000 series which was part of the post general election policy review I chaired for the national party. Nevertheless Clegg has chosen his ground in taking education as the policy area to explore. This I welcome. I share much the same view as Johnathon Calder over at Liberal England on the issue. It has always struck me that monopoly is a matter that should concern Liberals. We should genuinely welcome diversity even if it is inconvenient for the planners and those who value conformity above excellence.