Peter Hoskin

Cameron kicks off the transparency agenda

Cameron kicks off the transparency agenda
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Here I am, in a cavernous "space" in East London, for a conference on the Post-Bureaucratic Age - or  "See-Through Government," as Guido more evocatively put it. David Cameron has kicked things off with a speech on the issue, and there'll be talks and panels throughout the day. It's like Glastonbury for policy wonks.

So how was Cameron? Well, he's normally at his snappiest and most persuasive when he talks about all this tech stuff - and today was no exception. All the usual lines about "handing power to the people," and eroding "the dull, stultifying presence of state control," made an encouraging appearance. And he outlined what this would mean in practice, with new policies on town planning, for instance. But what was more striking was how he set out the fiscal case for reform  - something the Tories haven't done enough, to my mind. As Cameron put it: "We can increase our wealth and well-being without spending more money". They should shout this as loudly as possible between now and the election.

In some ways, the timing of this conference isn't ideal for Cameron. With the gap closing in the polls, and the nascent election campaign already reducing to a street fight, he probably needs more opportunities to set out the Tories' core messages to the public. All this talk of a Post-Bureaucratic Age isn't really going to win many - if any - votes. But it's gathering pace as an idea, and remains one of the Tories' most promising policy areas.

P.S. When I say "cavernous"...