Beggar Society

Mark Barrett marknbarrett at
Mon Jul 19 12:05:56 BST 2010

"It is going to be very challenging for them to play a bigger role if they
have less resources to do it," said Ben Kernighan, from the National Council
for Voluntary Organisations.
*David Cameron launches Tories' 'big society' plan*

Here is a thread from a different list on the matter. What do Diggers think?


trouble is that people's way of life need to change if there is to be a
community / local sevrice provision renaissance. And that requires a new
political economy not more volunteerism or social entrepreneurship although
these things have their place. It will be interesting to see how Labour
responds to this. What's needed, IMV is an acceptance of the ideal of a
Social Revolution (ie A Big Society) but then a challenging critique of the
Tory approach which brings into the square new ideas in relation to
taxation, banking, education, constitution and other areas. This will
require a new embrace of Clause 4, albeit in different form to genuinely
empower (with real sovereignty, redistributed monies and a requirement for
horizontal democratic constitution at the neaighbourhood level). Some of the
ideas of Tories can be taken forward eg Your Square Mile, perhaps.

Hopefully by such a path Labour can re-occupy the centre ground. However I
do not think they are capable of such thinking with the current crop of
prospective leaders, without a new injection of ideas and possibly without a
social movement that pushes them in that direction. I certainly don't expect
the Tories to go far with this, due mainly to the reasons you've identified
regarding lifestyles, time poverty etc. What's needed is a genuine politics
of emancipation linked to a renaissance of civil society. I am ambivalent
about these concepts being promoted as it may help people to consider how
different things could be, spark debate etc and maybe Labour or the social
movements can position themselves in order to take it further once the
central ground is established. However I also fear the ideas get polluted,
abused and discarded by serious minded people / commentators once 'Red Tory'
co-option has gone where it can with them and failed. Overall however I am
optimistic as people are increasingly aware of the links between our broken
community fabric and the democratic deficit, environmental challenge,
limitation of the state and private cos to provide public goods that only
communities can deliver, atomism and mental health, shallow consumerist /
celebrity culture etc.

Lots to say but no time. Jyoti, thanks for raising the issue however what do
others think?


  On 19 July 2010 11:03, jyoti <sitavana at> wrote:

