Monday, 12 May 2008

Serious politics

Gordon Brown may be suffering from a glut of books and homeward-bound roosting chickens. But, he is rightly concentrating on issues that matter. The inadequacy of social care for elderly people is an issue of huge importance to millions of people. We all know too many people who have found it far too difficult to get adequate support in looking after sick and elderly parents or spouses. The state can't afford to provide social care for all (as the Scots have well demonstrated) nor should it, but this is an area demanding solutions every bit as imaginative as Adair Turner's pensions review. Automatically signing people up to a low administrative cost insurance scheme - from which they could opt out but in doing so would reduce their rights later - seems the only sensible way forward. That Brown is talking about it today shows that the Government is still thinking about the big reforms that are needed - and has certainly not run out of ideas - even if everyone else is more bothered about Frank Field's tenth anniversary revenge for being (wrongly) removed as welfare reform minister at Brown's behest.

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