(January 2006, The Guardian),
"The Labour party must start preparing for the leadership election that will follow Tony Blair's resignation. The most important task is to begin identifying the issues around which it will be centred. The idea that Gordon Brown will succeed without an election and move quietly into No 10, carrying through the policies now being introduced by New Labour - of which he was a founder member - all wrapped up in the union jack is a complete illusion
No one seriously believes that, after the Tories and Liberals have elected their leaders, members of the Labour party will settle for an automatic succession that denies them any choice.
Indeed, this election could and should provide the opportunity for a real and open public discussion about the future, now that David Cameron and the Liberals have joined Tony Blair in an informal post-Thatcherite consensus - which we are told is in the centre but is actually out on the right of British politics, relying on Rupert Murdoch to support it whichever party comes to power.
The greatest challenge will be to reintroduce democracy into a stagnant political system where the centralisation of power has fatally eroded it. Any candidate who came out against the Iraq war, privatisation and the crude commercialisation of our school system, with a hidden return to selection, at the expense of local education authorities, could be sure of party and public support, as would those who argued for pensions linked to earnings, an end to student fees, and a non-nuclear energy policy based on renewables and conservation.
Few would disagree that the rail services should be returned to public ownership and that trade union rights should be brought into line with the provisions of the International Labour Organisation, to which Britain is a signatory.
There is also an urgent need for a re-assertion of our civil liberties, including the principle of jury trials, the presumption of innocence, and a proper supervision of the security services - which may soon be authorised to bug MPs.
Such a programme would require substantial increases in the highest levels of income tax and reductions in public expenditure made possible by our withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and a clear decision not to waste billions on upgrading the Trident system or on costly and unwanted identity cards.
These are all modest proposals but, if the party campaigned for them between now and polling day, I believe they would have a wide popular appeal that would restore confidence in the parliamentary process. This has been seriously eroded by the present system, where hordes of unaccountable advisers debate policies in private and then try to force them on us by using batteries of focus groups and spin doctors, who grossly underestimate our intelligence and expect us to do what we are told."