The Labour party may not realise what is about to hit it. Brown believes the days of political parties as “small organisations of people who are accused of talking to themselves” are over. In future, constituency parties will become local hubs, building links with other networks and groups, and using new technology to reach out way beyond their usual supporters.
Brown expands his theme: “There are so many different forms of communication – writing, phoning, the internet – at the moment we’re not doing enough to keep people informed and to show people that when they have a view, we’re prepared to listen to them.” So we may become like New Yorkers, who can access “real-time information” about what is happening in every precinct of the city on the internet, whether it is crime, health or education.
There are ideas here, big ones, but throughout the time my tape recorder has been running Brown has remained guarded in his language. As soon as we are talking off the record he becomes a different person – enthusiastic and genuinely excited at the thought of being able to change politics. … He is certain he can win the next election by sorting out health, education and housing, and by ushering in a new style of politics. If the public could see this side of Brown they would warm to him more.
Communication? Networks? Internet? Big ideas? Blimey. The next month could be a bit quiet, but the following 100 days might be very interesting indeed. It’ll be a heck of a challenge… but when Downing Street says ‘do it’, the civil service really doesn’t get a choice.