Urban Agenda -- 21st Century Political Renewal


Reprinted w/permission-Washington Post Writers Group & the artist

Building a pro-city platform and Urban Agenda for the next Presidential campaign & locally.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

What can be learned from Britain?

From this article, "This time, Brown is not the enemy of reform," from the Daily Telegraph:

There are few more astute students of the Conservative Party, its history and its trajectory than Gordon Brown. Brooding over what might lie ahead - and the likelihood that he will be facing David Cameron over the despatch box in the foreseeable future - the Chancellor has been much influenced by The Roads to Modernity, a recent exploration of the Enlightenment by the distinguished American thinker, Gertrude Himmelfarb.

In her book, Himmelfarb seeks to reclaim the Enlightenment from the French, and identifies a moderate, civilised British variant of that intellectual movement, visible in the "social affections" that bind this country together, the "moral sense" of Lord Shaftesbury, and the notion of capitalism with a social conscience explored by Adam Smith.

Reading this book and digesting its analysis of inherited British values has bolstered Mr Brown's conviction that the Tories face a fundamental problem in what he regards as their destructive plan to "marketise" and privatise the public services. That is not, he thinks, the British way....

The Chancellor argues that the Tory modernisers have completely misunderstood the 1997 Labour landslide as essentially a PR coup, and have failed to acknowledge the many years of painful policy repositioning - much of it carried out by one G Brown - that preceded electoral victory.
Certainly the Democrats really need to understand how Labour vanquished what appeared to be the new permanent dominance of the Conservatives. I know that part of "Cool Brittania" was the diminuation of the role of the labor unions in the party.

But I have to believe that the kinds of issues that appeal to "universal-ethical-humanists" not necessarily bound by religion have a broader appeal.


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