The Tory Smoke-Screen, That Is The Big-Society! by David Harney
First posted on http://the67missingpages.blogspot.co.uk/
How The `Big Society` Is Perceived By Many.
Today, the Conservative led Coalition launches it`s £600m `Big-Society` fund for charities, & voluntary groups. It`s called the Big Society Fund, or BSF, but what does it all actually mean, & what benefits will it all provide?
Firstly, it has to be stated here, that a huge slice, £400m in fact, will come from dead bank accounts. Many of these dead bank accounts belong to either people who have themselves died, or from those people who have gone missing. These bank accounts have to have been `dead` for 15 years. This alone raises questions as to why, those hundreds of millions of pounds were not returned to the account owners relatives, during that decade & a half. However, for now, i leave these questions as an interesting aside.
When David Cameron moved into No. 10, he wasted no time in telling us all of his big bright idea, of a `Big-Society`. His vision was of an army of good people, taking a leading role in charitable & community work. Free of charge, & in the interests of all. A `Dunkirk-Spirit`, that would sweep the nation. Or in other words, a `where all in this together` Churchilian attitude of unity & endeavour. Certainly, that`s how I understood his meaning, as perhaps many of us did. His intention was, & still is, to shrink state involvement in local affairs, & hand power to the people. This, he says, will give us all a real feeling of owning our communities. Playing a vital role in community destiny. Genuine democracy in action!
Sounds great doesn`t it? One could say, it sounds very much like a Labour idea, with its left-wing soundbites, & implications. Yes, here was a Conservative Prime Minister, bestowing the virtues of a peoples state. A unified people with the power to make decisions, & influence direction. A free social bonding that was to replace the tight constraints of central government. So what`s the problem? & why are we not all casting off our chains, & throwing ourselves wholeheartedly into Mr Cameron`s ambitious vision of the future, & becoming his `Big-Society`?
Why, because, 99% of us are living in the real world. Cameron`s idea is deeply, deeply flawed. The whole idea is indeed a social one, or progressive one, call it what you will. The problem however, is the idea is being attempted by a right-wing, regressive, & divisive government. A government that since May 2010, has systematically cut funding to all charities & voluntary groups, to the tune of a massive £5billion. £5bn, in less than 2 years. This has left these vital groups gasping for air. Being forced to close down. Or simply not having the resources to help the people they are there to help. The poor, the sick, the disabled, & the elderly. All these facts, makes the £600m BSF appear small change. Further than that, an absolute insult. An insult made by a government so out of touch with reality, they wouldn`t know a pasty from a bag of chips!
99% of us have felt our living standards drop dramatically, to an all time low since May 2010. Thousands upon thousands of us have lost our jobs, made redundant, & thrown on the dole. Those not made redundant, have seen the pay cut or frozen, & live in daily fear of being made unemployed. Many more thousands have seen their benefits cut to a level that quite literally leaves them unable to afford to feed themselves properly. Unable to buy clothes. Even unable to afford the bus fair to the social security office, to sign on once a fortnight. All of us, have seen food prices rocket, fuel bills sore, & public services hacked & chopped in a manner more befitting of a master butcher, than of a government of a civilized nation. How foolhardy, & out of touch this government are. To imagine for one second, you can hit & hammer a nation`s people in this manner, whilst asking them to `all pull together & help their communities`! You could not write it could you?
This government is one that is steeped in an ideology of division. An ideology that gives birth to policies which set poor against rich, and rich against poor. Black against white, & white against black. Policies which make some despise those unfortunate enough to live on state benefit. The disabled are questioned & tested to prove to the state, they are unable to hold a cup, or to walk above 10 yards without being in total agony. The middle class are united with the working class in despising the rich. This government rewards the rich, with further perks like reducing the 50p rate of duty to 45p, whilst hitting the hardest hit. Pensioners. Children. & the disadvantaged.
In the real world. The world where I live, & I`m sure you live too, this is society. This is our community. These are our people. The very people Mr Cameron wants in his good hearted, giving, all volunteering, Big-Society. You see the problem?
If you own a company, & you are astute, & appreciate good practice, you nurture your staff. You inspire them, & help them overcome difficulties. You value your staff, & you demonstrate that value by praising them for their work. Why? Because you know that by doing so, you will achieve better performance. Better co-operation. You will foster an atmosphere of progress. All of which, equals bigger profit, & greater success. Mistreat your staff, & deny them support, or help. You are making a huge rod for both yourself, & your company. You staff will turn their backs, & work to rule. They will withdraw all co-operation. Eventually, your staff may well remove their labour altogether. Leaving your company losing money, & struggling to operate. Simple basic common sense. But yet, as simple as it is, still Mr Cameron cannot understand, why his big idea of a Big-Society, is not cheered from the rooftops. Perhaps someone, some day, will talk him through it.
Mrs Thatcher once said, there was no such thing as society. But yet, she was implementing `Cameron`s idea` even then. The difference, & only difference, was that Margaret Thatcher never gave it a name. However, her non-society did give it a name. It was called `paddle your own canoe`. What `paddle your own canoe` involved was, due to her government`s removal of state aid, & cutting public services, if you wanted anything doing, then do it yourself. Who could forget Norman Tebbit, advising the 3 million unemployed to, `get on your bike, & look for work`. A government abdication of responsibility, on a monumental scale. Sounds familiar? For those of us old enough to have lived through Mrs Thatcher`s rule, David Cameron`s `Big-Society` idea is merely his way of implementing Thatcherism, whilst dressing it up as an idea of his government caring & helping society. Me & you in other words. Let us not be fooled, this government, or ANY right-wing government does not care about society in the least, or it`s well-being. It cares for money. Capitalism is king. People are pawns. Society is nothing more than an inconvenience. An inconvenience, that matters only at election time, when their votes are vital.
Please do not misunderstand me, the idea of a Big Society, is good. In fact, it`s superb. However, in order for it to succeed, it must be implemented by a progressive, left of centre government. Why? Because, the whole concept of a Big Society, must be implemented as part of a social thinking government, with ideology, traditions, & policies which match. The Big Society idea will always fail, as a stand-alone policy fighting it`s way through a mass of policies which have an anti-social effect. Then, & only then, will we ever see the genuine social benefits of a community pulling together. Until then, we have Mr Cameron, & the smokescreen for cuts, he calls the `Big-Society`!
Thank you for reading!