May 17, 2013 17:41 BST Like Minds This month we have invited Philippa Snare to discuss digital innovation in business. As...
The Big Society: Cameron's Cunning Plan
Gallant2000Jul 19, 2010 15:34 BST
There are two elements to the Big Society. David Cameron talked about the Big Society as a scheme that gives power to the individual. That is how the Tories, before the elections, summed up their approach to society’s issues and equality. The idea was originally from Nat Wei, now Lord Wei, and it was to give people their own personal power; power to control their community, their establishments and their local government.
Wei’s original concept was to apply this to social enterprise, businesses with the interest of society at their core. Cameron’s application of it, however, is a very different interpretation of the theory. Cameron’s thinking is to tell the public “You and your local government come together and join forces.” However wonderful this sounds having power in the hands of the public, when things go wrong, it is down to the public to do something about it, rather than the local government doing its job and helping.
Some say, this concept is basically volunteering recycled. It is, they say, putting the public’s services to use, whilst no direct benefit to those individuals is obvious, ignoring equality and practical means. Having interfering mother’s march into schools and take over may be a step in the right direction, but when pavements on the high streets are cracked, mislaid and likely to cause damage, how are the citizens of Britain able to deal with that?
Still, other critics call Cameron’s claims as mere misdirection. He rose to power in an election based on his demonising of Britain’s current state, calling it the Broken Britain. Upgrading from this, he then developed Wei’s original Big Society, to plug the hole that Broken Britain became. The critics of this say it is similar to George W. Bush’s War on Terror, creating an issue and then a solution to increase his popularity and secure his tenure in the White House.
The Big Society is a good idea, in theory it works. Creating trust and giving power to the people are values that have been held up by more liberal people in the past than the followers of cruelty and slavery have ever had. It’s not a good idea, though, to rush in on these ideas without a fully developed plan. If David Cameron and the ConDems fail to think ahead, this will lead to a rise in inequality, distrust, distress and disease in Britain’s society.