Daily Archives: February 23, 2011

Jim Pickard

Les Bayliss was the contender for the leadership of the Unite union last autumn who called on the movement to resist the urge for mass strikes.

In the end it was the more openly left-wing Len McCluskey, from the old T&G branch of the superunion, who swept to power at the end of December. Read more

Jim Pickard

One of the fascinating aspects of the events in Libya is how swiftly the western perception of the Gaddafi regime has changed. Only a few weeks ago the country was regarded – albeit with some suspicion and caution – as a reasonable place to do business of a commercial (or political) nature.

The Libyan British Business Council, based at St James’s Park in London’s upmarket West End, has failed to update its website, it seems*. It saysRead more

Jim Pickard

David Cameron made a splash on Monday with an article in the Telegraph calling for an end to monolithic state provision of public services. Downing Street officials were rather vague that day about what it all meant – beyond saying that charities and companies would get a chance to run (or at least bid for) some services. But the prime minister’s message dominated the media cycle that day.

We will find out more when the white paper is published within the next fortnight. Meanwhile the prime minister has achieved the desired impression; that he is a reformer in the Blair mould who wants to see better public services.

What will have passed many people by is that the government has meanwhile quietly dropped its proposal for quotas to ensure that voluntary and private groups deliver a certain proportion of services – as my colleague Nick Timmins revealed the next morning. This rather undermines the idea that ministers are about to force through a revolution in delivery.

As Nick revealed:

That idea was set out in last October’s comprehensive spending review, which said the government would “look at setting proportions of

 Read more