Peter Hoskin

Consensus building

Consensus building
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Labour have come out fighting on welfare reform today - with James Purnell stressing the Government's commitment to the agenda in an interview with the FT, and Tony McNulty doing likewise in an article for the Guardian.  Although neither go beyond anything we've heard before - in spite of the the fact that the reform proposals could do with a redraft for the recession era - I'm pleased by the general thrust of their comments. 

Here's why: when even the Brown Government - headed by a man who's obsessed about creating dividing lines with the Tories - can talk welfare reform during the economic crisis, then it shows just how strong the growing political consensus on the issue is.  Throw in the growing public consensus too, and the pressure will remain on the next government to implement a far-reaching reform agenda.  With unemployment creeping ever-upwards to 3 million, and with thousands of lives blighted by this country's welfare ghettoes, that can only be a good thing.