I've already given my initial reaction to yesterday's Queen's Speech on my own blog, pointing out that while there are some very good things in the package from a progressive or liberal-left point of view, politically the whole thing suffers from the lack of a single "Big Idea" or connecting narrative which would enable Gordon Brown to regain the initiative he lost by not calling an election.
I'm not about to depart from that view. While ideas like giving all parents the right to request flexible working hours are extremely welcome, it is not the kind of thing that is going to stuff the Tories, particularly when they are claiming they thought of it first. By contrast scrapping ID cards, or announcing a Speaker's Conference on proportional representation, or even bringing in fixed-term four-year Parliaments to ensure no repeat of this autumn's non-election debacle, would have done.
However Jonathan Freedland in today's Guardian has a slightly different take on it. While acknowledging that Brown effectively stitched himself up by promising to set out his "vision" when he made his election announcement, he argues that in fact it was the wrong word, and that what Brown can really offer the nation is a programme -"something less than a grand vision but more inspiring than a mere to-do list."
Is he right? Does Brown need a new over-arching vision or narrative to renew Labour in office, or is the country sick of all that kind of stuff after ten years of Blair? I'm not going to attempt to answer this question, but I think it will provide a good talking point!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
More on Gordon and the Vision Thing
Here's what I wrote earlier today over at Liberal Conspiracy.