Labour must seize the “big society” idea from Cameron
Labour would be foolish to reject David Cameron’s “big society” idea entirely, writes Jonathan Freedland. Cameron likes to suggest that the notion of a big society chimes with an ethos that lies deep in Toryism. Yet whatever ideals pre-industrial Toryism cherished, they are a long way from the worldview of the post-Thatcher Conservative Party. A big society needs people anchored in place and blessed with time, yet Conservative economics grants neither — except to the well-off. Labour needs to seize this idea from Cameron and reclaim its Labour origins — and then improve it. That would start with a realisation that a truly big society does not entail public services on the cheap. Labour should also notice the big gap in Cameron’s big society. His idea rests on the notion that the only obstacle in people’s way is the state. But what is good for the public-sector state is surely good for the private-sector gander.
Big Society needs people anchored in place and blessed with time – I suspect there are not many of these people. Small Society then.