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Change is Coming

Yesterday I spent a few hours at a feedback session with an organisation called Britain Remade. The session was badged as “What is slowing the growth of Cambridgeshire?” and was hosted by our excellent Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce.

It won’t surprise anyone that the main three themes that arose were skills, transport infrastructure and funding. Those from Britain Remade who attended, suggested that these themes are being heard across the country.

I am not going to harp on about those specific issues, there are plenty of people who are better placed to make comment than I am (although that won’t stop me saying something sometime in the future).

What is interesting to me is that this organisation exists. It is one of a growing number that are emerging, all on a theme about reinventing the way our country works. Another is the one set up by various senior Labour figures, including Gordon Brown and Andy Burnham which is called the Alliance for Radical Democratic Change. It is interesting, because that one is led by people from the centre left whereas Britain Remade seems to be led from the centre right; albeit both, are quite rightly, issues focussed rather than being politically aligned.

More and more of these organisations are starting to emerge, coming from political centrists who recognise that our system is fundamentally flawed. I am pretty sure that we will see more and more of them especially, I suspect, after the next election when plenty of former Conservatives will be examining career options, but also because I believe the next election will bring the need for political renewal to the fore.

There are two possible ways forward from this point. The first is that senior Labour and Conservative MPs from the centre left and the centre right can recognise that change is needed and start to drive it; making sure it is sufficiently radical whilst being driven by the right principles. The second option is that MPs can continue to bury their heads in the sand and wait until the pressure for change reaches a point where someone from one of the political edges exploits the issue and some sort of change is made based on the wrong principles.

The question is no longer whether political renewal is going to happen, but rather where is it going to be driven from.


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