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In praise of Jamie’s

Dropping by at Jamie's

In the margins of today, I’m writing a speech for the RSA this week on public service reform. If there’s one image i want to get across, it’s Jamie’s in Southampton, which I visited in Southampton last week. It’s a homeless charity which has set up an IT business, teaching technology skills to local people plus refurbishing old kit from local companies to help pay the bills. It was truly inspiring. They are a great example of the argument I want to make, that in what American writer, Andre Cherny, calls the ‘post-bureacratic age’ I think we need to draw on the Labour party’s ‘pre-bureaucratic traditions’; the culture of combining government help with community organisation. My friend Greg Rosen showed my a great quote from Sidney Webb to underline this point; in 1923, Webb reminded Labour conference, the Labour party didn’t start with Marx. It started with Robert Owen. Jamie’s is a very modern, and very good, illustration of that truth today.

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