First published on Left Foot Forward
Rediscovering Labour’s non-statist tradition has been the principle aim of The Purple Book, which is launched today.
When Labour wins back the country, and the keys to Number 10, it will do so with less money to spend and having agreed with the British public that this time there will have to be a different way of governing – less spending and fewer central government programmes and initiatives.
Progress – with our friends at Biteback – have attempted with the project to join the debate on Labour’s future policy agenda and place New Labour firmly within the revisionist tradition of Tony Crosland and Hugh Gaitskell.
Some of the key proposals in The Purple Book include:
1. To encourage greater social mobility, we need to take radical steps toempower parents in schools that are officially assessed as consistently poor. They would have the right to choose an alternative state school, and be granted an education credit worth 150 per cent of the cost of educating their child in their current school. – Alan Milburn
2. We should have as our goal the transformation of childcare and elderly care into universal public services. The Teach First model – which brings the brightest graduates into some of Britain’s poorest schools and communities – would be applied to childcare with the piloting of Teach Early Years First. – Liz Kendall
3. Elected mayoral authorities should, therefore, be established for the six major city conurbations beyond London: Greater Manchester, Greater Birmingham, Greater Leeds, Greater Liverpool, Greater Newcastle, and Greater Bristol. – Lord Adonis
4. We should provide legally enforceable rights for the victims of crime, with a sentencing framework that puts victims’ experience first and gives them a greater say in determining the nature of community sentences, while exploring the possibility for them to make recommendations on the length and type of sentence, within clearly defined ranges. – Jenny Chapman and Jacqui Smith
5. We should consider the power of equity release, on fair terms, to transfer assets from one generation to the next. – Caroline Flint
6. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) should be abolished with residual functions moving to the Cabinet Office. – Steve Reed and Paul Brant
7. While the Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland offices could be merged into a single Department of the Nations. – Patrick Diamond