The politics of the PBR
Much political journalism these days seems to be written by people who would rather be sports reporters. Who’s in the team, who’s heading for relegation or who had a good game are more frequently written about than the policy or ideological issues that are at stake.
We generally do not go in for that much here. It’s all over the rest of the political blogosphere, so there’s no shortage. As an alternative we try to concentrate on writing about policy issues in a non-party way, even though we obviously and proudly write from a clear commitment to the progressive and collective values that have always driven the best of trade unionism.
But something quite important has happened in UK politics in the last week. It seems a long time since David Cameron was using the Conservative Party conference to near-suspend conventional party politics in the face of the possible collapse of the banking system.
There is not much of that left. Indeed the strength of the partisanship shown by George Osborne today could even be taken as a back-handed compliment to Gordon Brown – the world is now safe for political argument once again.
But the real significance is two-fold.
- Labour is now at ease talking about a more progressive tax system after many years in which it was taboo. And the sky has not fallen in after today’s announcements. They may even find that they like it.
- The Conservatives now also seem to be more at ease with themselves after a clear move back to their traditional small state, low tax roots. They may be out of step with almost every government in power, whether of right and left, but it looks authentic.
Politics once again is much more interesting.