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Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Red sky thinking: I can see clearly now
red sky thinking v & n buzzword, management-speak 1. A thought process (or actual idea) born of the desire to come up with an innovative (and every-so-slightly-left-of-centre) solution to an already much mulled over problem.

CITATION: "Labour turns to 'red sky' thinking: Party's think-tank project seeks to plug the intellectual gap." The Guardian 03/04/02.

EXAMPLE: "We need to ask big questions about what life will be like in 10 or 20 years," says David Triesman, from the Labour Party's new Forethought group.

VARIATION ON: Blue sky thinking (cf. out of the box), which has long been an excuse for business executives to don khaki slacks and head off on away days to seek radical answers to such intractable dilemmas as: "Why can't I ever find a paperclip when I need one?"

UPDATED: Adopting a "blue sky" approach may worry many Labour members, since blue is the colour of political rivals the Conservatives.

Also, the last time Labour appointed a "blue sky thinker" - Lord Birt as transport advisor - the whole affair ended amid clouds of controversy.

ALSO SEE: The aquatic variation "clear blue water" - coined in the 1990s to describe the Conservative efforts to put a discernable ideological distance between the UK's two main parties.

NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH: Classic Private Eye cover photograph caption during 1981 inner-city riots: "Red sky at night, Brixton's alight".

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