X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Blogs

My Adventures in the Big Society

15 February 2011

9:29 AM

15 February 2011

9:29 AM

I was invited to Somerset House on the Strand yesterday as part of the Big Society
Network to watch David Cameron take questions for the best part of an hour on his pet subject. My organisation, New Deal of the Mind, has been helping deliver two welfare-to-work contracts since
last year and, along with most people in what I have learned to call “the third sector” I am prepared to give this idea the benefit of the doubt. There doesn’t seem to be anything
particularly ideological about the Big Society, although Ed Miliband showed in his Independent on Sunday article at the weekend just how convenient a
whipping boy this has become for Labour

You can’t blame Ed Miliband for his cynicism. The architects of the Big Society within government have not communicated their ideas well and David Cameron should certainly stop using examples
from his Oxfordshire constituency to illustrate a concept that will only succeed if it transforms lives north of Witney. However, others in the Labour Party (Jon Cruddas and David Lammy, for
instance) recognise that the left will soon have to develop its own version of the Big Society.

[Alt-Text]


It seems the more words that are expended on explaining the Big Society, the more mystified the public becomes. Over the weekend, the Prime Minister made a valiant effort in the pages of The Observer.

Phillip Blond over at the ResPublica has made it his mission to evangelise on this subject and has been prepared to go where Conservative ministers fear to tread. He squared up against Tessa Jowell
last week and he has been all over the airwaves again over the past 24 hours.

However, to my mind, the issue for The Big Society was summed up best, not in an article, but in a tweet from Phillip’s colleague at ResPublica Indy Johar. On Sunday he said this:
“Insufficiently discussed – But #BigSociety equally needs to be about rolling back the corporates as the centralised state.” I couldn’t agree more. The reality is that there is a
real risk the Big Society will become colonised by large private sector service companies such as Serco, G4S and A4E who stand to make a lot of money from government. Nothing wrong with this, in
principle, if they deliver the services more cheaply and effectively. Voluntary organisations and social enterprises across the country are already preparing themselves for the new world where they
will have to establish partnerships with these giant organisations in order to survive.

Yesterday I asked David Cameron what he is doing to stop the Big Society being strangled at birth by corporate interests. He told me he understood the problem. I look forward to hearing how he
plans to unpick this fundamental conundrum.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close