> ;-)
> On 19 Jul 2010, at 01:31, jyoti <sitavana at> wrote:
>   hi mark
> yeah well who knows, the devil will be in the detail, but it is the central
> plank of his vision, and lots of powers will be devolved down to local and
> parish councils, Eric Pickles, who hails from local government originally
> and is influential, isn't too keen on the layer of local government about
> parish level.
> i think the key will be the financial settlement, how much dosh comes down,
> but this guy was saying basically they will want parish and local councils
> to run programs/projects and they will get say a 10% slice but that willl
> only have a 3 - 5 lifetime. we need strucrural change. (see telegraph
> article embedded below Ed Millibands comment sums up the cynical position,
> but let's wait and see: “Cameron’s government is cynically attempting to
> dignify its cuts agenda by dressing up the withdrawal of support with the
> language of reinvigorating civic society.”)
> also will people suddenly start volunteering and engaging with the
> democratic process locally. most parish councils struggle to get people, and
> when people finish a long day at work, cook a meal, childcare, housework,
> there isn't much time and energy left. its not like the 50s when there were
> a pool of stay at home mums and ladys who lunch to call on.
> the challenge for them and us is how do we sex community engagement up,
> make it exciting?
> my tuppence worth
>  From thevSunday Telegraph yesterday:
> Snip
> Cameron launches his Big Society
>  Sun, 18 Jul 2010 22:05:23 +0100
> David Cameron launches his Big Society
> Local communities will get the power and money to run bus services, set up
> broadband internet networks and take over neighbourhood recycling schemes
> under a mass transfer of power from the state to the people, David Cameron
> will announce on Monday.
> [image: David Cameron launches his Big Society]
> David Cameron launches his Big Society
> In his first major speech on the theme of the “Big Society” since winning
> the election, the Prime Minister will announce the “biggest redistribution
> of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street”.
> Mr Cameron - who is keen to present his administration as offering
> optimistics new policies that are not just about cuts - will say that the
> “liberation” of volunteers and activists to help their own communities is
> the vision which drives his premiership.
> As part of his drive to roll back the reach of the public sector, the Prime
> Minister will attack the previous Labour government for turning state
> employees into “disillusioned, weary puppets” and communities into “dull,
> soulless clones”.
> He will announce that four areas in diverse parts of the country have been
> chosen to form a “vanguard” in realising his dream of “people power” in
> which individuals rather than the state come together voluntarily to solve
> their problems.
> The four – the greater London borough of Sutton and Cheam, the leafy
> Berkshire council of Windsor and Maidenhead, rural Eden Valley in Penrith,
> Cumbria (MP Rory Stewart) and the metropolitan city of Liverpool - were
> chosen after they petitioned Downing Street to start their own projects.
> They will be the first to be invited to submit applications to the Big
> Society Bank, a fund which will allocate the proceeds of dormant bank
> accounts worth hundreds of millions of pounds to help set up volunteer
> schemes to improve communities.
> Snip
> Snip
> But Mr Cameron hopes that putting flesh on the bones of his vision will
> persuade critics that it can be shared by millions of ordinary Britons who
> care about their community and are tired of having so many aspects of their
> life dictated from the centre
> The four pioneer communities will be helped by dedicated civil servants who
> will give expert advice if they encounter legal problems or bureaucratic
> obstacles.
> Officials will also identify local residents with a particular aptitude for
> taking part in Big Society projects – they will then receive training to
> become community organisers, motivating their neighbours to take part in
> action schemes.
> They will also be able to draw on the Big Society Bank, which, Mr Cameron
> promised, would use “every penny of dormant bank and building society
> account money” to help finance social enterprises, charities and voluntary
> groups.
> Accounts left untouched for at least 15 years will be channelled to good
> causes. Over time, Mr Cameron said, the Bank would provide “hundreds of
> millions of pounds” to Big Society projects, with money starting to be
> distributed from April.
> Snip
> “This process is all about learning. It’s about pushing power down and
> seeing what happens.
> “It’s about unearthing the problems as they come up on the  Labour
> leadership contender, claimed that the Big Society was a means of enabling
> the Government to cut vital public services.
> He said: “Cameron’s government is cynically attempting to dignify its cuts
> agenda by dressing up the withdrawal of support with the language of
> reinvigorating civic society.”
> Snip
> --
> "simply asking questions that draw the attention to areas where strong
> assumptions rule, or to where the blind spots are"
> On 18 July 2010 09:26, Mark Barrett < <marknbarrett at>
> marknbarrett at> wrote:
>> Hi Jyoti Thanks for posting this. What is your view on the Big Society
>> agenda?  A convenient if well meaning front for cuts or something
>> potentially more substantial? Is there any meat in it, do you think it
>> will work in any meaningful, transformative sense? Mark
>> On 18/07/2010, jyoti < <sitavana at>sitavana at>
>> wrote:
>> > Today we had a short talk from the head of the Local Government Assoc.
>> (LGA)
>> > who has an inside track to Cameron's thinking on 'Big Soceity'; still
>> very
>> > much in the running and essential really to balance the 25% cuts to
>> services
>> > with volunteers and private company outsourcing, ‘society vs state’; the
>> > 'Big Soceity' agenda has now been outsourced to a social enterprise: the
>> Big
>> > Society Network < <>
>>>, see the press
>> > release from last Wednesday:
>> >
>> >> 'An introduction of the Big Society Network
>> >> Last night (13/07/10) David Cameron hosted a great event to help
>> introduce
>> >> the Big Society Network. We are delighted that dozens of social
>> >> entrepreneurs, voluntary sector organizations and other partners were
>> able
>> >> to join. If you are interested in getting in touch with the Network,
>> >> please
>> >> register on our site,
>> >>
>> > or contact Steve Moore at 078705 15025.'
>> >> We've put together a brief press release here .
>> >>  <>
>> >
>> >
>> > Surfing the zeitgeist it continues to focus on the decentralising and
>> > localism agenda by talking about 'Your Square
>> > Mile< <>
>> > Total Place < <>
>>> (a kind
>> > of balanced ecology approach to services); LGA picked up this thread by
>> > talking about 'decision
>> > miles< <>
>> > (think 'food miles' < <>
>>>) its all about
>> > community power, devolving planning down: the Decentralisation &
>> Localism
>> > Bill will implement many of the proposals in the Tories' Control
>> > Shift<<>
>> >,
>> > Housing <<>
>> > Open
>> > Source<<>
>> >Planning
>> > green papers returning
>> > power to local communities and setting sets out how the Tories would
>> shift
>> > power from the centre to local people and councils, leaving behind the
>> old
>> > Thatcher 'Bugger Soceity' model behind for a shiny Philip Blond 'Red
>> > Tory'< <>
>> > model army.  Cameron
>> > has earmarked a cool £300 million for Youth Engagement.
>> >
>> > Interestingly the LGA parliamentary track has trouble getting MP's on
>> board
>> > this year however they are clamouring to get in, including the quite
>> > remarkable Rory Stewart < <>
>> > "Stewart seems to be living one of the most remarkable lives on record."
>> > *The
>> > New York Times.*
>> >
>> --
>> "We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is
>> there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.”

 "We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is there no
man speaketh as we speak in the street.”

"We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is there no
man speaketh as we speak in the street.”

"We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is there no
man speaketh as we speak in the street.”
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