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A presentation from 2011 to international journalists on the basic ideas behind the Big Society policy of the UK Coalition Government

A presentation from 2011 to international journalists on the basic ideas behind the Big Society policy of the UK Coalition Government

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  • What I am going to do in this presentation:A history of the phrase Big Society from a few hundred years ago, to a more detailed immediate history.A dissection of its political value and currencyA critical analysis of its problems
  • BurkeWelfareStateOne Nation
  • ToryThatcherismMajor/BlairState got bigger, but it was increasingly subject to market forces withinIncrease in individualism Decline in tribalism and traditional identityIncrease in inequalityChoice Community
  • It was Goerge Bush who took up the phrase that he first heard in 1987 as a compassionate conservative – something that got lost after 9/11
  • t” The Right’s greatest weakness over many decades has been its failure to explain and develop its moral purpose. This has left it electorally vulnerable to left-wing parties that never miss an opportunity to present compassionate credentials to the increasing number of “values voters” in developed electorates.” Tim MontgomerieConservativeHomePeople liked Tory policies but not if they came from the Tories:http://www.lordashcroft.com/publications/smellthecoffee.html
  • In the UK picked up again by:Iain Duncan Smith - ex Tory leader, ex Army, Christian.Centre for Social Justice Narrative of Broken Britain - increasing aspiration through community suppor
  • Here one of the gurus who picked up on this was Philip Blond Another was Jesse Norman - now a Tory MPIN a sense they were trying to follow in the tradition of Blair - the third way - trying to square the circle of the contradictions between social democratic state and a relatively free market economy - the latter having delivered massive gains while the former giving remarkable levels of security.
  • This fitted in with David Cameron’s attempt - born out of a potent mixture of electoral necessity and genuine personal belief - to shift the Tory party to the centre, to give it some genuine liberal values, and to redefine the shape of UK politics for the next decade.Then came the crash. This made voluntarism even more attractive to all parties but only the Conservatives had really mapped it out.
  • Big Society did not sell at all well as a positive force in the election - it had no traction or clarity.Cameron did not win the election but he won the coaltion and with the Liberals the BS was reborn,But as quickly it died  - not really attacked by Labour - who would liked to have appropriated some of its messages - but under the weight of expectations and internal conflict.
  • IDS did secure the structure and funding for his vision - but at the moment when it appeared to have succeeded it had failed as a political message - DC had to relaunch it - a sure sign that it has failed and also a way of putting it to bed.http://www.thebigsociety.co.uk/Post Bureaucratic Age – Data.govLord Wei went back to workFrancis Maude still hasn’t done any voluntary work.Opposed by Third Sector who have grown dependent on govt moneyPressure of time for most peopleReal problem is inequality and lack of social mobility - through education especially - and lack of localism - not clear if those problems will be tackled to any degree.
  • What I am going to do in this presentation:A history of the phrase Big Society from a few hundred years ago, to a more detailed immediate history.A dissection of its political value and currencyA critical analysis of its problems

Transcript

  • 1. The Big Society:A User’s Guide Charlie Beckett Director, POLIS, LSE @charliebeckett www.polismedia.orgwww.charliebeckett.org c.h.beckett@lse.ac.uk
  • 2. The Big Society Has Got History• Burke 18th Century Tory view of society• ‘small platoons’• Victorian idea of philanthropy and national identity• 20th century idea of Welfare State:• Atlee to MacMillan ‘One Nation’
  • 3. From Class War to Third Way• Consensus starts to fracture under Heath and then class war becomes a success under Thatcher• John Major and Tony Blair seek a Third Way that combines social welfarism and free market
  • 4. The Compassionate Conservative
  • 5. Born out of Defeat• The Right’s greatest weakness over many decades has been its failure to explain and develop its moral purpose. This has left it electorally vulnerable to left-wing parties that never miss an opportunity to present compassionate credentials to the increasing number of “values voters” in developed electorates.”• Tim MontgomerieConservativeHome
  • 6. The Big Society Is There
  • 7. Big Society Philosophers
  • 8. A new position
  • 9. Not an election issue
  • 10. The Big Society ParadoxThe specific project is on trackBut:It has no political significance or policy impact
  • 11. Big Society RIP?• Third Sector Opposition• Lack of capacity in the system• Lack of citizen time• Sectoral self-interest• Market forces• Political distraction• Bigger forces
  • 12. A Bigger Big Society?• Post Bureaucratic Age• Networked Politics• New identity politics
  • 13. The Big Society:A User’s Guide Charlie Beckett Director, POLIS, LSE @charliebeckett www.polismedia.orgwww.charliebeckett.org c.h.beckett@lse.ac.uk