Article written for Progress magazine on my hopes for Labour's second term in office - June 2001

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I would like to see the Government adopting more rational solutions to the problems we face and reviewing some of those actions in the last parliament that were driven by events or opportunistic. Particular issues we should revisit are the extension of means-testing (as, for example, in the decline in universal benefits and the increasing complexity of tax credits) and the use of private capital in circumstances in which public borrowing would offer better value. Offering hope to people that, by their own efforts, they can improve their quality of life cannot be achieved by stigmatising those not in work.

The low turnout in the election marks a dramatic decline in the health of our democratic institutions, including the Labour Party itself, which is deeply worrying. Those whose views and experiences are dismissed, without good cause, by a powerful elite will opt out of the system. To ignore this apathy is to nurture anarchy. It is not just our public services that need a to be rescued but democracy itself. Tony and Gordon should not think they must take all this responsibility on themselves. They must learn how to use all the resources at their disposal far more effectively - before they waste away!

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