In October 1994, Tony Blair, then the freshly anointed leader of the Labour Party, launched Social Justice: Strategies for National Renewal, the final report of the Commission on Social Justice, an initiative begun two years earlier by his predecessor, John Smith. The Commission was hosted by the left-of-centre think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and was conducted at arm’s length from the policy-making organs of the party. The idea was that Labour would be free to, as Smith put it, “pick and choose” from the Commission’s conclusions, while the commissioners would be relieved of the obligation to draw up “a detailed programme of spending and revenue raising” (though they did in the end offer a number of detailed recommendations).
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