Big Society: my views

Culture can be changed. The fewer the number of people, the easier it is to change. And the more willing the people are to embrace the culture change, the more likely it is that it will work.

For the management to change the culture of a company of 20 disillusioned people is very difficult. Increase that number to 5,000 and the chances of success become nigh-on impossible.

David Cameron is trying to change the culture of 61.8m people at a time when a good number of those people are resentful of the government that is imposing the change—and the circumstances in which the change is being made. The change: Big Society.

It doesn’t really matter what the change is. The circumstances themselves make the vision, in my opinion, unrealistic.

The country is in the midst of one of the biggest recessions in its history. The investment banks, aided by the lax controls imposed by the FSA, have helped create a deficit that the entire country is now paying off. In the analogy of a company, this would be like all employees taking a pay cut to help the company ride out some bad business decisions.

And at this time of uncertainty and fear of what the future might hold, people will become introspective. They will focus on themselves, their families—at the detriment of wider society. And for me, I can’t see that the community-specific aspects of Big Society will work. If people have a few hours spare, they won’t choose to do community work; they’ll choose instead to do some more work to earn the money that they won’t be certain of earning next month.

I’m generalising, of course. Some people will choose to lend their time and efforts to the Third Sector or their local community. But those are likely the same people that would have done so anyway. And Big Society is all about a change—a sea change.

I hope I’m wrong. But I’m doubtful.


2 Responses to “Big Society: my views”

  1. Ahmed on February 15th, 2011 23:47

    A fair assessment. When is a major change ever a good thing?

    As China is moving up in the world, we have to now more than ever combine to work together to compete against much bigger nations.

    We still have a world class society and education system, we should harness our collective efforts for social cohesion and to punch above our 62m population when faced with countries with hundreds of millions and a few with over a billion.

  2. Kate on February 16th, 2011 01:02

    I quite agree. The Big Society appears to be a way of getting mugs to do things for the Govt for free. Don’t get me wrong – I give of my time to volunteering to a charity so it’s not as if volunteerig is something I wouldn’t do. But I resent having to take up the slack.

    It does seem to be that they are taking away public services and saying to the public “If you want them, you’re going to have to do it yourself”. And it’s quite one thing to run a library (tho I imagine that it’s harder to do well than it would first appear) but running a swimming pool perhaps? Who would even consider it?

Leave a Reply