One thing should be made clear from the off: what follows is no kind of endorsement of Michael Gove’s record at the Department for Education, the way that the rhetoric of empowerment is often being used as a mask for centralism, his top-down and hopelessly reactionary plans for the National Curriculum, the increasingly political use of inspections to drive
On the second day of Labour conference in Manchester, one thing is undeniably clear. If the no-brainer purpose of this year’s event was to put some flesh on the bones of the themes essayed in last year’s leader’s speech (responsible capitalism, predators vs producers), those in charge look to have pulled it off.
The Labour Party did pretty well last Thursday – but first, the obligatory caveats.
The aftershocks of George Osborne’s budget ripple on, but one aspect of the last couple of weeks has barely been mentioned.
Plenty of things unsettle the modern Labour Party, but it often seems positively tortured about one issue in particular: long-term unemployment, and exactly how it should respond to Iain Duncan Smith’s increasingly troubled Work Programme.