Why Cameron’s Big Society Wont Work
Posted by DeadAnarchistPhil on February 13, 2011
You’ve no doubt heard of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, but if you haven’t let me explain what it is… um… well, there’s no universal definition for it as of yet. So, I’ll give you my view of what it is…
The idea is for society to depend less on Government, and take up more responsibility in and for their own communities. To encourage local charities, people or basically anyone else who wants to make a difference and contribution, to get out and help in to their local area.
You don’t get paid, unless you’re on the dole, in which case you get dole money. I believe it’s a good idea and something that should be fostered and encouraged. I don’t think you have to be paid to do a good thing and help others and the community you live in. It’s only natural. In fact, if more people actually did this instead of complaining and bollocking the local Council and national Government for not delivering services or doing enough, then a lot of communities in the inner cities of the UK wouldn’t be so bad.
Community involvement means local and national Government being scrutinized more closely and being held accountable. Which is what is needed. However, the big society was aimed more at Charities than everyday people.
Of course, with the Conservative Party being the driving force behind this, naturally their Libertarian, profit-making, cost cutting penny-pinching nature means they’re doing it half-arsed!
How are charities supposed to pick up the flack in our communities where public funding has been cut or withdrawn all together when the same Government that is advocating this ‘Big Society’ is the same one cutting jobs, freezing wages and rasing taxes? Is it just me or does everyone else think David Cameron has no grasp of basic economics?
If local council (local government) budgets have been cut, that means local charities get less money from them, as many charities are part funded with local government money. Also, if more people are jobless and food and taxes are going up, does it not stand to reason that fewer people will not be buying much from Charity shops and depending more on charity organisations? And if they’re not buying much doesn’t that mean profits will go down in those shops? And if more people are using Charity orgs, doesn’t that mean more pressure will be put on their services?
You could say everyone could get involved and help deliver those services. But as I said earlier, people don’t need to be paid to do a good thing, but money is still needed to run some Charity Orginsations’ services. People aren’t going to pick up old ladies for a night at the bingo on a push bike and ride down the road like a modern-day version of ET! It’s not safe, practical and it’d be damn right scary sight too.
Now Cameron’s suddenly realised there’s not enough money to go around so he’s using public money to prop up his ‘Big Society’ idea, with a Big Society Bank no less. But wait, isn’t that depending on Government? The very same thing the Big Society was set up to combat? I’m afraid David Cameron’s not thought this one through fully. Or maybe he has, and he thought it’d be a good cover for the cuts that come in to force in April 2011? I’m not sure, but I know in its current form and with the current situation it’s unworkable.
When I read this article today I rolled my eyes and shuck my head, literally, because what I read in it was such a Conservative Party idea. Competition for Charities competing for Public money. I keep asking myself ‘why?’ but I already know the answer, it’s the Tory Party, it’s what they’re best at! Adding competition to the charity sector is an idea only the Conservative Party could come up with. And it’s a very bad one in my opinion.
Have a look at this: “As a result Cameron and his ministers will make a blizzard of big society announcements, including details of a £100m transition fund to help hard-pressed charities and social enterprises compete, for the first time, for government contracts.” Isn’t that like throwing a Donut between to starving men and which ever one wins the fight for it, they get to keep it? For those who don’t know the old budget for help Charities was £4Bn! £100 Million is just a drop in the Ocean. But what about the Charities that don’t get the Public funding?
Here’s what will Happen: “Banks that lend money to the big society bank will do so on a normal commercial lending basis, meaning they will make a profit.” So, Charities will borrow public money from intermediary bank who get’s its money from a publically owned bank – who will make a profit from it – to help the public? Wouldn’t it just be better to take a few billion off the Banks and allocate the money to the Charities directly? No wait, the banks have to make a profit from public money going in to a charity sector that is already lacking funds and seeing profit losses.
As well as Cam’s Banking ideas he’s also going to create a: “big society university, backed by a multimillion-pound endowment, that will train future generations of community workers.” That’s good and all, but the country needs a work force more than an army of community workers. Money would be better spent setting up vocational classes in high school and paying for Apprenticeships once they leave.
What would also help would be to have all these people who are on the dole doing mandatory voluntary work for at least a year, in an area of the job and skills market they want to work in. Experience is essential in securing a future job! The present system of sending them off to do voluntary work in the Charity sector for three to six months leaves narrowed opportunities and choice regarding which area you want to work in, isn’t good enough. A piece of paper saying you’ve done that course and done some voluntary work at the RSPCA is no good to you if you want to be a plumber! Then again, Conservatives don’t think it’s the place of the Government to train the next generation of vocational skilled workers, it’s not in their ideology. Industry should do that by their reckoning
This whole big society idea just seems to be a typical Conservative plan to cover the economic cuts and make their friends rich off other people’s money while doing next to nothing for the jobless. I predict it’s going to fail unless they become genuine and honest about it, and fix it to be workable and a benefit to the people it’s supposed to help. But that’s about as likely as me becoming a Muslim and going on X-Factor!