Monday, August 02, 2010
What the 'Big Society' is really all about
Peter Wilby writes in the New Statesman:
Cameron's speech refers to the "big society" ensuring we "don't always turn to officials, local authorities or central government". He doesn't want to stop us turning to business. On the contrary, Cameron wants to connect "private capital to investment in social projects". That, I suspect, is what the "big society" is really all about. Parents may decide to start a school, but they will soon find it's best to bring in private money and hire private management if it is to get off the ground and survive as a going concern. Several private companies, most earning millions from outsourced public projects, are already offering their services. Some openly admit that they aim to create branded chains of schools which they will largely control even if they do not legally own them.
Remember what happened to those classic 19th-century self-help institutions, the building societies. Thanks to Tory legislation in the 1980s, their owners - the customers - were bribed to "demutualise" and sell out to commercial banks. For "big society", read big bonanza for big business.
Not so long ago, Britain did have a 'Big Society'. Where there were thriving communities and people were kind to one another. But that was before big business and 'market forces' took over every aspect of our lives.