Steve Hilton, blues skies thinking and the resurgent deregulatory impulse

Steve Hilton has attracted flak across the old and new media following the FT’s revelations about his suggestions for stimulating economic growth. The proposals that hit the headlines included the abolition of maternity leave, labour market policies that contravened European law and the suspension of all consumer rights. Many have criticised the proposals for a range of offences including apparently overlooking the rule of law. Others have defended the utility of blue skies thinking when seeking ways to deal with the challenges that face us.

Personally I’m not averse to blue skies thinking. But the idea that off the wall thinking is central to the role of a strategy director is curious. One would have thought strategy should entail something rather more concrete and grounded, at some point in the process at least. And as someone more disposed to bottom up decision making and a Parliamentary party that is charged with representing the collective will of its members, I’m not so keen on the idea that one unelected, unaccountable and largely anonymous individual should have such influence over policy in the first place.

But the main thing that strikes me about these revelations is that they are not very “Blue Skies” at all. [Read more…]

Trade Unions, street marches, and ConservativeHome’s 10 Immoral Commandments

It never ceases to amaze me quite how uncharitable people at all points on the political spectrum can be toward those who don’t happen to share their perspective. Such tribalism isn’t the exclusive preserve of those who occupy any one part of the political terrain. And there’s quite a bit of it about at the moment.

I was mooching around on a couple of right wing blogs yesterday. The overriding narrative regarding the day’s demonstrations was pretty clear. They were being written off as nothing more than the work of lazy public sector trade unionists seeking to protect their non-jobs, which are funded by those hard working tax payers who work in the private sector. It’s all about self-interest.

Yet, the numbers turning up in London and the social composition of the marchers make that position barely credible. Whatever it was, it wasn’t simply a march of disgruntled and self-interested trade unionists scared of the dole queue. [Read more…]