31 Mar 2010

Big Society Rip Off

Cameron's latest announcement of Conservative Policy can also come under the heading of “Faeces by any other name”

The plans for a “Big Society” reads like a sycophantic Blairite view pre-1997.

In the last 13 years we have seen far too many “not-for-profit companies” that are in fact securely funded, and therefore managed, by government grants, masquerade under the name of charity and with extortionate fees of “project managers” and consultancy. All this plan seems to illustrate to me is a brilliant example of this happening again.

Perhaps we can also compare a rather tragic implementation of the “plastic policemen”, also known as Police Community Support officers. Subsidised by Community Wardens and supported by teams of of civil servants

As I have reiterated in previous blog posts, the Conservatives seem to assert that we have a big government and that the government ought to withdraw completely from control of the state.

However, it is in fact the big government that has no influence at all over local government that is creating problems.

In my own community, Councils plan to build thousands and thousands of houses, but they are not obliged to build alongside those houses, any local jobs, any resources such as schools or shops nor are they required to support the infrastructure of medical care that is so necessary to rapidly expanding community.

The Neighbourhood Army

The “Neighbourhood Army appears to be another ploy in getting people off the job market by getting them doing something that local councils will be doing already. By calling them “professional” community organisers, the Conservatives can therefore justify all of these people getting meaningless degrees.

Also note that the policy states that these Community Organisers will not actually be leading the communities, merely “help people start their own neighbourhood groups”. As anyone who has worked within a unitary authority knows, Community Forums are a cheap excuse for councillors not doing their jobs, not to mention a council not doing their jobs.

Following it up with reference to the United States is a piece of horrendous spin which is the equivalent of prefixing a design with the word Nasa and expecting everyone to jump up and down like five-year-old boys.

The satirist in me compares it to J G. Ballard “Kingdom Come” where society is managed by armies of “chavs” while councillors receive backhanders and stay out of issues such as ethnic cleansing of neighbourhoods. This metaphor is not least influenced by the words “army”.

A Big Society Bank

This appears to be a direct plagiarism of the Liberal Democrat policy on restoring Post Offices as a stable banking force within communities.

Neatly interwoven is the presumption that the Conservatives will have a banker's charge. Yet they only emerge with this idea in recent weeks, following the premise of global support for this motion. Unlike the Liberal Democrats, who have been pushing for a tax levy on banks to repay the money that they have been loaned since a banking crisis occurred.

One even wonders if this “bank” will be the function of the bank given that the Tory blog indicates it is in fact to provide something we currently know as grants, where charities and community groups can apply for funding.

It can be inferred from this, that they intend to move all local councils to a style of unitary authority where all public services are out-contracted to such bodies. Therefore the actual core function of this bank may in fact be where all of our council tax goes.

Neighbourhood Grants

So this is a direct copy of the current Labour policy of pouring money into areas of regeneration then?

The Civic Service

Notice there is absolutely no details of this. What exactly comprises of “community service”? If it is a fundamental core that has to be interwoven to appraisals, then it is simply a tick box target.

“Can you, Mr Joe Bloggs, demonstrate that in your work as the civil service manager of the managers of customer services who manage the outbound communications with society demonstrate your commitment to community service?

Oh wait, Sorry, you actually have nothing to do with the community.”

Big Society Day

So this would be another national bank holiday, as we have been ordered to acquire by the European Union because we have the lowest number of bank holidays of any country within Europe. Because that will be popular with employers..

Social Entrepreneurs

Calling a business in “social enterprise” does not stop it being a business. Providing new funding sources sounds just like the current Labour government initiative for Business Link.

Nothing Really New Then?

Well done Cameron. You have succinctly managed to rip off Blair, Brown and Liberal Democrat policies as well as making it look like The European Union's insistence is in fact comprised of your own ideas.

The only really new idea here is the “Civic Service” which in fact consists of more bureaucracy than currently in position.

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