The online home for all things Brockley (SE4), St John's, Ladywell, Nunhead and Telegraph Hill
If The Big Society means anything - and it doesn't - it's this: a giant communal Scalextric event in Telegraph Hill!
Just to avoid any confusion, members should note that our similarly-named event on Hilly Fields on the same night is still going ahead.It's pronounced "pree".BDS
The Big Society is easily dismissed by those with a leftist agenda - like this blog and the BBC.But the idea that charitable giving should be made easier is really rather sound. It's about giving things back to the community rather than constantly taking things out.It's a simple and admirable concept which would make a difference if everyone did it.Sadly it will fail because the BBC bullies don't like it - and they'll mix it all with their cuts hyperbole and end up scaring people. It's a shame Brockley Central has been fooled by this agenda.No doubt it'll be waving its union placards in support of the public sector dimwits who are striking over the prospect of having to work a whole extra year before claiming their gold plated pensions. Outrageous. Fire the lot of them and give the jobs to those who want them.
This make me happy. Even more than the new TK Maxx.
@Lou"But the idea that charitable giving should be made easier is really rather sound."Yes, it is. But if that's all the BS was about, you wouldn't need to call it that. You'd just have a policy that said we're going to make charitable giving easier. Nice and clear.Having met some of the people who claim to have come up with the BS concept, I have come to the conclusion that they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.They know what world they would like (and I agree with them on it): lots of local groups giving time and energy to make the world a better place and getting help from government to do so.The problem comes when you ask them how they want that to be achieved and what barriers they think there are to this vision becoming reality. They have no clue.You can talk about red tape, etc but it's all very vague. For example, what is stopping you from giving to any charity to choose?I'd argue that in many ways the world they say they want already exists. There could always be more local groups doing more good things, of course, but they have very few ideas how you achieve that outcome.The reality is that a) sometimes volunteer groups are poorly equipped to run certain types of services b) the extent of people's generosity with their time and money is finite and c) many of these groups rely on funding from local govt, who are all having their budgets squeezed right now.I support Lewisham Council's decision to let a social enterprise run some of its libraries. I support money being awarded to groups like BXAG getting cash to plant flowers around Brockley station (rather than giving it to Conways).Neither of these 'Big Society' initiatives had anything to do with central government policy initiatives.
Whats with the BBC? it reports on others comments, the parties (of whatever persuasion) sell their ideas, the BBC and other responsible media scrutinise and asks the questions others want asking, holding the powerful to account as the saying goes. There are more than a few out there that feel the BBC is not being robust enough. Nick Robinson could harldy be considered a marxist revolutionary. They gave Brown a good going over as you would expect, it's their job.
Lou does have a rather cute faith in catchy straplines 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!' was coined by him. Thats a FACT.
@nickSo you support the general principles of the big society but you rubbish the concept.The BBC has a job for you.There is nothing wrong with charitable giving and I applaud any efforts to make it easier. Donations via cash machines or 'rounding up the change' may seem like simple ideas - but they have the potential to raise hundreds of millions of pounds. Sure - I can give money right now if I choose. But the easier these things are the better. And I hope we'llall get use to 'the change' in shops and restaurants going straight to good causes rather than back into our pockets. Most of us won't miss 20p here or there.Likewise - volunteering is admirable. Rather than criticising it you should back it. Not some big red tape scheme which helps no one but the principle that it's a good idea and should be encouraged. I think the problem with lefties in general is that they are very needy. They expect the government to do everything, to provide everything, to have the answers for everything.Faced with a government which openly admits it doesn't have all the answers but which has shown it's prepared to ask the hard questions the lefties reaction is to scream blue murder.Watching Ed Balls in action at the moment is a treat. He bashes the government with one sentence and admits he has no different ideas with the next. Embarrassing. The era of tribal politics is over. When the other side have a good idea - admit it!I say this as someone who has never voted Tory and probably never will - but who has embraced this new era of cooperation. Unlike the lefty slackers who are stuck in the 70s.
Lou, what utter balls.
Ah The 70's Lou, when low level anti social behaviour was sorted with a clip round the ear. How did we get stuck there then?
This of course clashes with the Open Studios weekend. There might not be too much crossover with that but it is also the same weekend as the Goodwood Festival of Speed!Surely same fan base there!
Two quotes from nicks post.."They know what world they would like (and I agree with them on it): lots of local groups giving time and energy to make the world a better place and getting help from government to do so.""I support Lewisham Council's decision to let a social enterprise run some of its libraries. I support money being awarded to groups like BXAG getting cash to plant flowers around Brockley station (rather than giving it to Conways)."One day Lou you'll have a coherent argument rather than your frankly odd obsession with tabloid "lefties", thankfully it makes you look like you don't actually have a grasp of the argument so undermines your credibility.
