I've written a piece for The Guardian's Comment is Free website, about Tory proposals to tackle poverty, which Tim has been kind enough to Twitter in praise of. Not all the comments have been supportive but I was interested in the following response.
13 Aug 09, 11:45am (about 4 hours ago)
I work for a youth charity which has dealings with local authorities of all stripes and has had some involvement with the centre for social justice. I have to say (not being a Tory) that I have been impressed with their progressive stance, and applaud their courage in actually pointing out that the Emperor is in fact not wearing any clothes – Britain is broken, and we are selling the most disenfranchised in our society down the river if we don't admit that.
I agree with Iain Duncan Smith that the voluntary sector is buckling under the weight of a bloated – if well intentioned – Labour administration. It is impossible to get anything done. They are obsessed with 'evidence' and use this as an excuse for not actually doing anything …
I never thought I'd be a Tory sympathiser but after coming up against Labour Councils where youth teams circulate a memo calling a meeting on a particular issue, and then sit in a room where no one is allowed to speak for an hour (honestly, in silence!!) and then write up the minutes so that if anyone asks they can say 'they had a meeting about it' rather than ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING then I'm all for change. This is despite them having money chucked at them to tackle particular issues and to work in partnership with the third sector, which they seem to treat as a bunch of dangerous hippies, rather than the extremely experienced and solutions focused bunch that we are. They is some astonishing talent out there in charities and social enterprises really, really making a difference to people's lives.
I have read, researched and written extensively on youth crime, teenage pregnancy, social exclusion, poverty of aspiration, social cohesion etc etc etc and without fail poverty is the underlying cause.
The poverty gap has widened more in the last ten years than it has since the Second World War. Britain is failing its most vulnerable – its a disgrace. And disempowering people with this ridiculous nanny state is an assault on human dignity.
I agree that the Tories are right on this one, and whilst I thought I'd never say it I will never vote Labour again.