Cameron’s flagship idea of the ‘Big Society’ has been attracting comment from all sides at the moment. The Sunday papers have some useful comment.
Starting with the horse’s mouth - David ‘I have a plan’ Cameron in the Observer has a leader Have no doubt, the Big Society is on its way. David Cameron argues that we must ignore the sceptics - he has a “compelling plan to engage us all in transforming Britain”. There will be “no more of a government treating everyone like children”. He goes on to assert:
“Naturally, I would prefer to see more positive headlines about the “big society”, but I am very upbeat about the torrent of newsprint expended on this subject. For too long, our country has failed to have a proper debate on how we can make our society stronger and give people more power. Now it is happening.”
Meanwhile over in the Independent Ed ‘the wrong’ Miliband counters with “The Big Society: a cloak for the small state”. He argues that the cuts have fatally undermined Cameron’s big idea and its backers are deserting it. He adds that “compassionate conservatism”, was a “cloak” to confuse voters, and we are now seeing the “recontamination” of the Tory brand. He writes:
“Last week we saw his big idea, the Big Society, exposed. When I asked him about it in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron blustered on about how everyone should support “volunteering and philanthropic giving”. Indeed we do. And Labour took important steps to support both the charitable sector and volunteering during our time in office. But no one can volunteer at a library or a Sure Start centre if it’s being closed down. And nor can this Conservative-led government build a Big Society while simultaneously undermining its foundations with billions of pounds worth of cuts to the voluntary sector. Those are not merely numbers on a piece of paper; they affect real people.”
Thus Miliband claims that the Big Society is faltering because David Cameron does not recognise the importance of the state, saying: “The reason why Mr Cameron’s Big Society is in such trouble is not simply because the Government is making painful cuts. The way it is doing it – so far, so fast – speaks to its ideological heart. It really believes that a small state will produce a Big Society.”
The news comes amid reports in the Mail on Sunday that Nick Clegg is undermining the Big Society, a phrase he has banned from being used in the Cabinet Office, because he believes the policy is a “waste of time”.
All useful stuff for unit 1 Political Parties….