Tuesday, February 15, 2011

David Cameron’s Big Society policy unrealistic, too much rhetoric, no leadership, no direction and no money, failure appears hard wired in

Dear All

The question keeps getting asked, what is the big society?

This is the policy that David Cameron is personally fronting which is supposed to transfer power from the centre back to ordinary people to take more control of their areas.

The idea isn’t new but like any idea the application of how ‘big society’ will operate is confusing.

Some commentators thinks that ‘big society’ is just a smokescreen for cuts and to make the Tories appear less ‘Tory’.

Big society has a problem, no leadership, no direction and no money.

David Cameron appears to have the broad brush stroke but not tools to create a masterpiece.

However he did sketch his idea on the equivalent of the back of a fag packet.

Leaving people wonder what it was, was it modernism, impressionism, abstract or surrealism.

Who knows!

David Cameron needs to get real about his expectations for the Big Society; either it is done properly or not at all. Don’t build up expectations that don’t deliver.

This is what David Cameron says his “absolute passion” in life, why is it so vague?

If you have a vision it stretches beyond a title.

People will buy into something if the idea is sound, costed, beneficial and structured.

So far Cameron has delivered nothing.

In Scotland there is a better dynamic with Government, the voluntary sector and the people.

But the cuts are killing this; the voluntary sector is getting squeezed hard.

If big society is to work then the voluntary sector is the lynch pin because take away the interface and you have nothing.

Experience matters.

Cameron said of the two major concerns:

“It’s not a cover for anything,” he said, insisting it was “a good thing to build a bigger and stronger society whatever is happening to public spending”.

Cameron told an audience, many of whom were social entrepreneurs, that he accepted the idea of community action was nothing new.

However, missing from the audience was the public, the social elite dropped by but they wouldn’t be doing the work on the ground.

However, Cameron’s relaunch of his flagship policy echoes the failure of Gordon Brown in trying to sell policies that didn’t function.

This has lead to scepticism in many quarters as big society is code for cheap labour.

Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, denouncing the Coalition’s agenda as “slash, burn and sack”, said:

“The logic of this is that his ideal society is Somalia, where the state barely exists, and his hell, the Scandinavian societies that the rest of us admire for combining quality services, equality and dynamic economies.”

The Labour Party position is that on one hand Cameron was supporting an idea and with the other was cutting the legs out from under it.

Cameron needs to make this a flagship policy given he has injected so much political capital in it, so far he is building a house on top of quick sand.

He needs to move the idea along because if he doesn’t he can drive the supports as hard as he wants and he still won’t hit bed rock.

If it doesn’t work there is going to be an almighty hollow thud and loss of credibility.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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