So, the Labour Party has launched its so-called Big Conversation. (As you'd expect, the website is pretty crummy.) It's not really obvious what this thing is about, since, as everyone has pointed out, Blair and colleagues have no intention of changing their policies. He doesn't, after all, have a reverse gear.
What's surprised me most about this is the number of people who have been fooled into describing it as being something to do with the government. A random selection from Google News:
Students say the government's new public consultation exercise, the ``Big Conversation'', is a perfect opportunity to reverse its top-up fees plan.
Liam Fox MP (Conservative co-chairman, in case you've forgotten):
Speaking in response to the Government's launch of the Big Conversation, Co-chairman of the Conservative Party, Dr Liam Fox MP, said:
``... This is another example of the Government trying to detract attention from their failures....''
The culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, was being interviewed about the government's ``Big Conversation'' initiative ...
...the government's forthcoming ``big conversation'' ...
Leader of the House Peter Hain today hailed the Government's `big conversation' campaign as the biggest consultation ``in living memory''....
The `Big Conversation' is nothing to do with the government. It's a Labour Party gimmick alone. (A real government consultation would be more subtly futile.)
Blair himself does his best to confuse the issue, of course, but deeply partisan nature of the survey and other stuff on the Big Conversation site does, at least, make things pretty clear in a way that the media and Labour's political opponents have somehow failed to.
I hope that nobody wastes too much time over it -- having written the above, I feel like I certainly have.