If this constitution comes into force, the EU will be changed, unalterably and for ever, into a wholly new entity: a 27-nation superstate with no democratic legitimacy which will nevertheless rule our lives – and, in all probability, with Tony Blair as its President. It would be beyond intolerable if, at the very moment that the British electorate finally voted out the government he led and consigned Blairism to the bin, the man who did so much damage to Britain as its Prime Minister should be shoehorned into a post which makes him the effective ruler of this country. For if this constitution comes into effect, Britain and the other EU member states will no longer be self-governing nations. Foreign policy, defence, social, economic and welfare policies, immigration, internal security — every national interest will be subordinated to this new anti-democratic entity. As such, ‘President’ Blair would be committing the single most treacherous act of all towards his own country — taking away its own democratic power of self-government.
Melanie Phillips President Blair

The Ownership State

It is hard to underestimate the challenge faced by our public services. Not only must they contend with ever increasing public expectations and societal challenges such as an ageing population, but they must do this in the face of the biggest shock to public finances in living memory. A new approach is needed. This report argues that real improvement depends on harnessing two powerful forces: the insight and dedication of frontline workers, and the engagement and involvement of citizens and communities. We argue that the way to unleash the energies of frontline staff and citizens and scale up their impact is through the power of shared ownership. We propose a new model of public sector delivery, in which services are provided by social enterprises led by frontline workers and owned by them and the communities they serve. These new social businesses would exchange economies of scale (which are all too often illusory) with the real economies that derive from empowered workers and an engaged public.
To deliver this, we recommend that a new power of civil association be granted to all frontline service providers in the public sector. This power would allow the formation, under specific conditions, of new employee and community-owned ‘civil companies’ that would deliver the services previously monopolised by the state. Central to this power would be the obligation to ensure that full budgetary delegation of all the supporting services goes along with new responsibility. The new civil company would be structured as a social enterprise, with the scope and flexibility to allow a number of different governance structures in the light of local conditions.
Governed neither by the public state or the private market, this new civil association would localise responsibility, direct agency and promote ethos. It would do this by spreading the ownership of publicly funded provision, revolutionising public service delivery for the benefit of all.
Philip Blond ResPublica – The Ownership State