@corduroyA clip round the ear was more 1950's. By the 70's the decline had set in.@anonThe problem with Nick's post is that he seems to suggest local government is a good conduit through which to help voluntary groups. In fact local government is a good conduit for virtually nothing - except perhaps employing hapless local politicians and bureaucrats who, far more often than not, aren't good enough to work on the national stage.
"I support Lewisham Council's decision to let a social enterprise run some of its libraries."ha ha, so funny, they let 'social enterprise' 'run' libraries because they (the council) didn't want to close them down themselves, now they've given them to people who'll have to close them down in a year or two anyway and the council can walk away scot-free.simples
@louIf you don't like local government, then you won't like the Big Society. One of the cornerstones of the Big Society is supposedly more devolved power (they made the councils bear the worst brunt of the spending cuts because it was politically easier to pass the buck to Councils for cuts to services). The Localism Bill going through parliament was recently welcomed by the Local Government Association as "paving the way for the Big Society": "The bill, which had its first reading in Parliament this week, aims to free up councils from bureaucracy and shift power from central government to local councils and communities."So either you recognise that the Big Society agenda gives more power and responsibility to local government or you concede that the BS label can be attached to any agenda, to the extent that the concept becomes uselessly amorphous.Which do you prefer?
Either Lou is trying the muhamed Ali "rope a dope" tactic of making Nick punch himself out before deliveringna killer retort or he's hopelessly outclassed.I'm torn between this and Andy Murrey.
Actually Nick - the Localism Bill is more about devolving power to individuals and communities (which I support) than it is to local authorities (which I don't).The move towards things like academies and free schools - which are free from local authority control - demonstrate this further.
Baaaahhhh.... *BANG!*Lamb chop anyone?
@Lou"We could replace big government with the Big Society. And we can make localism a reality..."We will put people back in charge of their lives."Put businesses and councils back in charge of economic growth. Put town halls back in charge of local affairs. That’s what localism means."Eric Pickles, LGA Conference 2010 http://bit.ly/9sotZWSo again; which option do you prefer? A crap policy or a crap brand?
Sounds like "care in the community" which was often (but not exclusively) code for shutting mental health facilities and letting the vulnerable sort themselves out to save a few quid, with mixed results.
@nickBut you're demanding a false choice.Pickles talks about devolving power to individuals (as first priority), then businesses (second) and only lastly to local authorities. Giving power back to people largely makes sense - giving it to councils largely does not.I think David Cameron is more than a little misguided to whine on about the Big Society - which, as a brand, is clearly going to fail because the media has decreed it so. But the two main principles outlined within the big society - increased charitable giving and more volunteering are - as you admit - really rather sound.So to dismiss the whole thing as meaning nothing - as you did is misguided and unfair. You unfairly released your inner leftist.
I had no idea that Rupert Murdoch was such a 'leftist' (is that a word? whatever) Back to the point, simply saying give money if you want and volunteer more is not a policy. If the government are saying that the state should bear no or little responsibility to provide services such as health, education, social services etc and they were going to outline exactly how they were going to transfer responsibility in such a way that those services do not suffer and could be delivered cheaper and better then fine. They haven't, they've had over a year now. to simply say to 'the community' it's your problem would be an abdication of responsibility. Labour were more than happy to trot out slogans masquerading as policy, it's not acceptable. It's the governments responsibility to explain how they see it working, not the media. The media is there to scrutinise and look at things with a degree of sceptasism, they are not the ministry of information. The fact that even the Daily Mail can poke holes in it tells you all you need to know.
@lou"Pickles talks about devolving power to individuals (as first priority), then businesses (second) and only lastly to local authorities. Giving power back to people largely makes sense - giving it to councils largely does not."So you think one of the main architects of the BS is misguided."I think David Cameron is more than a little misguided to whine on about the Big Society - which, as a brand, is clearly going to fail"AND you think the brand is misguided.You're right, I WAS demanding a false choice: You think the policy and the brand are BOTH deeply flawed. I'm glad you agree with my inital throwaway remark.
I am by my nature very suspicious of anything tory but I'm also of the opinion that credit should be given for good idea no matter where it comes from. However I've got a sneaking feeling that Camerons ideas of a 'Big Society" are merely a way for off loading the costs of statutory provision. We should be very wary of unelected bodies popping up to take control of services that have been provided within a properly regulated framework. WE need to be very cautious, its an opportunity for those who wouldn't have stood up to close scrutiny within the existing system to gain power and influence.
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