There’s been a great deal of noise in past week about ‘what’ the big society is - and apparently this week will see a flurry of announcements on ‘big society’ projects.
Aside the fact that it’ll take more than a few days of press releases and speeches to cement a massive new concept in the public conciousness, there is a broader question at issue - namely, why is the definition an issue?
One problem in Westminster is often the role of policy ‘wonks’ in delivering policy. Nearly a year on from when the concept was first flagged at a high level within the Conservative party and became part of the manifesto language, large swaithes of the population don’t have any idea what it is, think it’s about volunteering or see it as a trojan horse for cuts.
The vacum in definition that has existed since the concept was flagged has allowed skepticicms and uncertaintly to take hold. As was often said of Gordon Brown, a re-launch can’t change what hasn’t been launched in the first place.
So, rather than worry about a definition, I think its time to cut our loss, stop trying to shape government by the big society and try and shape the big society itself by action, not words.
Put another way - crack on with what matters to people.
Why? Well probably because the general public, unlike Westminster politicos, couldn’t care less if there’s an agreed definition or shiny report - they care about the quality and availability of the services they access, and what it costs them.
To coin a phrase, if you build it, the definition will come - to each individual according, to their experience.
If two years down the line the public have seen and like the change it leads to, then take the big society flag and plant it at the heart of a new Britain.
But if worrying about a definition consumes westminster, the public will begin to wonder if politicians on all sides are fiddiling while Rome burns.
Categories: Campaign Issues, Ideas for living, PR and Communications, Spending Cuts
Tags: Big Society
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