Peter Hoskin

Brown the Reformer: er, good luck with that

Brown the Reformer: er, good luck with that
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Brace yourselves. According to the Guardian, Brown is about to sell himself as a Great Reformer:

"Brown, the cabinet sources say, decided in the past few weeks to adopt a tougher pro-public sector reform stance, in order that his defence of the state in the face of recent attacks on big government by David Cameron does not become confused with complacency about the current performance of the public sector."

Despite the sensibleness of the reform argument, I can't imagine that Brown will make much headway with this. For starters, he has that "Roadblock to Reform" label, and Labour's patchy record on public service reform, hovering over him like the proverbial albatross. And, then, you imagine he won't want to go too far with it all, from fear of upsetting Labour's increasingly dominant union paymasters. Finally, there's the simple fact that the Tories have a superior reform package on offer - albeit mainly because of Gove's Swedish Schools agenda.

Re-reading George Osborne's reform-heavy "progressive" speech from a few months back, it's also clear that the Tories have their counterarguments on this primed and ready to lob in Brown's direction. You can expect to hear plenty of them in the next few months.