This paper seeks to draw out the continuities and ruptures in current English education policy. In particular it considers the relationship between Coalition policy rhetoric and that of the Labour Party. Although the paper is concerned with the British and more specifically English context, it examines a range of questions that move beyond that particular setting. It explores the way in which we can understand crisis and the manner in which this informs policy discussion and the re-ordering of neo-liberalism. In conclusion, it argues that the presumed radicalism of the Labour Party can only take us so far, and that an examination of policy for its progressive and radical possibilities, whatever their origins, is an important site of struggle.