Gordon Brown seems to have proven his critics wrong. Rather than the 'iron fisted' 'control freak' we were promised by the tabloids we have a prime minister who yesterday proposed an ambitious constitutional reform programme. If it all comes off Gordon Brown will have less power and Parliament and Local Government will have more.
In today's Guardian Involve published an article arguing that while constitutional reform to increase democratic accountability is morally the right thing to do, the new prime minister must go further. Procedural reforms are unlikely to dent the chronic public disinterest that plagues Britain, with just 33% of those in the bottom social class feeling they can influence government decisions.
The focus needs to be on changing the very culture of government so that it works with, not just for, the people. From empowering frontline staff to work with service users, to using new deliberative forums or asking more of politicians themselves in leading debate, it is vital that fine words on people power do not become corroded by constitutional dogma. We have a powerful opportunity for change. The jury is out as to whether this can and will be grasped.
This blog is a repository for posts I have made over the years at Involve as well as more personal reflections.