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A final point gives me a chance to link this discussion to Daniel Finkelstein who is writing some fantastic stuff at the moment. Like our greatest ever modern political essayist, George Orwell, Danny is at his best criticising his own side.

A final point gives me a chance to link this discussion to Daniel Finkelstein who is writing some fantastic stuff at the moment. Like our greatest ever modern political essayist, George Orwell, Danny is at his best criticising his own side.

Today he is attacking the Conservatives for failing to champion the progress made using law and order which he says came originally from right of centre politicians like Michael Howard.

I wonder whether Daniel would also agree with me that another danger with the Conservatives is their apparent support for professional self regulation in the public services.

As I said earlier, we need better, more outcome based, less intrusive, regulation but that is different than simply handing power back to the professionals and producers.

Attacking regulation is an easy hit but if the Conservatives dismantle the centre’s capacity to tackle under-performance not only will they will be going back on many of the reforms of both Thatcher and Major, but they will only end up having to reverse the policy in the face of a public intolerance of failing services.

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