A few weeks ago I attended the launch of The Plan: twelve months to RENEW BRITAIN, the new book by Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan. I've had the chance to read it now, and I can confirm that it's excellent stuff.
Hannan and Carswell (an MEP and an MP respectively) are the driving force behind Direct Democracy, a group set up in the aftermath of the Conservatives' 2005 general election defeat to develop a new agenda for the party. Their first book, also called Direct Democracy, had a significant impact, really putting the localist agenda at the forefront of the political debate. A series of papers published with the Centre for Policy Studies last year further developed the theme.
The Plan deserves to be their biggest hit yet. Like their previous work, it forcefully and convincingly makes the case for radical policy reform in the UK, covering everything from healthcare (where they advocate health savings accounts) and education (where they call for vouchers), to the reform of local government, parliament and, indeed, British democracy itself (though a much greater role for referenda). Throughout, the emphasis is on empowering the individual, and moving decision-making power as close to the people it affects as possible.
What makes The Plan particularly impressive though is that Carswell and Hannan bring their insight as parliamentarians to it, laying out the legislative steps that would be needed to make their vision a reality. According to their calculations, it would take 12 months and thirty acts of parliament to turn things around. Frankly, I wish someone would let them get started...
You can buy The Plan here.