>Is ‘Big Society’ such a big idea?


David Cameron and Nick CleggImage by CabinetOffice via Flickr

Today Prime Minister David Cameron launched one of the main themes of the Conservative election manifesto, the Big Society. The idea hardly set the campaign alight, but Cameron clearly believes it in it so strongly that he has gone with it anyway.

I have no objection to people and communities being at the forefront of decision making. After all, who knows what a community needs better than the community itself? It is also quite reassuring that a Conservative Party leader has realised that there is in fact such thing as society.

However, I do believe that Government should not wash their hands of the responsibility of protecting the most needy in society. The other key issue is where is the big cheque for this big idea coming from?

As with most policies in this vein, only time will tell if this a mere fad, a disaster, or a good idea. If ‘Big Society’ can give the charity and third sectors the boost they so deserve, and does some good, then I am all for it. If it means people taking pride in their communities, then I am all for it. If it means less central Government interference on local politics, then I’m all for it.  But if it is just a way for the Government to take key services off the books, then I am much more wary.

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