Thursday, January 27, 2005

Julian Le Grand

There is a feature in today's Guardian about Tony Blair's inner circle. One of the people profiled in depth is Julian Le Grand.

I met Le Grand a few years ago when he gave a talk to the John Stuart Mill Institute at the National Liberal Club. It was based on work that was later published as his book Motivation, Agency and Public Policy: Of Knights, Knaves, Pawns and Queens.

I found his ideas interesting, but the Guardian reports that:
Some, including the unions, claimed that it put him outside the social democrat family since it did not assume public sector workers are purely motivated by altruism.
Purely by altruism? I doubt there has been anyone born who is motivated purely by altruism.

One of the dangers of left and liberal politics is that they will become merely a reflection of the interests of those working in the public sector.

Yes, the public sector ethos is valuable. And, yes, public sector workers are bound to play a prominent part in any successful anti-Tory movement.

But it is nonsense to pretend that all those working in the public sector are finer souls than the rest of us, and to make that the basis of our politics.

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