Blair's new social contract should be viewed with scepticism. My hunch is this is little more than a publicity stunt pledging "a new more explicit contract between the state and the citizen on agreed public outcomes" but failing to change much of what is already in place.
The two key policies mooted are "that a local health authority will only offer a hip replacement if the patient undertakes to keep their weight down." This seems fair but how it can be assessed and implemented will be another matter. It will certainly victimize those who are already suffering and is a very nannying approach. Why cannot Doctors' simply advise patients that they must diet and exercise regularly without the dead hand of the state drafting a condescending contract for these people to sign? Due to my failure to slim I have been a bad citizen.
Another measure though seems far more intrusive - "Parents might also be asked to sign individually tailored contracts with a school setting out what the parents must do at home to advance their child's publicly-funded education." Whilst clearly parents are responsible for the education of their children how the hell does the state think it can draw the lines? Clearly when children behave badly something is wrong but do we want the metaphorical parents bullying dad John Reid and the insane mother, Blair, telling people what to do as part of their social contract? You must have Shakespeare in the home, play Mozart and whip the blighters if they don't attend school. What is provided in exchange is improved police response times.
The social contract should stick to states providing an agreed supply of public services and order given to the public from taxation. Obviously when citizens transgress certain laws they should be arrested or dealt with appropriately. Politicians should also respond to their constitutional obligations and should be held to account accordingly. The idea that you can draw up guidelines for parenting as a social contract is repugnant even though we probably realise certain approaches will be better than others. Yet Blair declaring from on high declaring what we should do (in a pseudo-contract) stinks.