Thursday, 13 January 2011

the big society....

...could be:

a) a comment on the rise of obesity in our great and glorious land (N.B. 'The Biggest Loser' - guaranteed to make a girl feel skinny once a week)

b) the vague, implausible, so-called social revolution proposed by our dear and beloved coalition

Today, I'm going to write about (b).  This is because I heard Frances Maud waffling on Radio 4 whilst driving around a sodden Chippenham while E & best friend, L did 'streetdance' (which is a whole other post).

First of all I must thank The Worker for providing me with the means to listen to Rt. Hon F Maud.  Second of all, is anyone feeling that we're in a bit of a time warp?  Listening to him reminded me of being at college in the 80s.  All I could hear was a plummy voice sounding as if he didn't really know what he was talking about.

This is what I heard (not necessarily, what was actually said).  I might have a listen online again - or maybe not.

'So, Mr Maud, what is The Big Society' asked nicey Radio 4 lady whose name I can't remember....
'Well, it's not that easy to define.  There's no policy as such.'
Pause for nicey Radio 4 lady to take that in....
'What does it actually mean?'
'That's defined, really by communities themselves'
'What will people do as part of The Big Society?'
'Whatever it is their community requires.'
'Will you have targets?  How will you know it's working?'
'No, there are no targets yet?  It will develop organically.'

Now, call me old-fashioned but isn't transparency in government all the rage?  The Big Society (or BS as I'm going to refer to it in the future) sounds a bit vague, a bit amorphous, a bit foggy.

I'm sure it's all in the national interest though.

There, rant of the week done and dusted.


marigold jam said...

Don't you just love the way politicians can waffle on without ever actually answering the questions?! Of course if we don't really know what it is meant to achieve we cannot then blame the government for it not working can we? Maybe they are cleverer than we think?


Lou said...

I heard that too..... bonkers.

I've just heard on Radio 4 Michael Morpurgo campaigning to save our libraries..... Ab-so-bluddy-lutely but could we take all ALL Michael Morpurgo books out of the libraries as they upset my sproglets.... war, parental death, etc... OK I'm kidding...... just hide them in the adult section.

VP said...

I'm definitely with you on feeling like I'm back in the 80s

I had my first real taste of what BS means at the weekend when we visited a museum in Yorkshire. Over 3 years it'll lose its £370,000 government subsidy, but because it's designated a national museum it can't start charging an entrance fee. Somehow I don't think the BS can pick up that kind of tab, no matter how willing the local community may be.

Wylye Girl said...

Hi projectforty, I found you through the lovely Lou at The Archers at the Larches (waves at Lou). I'm a fellow Wiltshire blogger but down near the Zummerzet borders. Shall enjoy following your adventures.

Georgina said...

Living in a community that no longer has, as it once did, Scouts, Brownies or Cubs, a badminton club, new year's eve 'do', Community Centre committee, elder's lunch club, newsletter, or a youth club I scoff at the very idea. It is impossible these days to expect people of good nature to negotiate the litigious nature of our 'small' society in which praise must be extracted by scalpel whilst oprobrium is cast about, often inappropriately like pig swill. Ooh did you hit a nerve!!

Sue Gee said...

I just knew that yer northern roots would emerge - you sound like a trade unionsist in the making - Love it!

projectforty said...

I was a little nervous about being so political on my little fluffy blog but thank you for your comments. I agree with Georgina re the pressure and accountability that accompanies even the smallest act of community spirit. Having been a pre-school committee chair, a school governor and a public sector employee in the past and, frankly had sleepless nights about the responsibility and demands of those roles, I commend anyone who has an active and leadership role in community projects.