A belief that things are better left unchanged, or even that they used to be better in some distant golden age before it was all ruined, are pretty much the epitome of conservative views.
In contrast, people with progressive views are usually those who want to move society forward, believe that the best is yet to come, that things can be improved through reform. "Progressive" is a term adopted by those with liberal, leftish, social democrat views.
Why then, when it comes to the public sector, are many "progressives" being so damn reactionary? The prevalent view on blogs, twitter, LJ, The Guardian and so on seems to be completely conservative in analysis of the UK public sector. It was all better before it was ruined, it shouldn't be changed other than possibly to go back to the way things were, all that's needed is more money…
What happened to a belief in reform, in improvement and building a future rather than attempting to relive a golden age? Instead we only hear the constant cries of outrage being replaced by a muted rumbling of begrudging support from the gallery when a reform is halted.
I'm not saying that all change is good and should be supported regardless of intent or outcome. However, it seems that there's no appetite for reform at all. There's no desire for looking at comparable systems around the world and choosing the best features, or performing our own experiments and measuring the outcomes. The only view is of our own past, and a belief that it was better.
That's not progressive politics, and it is not helping anybody.