Brown hints at 'politics 2.0'

Worth reading Gordon Brown’s speech this morning, in which he describes the need for ‘a new type of politics which embraces everyone in this nation, not just a select few… a politics that takes a hard look at the tough questions, not the easy path of short-term slogans.’ OK, where’s he going with this?

‘The power of progressive politics rests in the empowerment of the people it serves. I believe that progressive politics in this country will only truly succeed in shaping a better Britain if we actively reach out to new ideas, find new ways of engaging the people in our communities, and then build a consensus for change.

‘I believe that we need new ways of reaching out. New ways of listening to people. New ways of consulting on new ideas. New ways of engaging in a dialogue and deliberation. And thus new ways of building our democracy for the future.’

Things kick off this week with the introduction of a concept of ‘citizens juries’: one this week on children, another next week on crime. Then we’ll get ‘nine simultaneous citizens juries on the NHS – one in each region – linked by video.’ (However, as Nick Robinson points out, No10 is a bit short on detail, and I’m not seeing an application form on the No10 site.) We’ll also get a mega-jury ‘composed of a representative sample of the British people… to formulate the British statement of values’, and a revival of the cross-party Speaker’s Conference, to look at various aspects of the electoral and democratic process.

All good: whilst I doubt these juries will change much, it certainly makes a positive statement. It’s just a shame the political coverage will concentrate mainly on (a) the lack of a denial about an early election, and (b) the involvement of certain individuals in Brown’s commissions of all the talents.