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November 09, 2007



the vision of social progress that we on the centre-right believe in: the role of strong independent institutions, run by and for local people.

Like the GLC!

Mark Wadsworth

The other point about co-op's is that most 'sell out' in the end. From building societies to kibbutzen.


The problem here is that Dave from PR is not offering the restoration of professional autonomy, but an opportunity for a different group to violate it - pushy posh parents rather than meddling ministerial managerialists.

Note that as co-ops go, the John Lewis Partnership (a worker co-op) beats the hell out of the Co-op co-op (a consumer co-op), which can't just be explained by differential poshness of its customers for that very reason.

Mike Ion


I am not sure I follow all of this. You talk about the 'wisdom of crowds' and professional autonomy but fail to explain exactly what you mean.

Can you have organisations run by the 'wisdom' of the crowd (whatever that means) whislt maintaining professional autonomy? Will professionals happily defer to the crowd's wisdom?

Your cynicism with regards to Labour's achievements in education (yes, I do think there have been some achievements) is just that, cynicism. Are you suggesting that we have made no progress in this area?

In 2006 well over half of all 15-16 year olds in maintained schools achieved five or more 'higher passes' at the end of compulsory schooling. This is the hurdle set in the past for only those attending grammar schools, one which many, even of that selected minority, failed to surmount. In 1970, 47% of pupils left secondary school with no qualifications; in 2006 that figure was down to 2%. In 1972 14% of under 21 year olds entered higher education, in 2006 43% entered. Nearly half of the age group entering higher education is an aim which would have seemed impossibly ambitious a generation ago.


I don't see how Mike Ion can take credit for 'impprovements' in schooling since 1972 for new Labour.

Anyway, Chris perhaps you are beginning to see the light. Pushy parents if that is what you think will happen are infinitely better than an uncaring state to run the schools. They will create benefits even for the non-pushy parents.

Perhaps this could produce an opposite to the 'tyranny of the majority'...


Mike - it's trivially easy to have both the wisdom of crowds and professional autonomy.
If professionals run their own businesses as cooperative partnerships, we have professional autonomy. And the wisdom of crowds - the market - selects which partnerships it thinks works best.
This works well for law and accountancy firms, among many others. The question is: what, if anything, would stop it working for schools or hospitals?
And I'm not denying that Labour has made some progress in education.


Nice riposte Chris - I especially like the law and accountancy firms analogy. You're dead right about the Boss Party - or more like the Bossy Party. All those ghastly NuLab apparatchiks like Kelly and Milliband, busybodying around telling people what to do. They haven't got a clue.

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