Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2010

What's the big thinking behind The Big Society?

“You can call it liberalism. You can call it empowerment. You can call it freedom. You can call it responsibility. I call it the Big Society.” David Cameron, Liverpool, 19th July 2010.

Well, I call it the biggest steaming pile of political horse manure ever to be dumped on the British people since John Major launched his ‘back to basics’ campaign in the early 1990s. If the ‘Big Society’ were genuinely an important departure in social policy and political culture, the speech would provide some kind of coherent intellectual backdrop, right? If this new initiative were about to be piloted in a number of local authorities around the UK, there would surely be plenty of detail to grapple with?

Let’s take a look at what Cameron actually said about his Big Society.

“It’s about people setting up great new schools. Businesses helping people getting trained for work. Charities working to rehabilitate offenders.”

We can take the first idea as a reference to Michael Gove’s madcap scheme to let do-goo…

The Lib Dems have made their bed and they'll have to die in it.

If you’d asked me a month ago how long the ConDem coalition would survive in government, I’d reluctantly have conceded maybe two or three years. Both David Cameron and his partner in crime – the puffed-up popinjay Nick Clegg – have invested all their personal credibility in this bizarre political project. They therefore can’t afford for it to fail and will both do their upmost to ensure its survival. The problem is that the government’s pronouncements are becoming more extraordinary by the day and the contradictions inherent within the coalition are causing strains even in this honeymoon period. My hunch, therefore, is that it will end in tears rather sooner than I’d first imagined. A quickie divorce after a year or eighteen months perhaps.

The issue of criminal justice creates one of their biggest pickles. Ken Clarke, that ‘wet’ Europhile relic from a bygone era, has found himself in charge of prisons and he seems to have decided unilaterally that the slammer doesn’t work. This will p…