Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Monday, 14 February 2011

So who pays for the Big Society?

What has happened in the past week? Apart from Mubarak getting out and uprisings flickering to life in various other countries.
It's the Big Society, isn't it. The Big Idea that was central to Cameron's election strategy and for which he was mocked and which probably played a significant part in his failure to win an overall majority.
Not chastened by that, he has now put it at the heart of his strategy and once again the Prime Minister is being derided and mocked for it.
Some say the Big Society is simply a cover-up for the cuts. A con to make voters think something positive and dynamic is happening rather than the slash and burn of thousands of services.
That isn't right. Cameron believes in it, even if no one else in government does. But equally incorrect is the ridiculous pretence peddled by the Tories and LibDems that volunteering and the third sector will not be affected by the billions being taken away from them.
Most volunteers work for nothing, agreed. But who do ministers think runs the bodies that organise the volunteers? Where to they think people involved in the third sector get an income from?
The Big Society as a concept - that we all help each other, particularly those who most need help - is fine as far as it goes. But Cameron and his ministers just don't understand that there isn't an army of upper-middle class ladies in twin-sets out there with rich husbands and plenty of time on their hands.
For one thing, the third sector employs large numbers of young people who will now be thrown out of work. No longer doing anything useful or having an income beyond minimal benefits. Where is the point in that?
If the Government were really going to pursue the Big Society, it needs to put Big Bucks behind it. Not cut its finances.

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