Monday, 19 July 2010

I have seen two headlines today:

 Cameron defines his Big Society

Cameron defines his Big Society "passion"

First statement not true, second statement true.

It seems that Dave has a "passion" for the "big society" but, like a lovesick teenager, he can shout from the rooftops the strength of his emotions, but, blinded by desire, he is dumbstruck and tongue-tied, unable to explain the actual nature of his love.

This quote from ConservativeHome;
"The Big Society is about a huge culture change… where people, in their everyday lives, in their homes, in their neighbourhoods, in their workplace… don’t always turn to officials, local authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face… but instead feel both free and powerful enough to help themselves and their own communities."
and ...
"It’s about people setting up great new schools. Businesses helping people getting trained for work. Charities working to rehabilitate offenders... Paying public service providers by results."
All very nice, and some of happening right now....but what does that actually mean in any practical situation?

Take "setting up great schools". We have six secondary and about 30 primary schools in our council area. If  I decide to take one of these schools out of local authority control, what happens next? Does the council still have to provide support for the deserting school? Legal, environmental, help with social issues and health matters? With dyslexic kids and those who lag behind? Or will my new "great" school bar all these troublesome pupils in the interest of remaning "great"? What happens to the schools left behind? Do they absorb the problems pupils I have just shed? Do they get less money allocated as the new school gets set up help from the government?

"Setting up great schools" seems like a great idea... but it looks like the typical Thatcherite Tory fragmentation - not a cementation - of society, whether you call it "big" or just normal....

There's a lot more of it, all as vague and imprecise as the above.
So we drive in the direction of where Dave thinks the "big society" might be, but we have no assurance that we are using the right road map and we have no clue as to how we will identify the beast, should it really exist, and should we ever find it....

With a bit of luck it'll all peter out in the sands of the desert.

With less luck, it will recreate the broken Tory society that labour inherited in 1997....

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