By Ray Fleming

FRANCIS Maude, the Lib-Con coalition's Cabinet Office minister made some good points yesterday about the need for a new government to move quickly to implement its programme of reform. He claimed that Margaret Thatcher lost impetus in her first term and that Tony Blair wasted his first five years.

Mr Maude has probably been worried by growing concern over the frantic pace at which the coalition is introducing new programmes. There is always a balance to be struck between getting a move on and making sure that the proposals being pushed through are thoroughly prepared; rushed legislation usually proves to be bad legislation. Although Mr Maude exuded optimism and confidence yesterday there are already signs that too much is being done too soon.

Michael Gove's Academies Bill is a rickety structure which may need shoring up later in the year. David Cameron's Big Society concept remains vague but he has said enough about it to cause several leading charities to ask publicly whether he is unaware of what they have been doing for many years past. Francis Maude spoke yesterday about the latest idea, “a new wave of public sector entrepreneurs willing to take over public services as co-ops or mutuals”. By definition a public service must not only serve the public satifactorily but must also be accountable to an appropriate authority -- quango, government, parliament. We hear nothing about these supervisory functions which are essential to the success of many of the coalition's proposals.

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