Public finance articles

Free Schools: not for turning.

Below, an amended version of Melissa Benn’s latest blog on the Public Finance website
So it looks like only a handful of Free Schools will be opening in 2011, and some high profile projects like Toby Young’s West London Free School might be delayed for a year or two. Following on from the PR disasters of the BSF funding announcements and the widespread criticism of the way that the Academies Bill was pushed through the Commons in late July,

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Thinking the unthinkable

Frank Field’s feckless fathers, by Melissa Benn
Posted in: PF blog
11:09 am, 30 June 2010 | Melissa Benn
For as long as I can remember, Frank Field has been thinking the unthinkable. Now part of David Cameron’s cost-cutting team, some old ideas are being re-cycled in a new supposedly culturally and politically sensitive form. His proposals, however, will face some very familiar problems.
Single mothers have long been in the firing line. Remember Peter Lilley and his 1992 conference speech about having a ‘little list…of benefit offenders I’ll soon be rooting out’?

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Not new but next….

My latest post from Public Finance. – with a little bit added!
It’s official: New Labour is no more. We have it on the word of one of the previous government’s sharpest political brains, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, the first to throw his hat into the ring for the party leadership. With his trademark air of authority, Miliband has informed us that we are now living in the era of Next Labour.
Personally,

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On Burma and Bigotgate……..

Read Melissa Benn’s latest pieces on the web. Further comment on ‘bigotgate’ in Public Finance, and a piece on one of Burma’s most celebrated activists, the poet and comedian Zarganar, recently sentenced to thirty five years for criticising the government’s handling of cyclone Nargis in 2008, on the Guardian’s Liberty Central section of Comment is Free.

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Something to believe in…

….or is it? Am I being too optimistic in my latest post– more of a note – in Public Finance? You tell me. But the Labour manifesto, as drafted by Ed Miliband, and much discussed, even derided, in recent weeks, seems to contain some very good things.
Now if only there had been more about housing…not to mention a promise to abolish Trident… a pledge to break down the crippling divisions within our school system…..a pledge to withdraw from Afghanistan….

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Save our local everything!

Read Melissa Benn’s first post on the new Public Finance website:
If a tired Labour government, 12 years in, struggles to develop a credible vision to sell to the voters, the Conservatives seem to have hit on a rich and popular idea that I am sure we will hear more of as the election edges near, an idea I shall crudely summarise as ‘Save our local everything!’
For the rest of the post click here

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Playing catch up

It might be too early to call, but the rather bold education white paper, published this week, looks like giving Labour a surprise lead in the political battle over public service reform.
Only a week ago, the idea of a fresh vision from Labour on any policy area was being belittled by a largely cynical commentariat, who have got into the habit of seeing everything Brown does as the last gasp of a desperate beast.
At the same time,

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