David Cameron has more than once stated his commitment to the 'Big Society' by calling it his mission to get people volunteering and that it would receive all of his passion during the five year coalition parliament.


His opponents however claim the idea is still too vague and will die stillborn due to the spending cuts that Cameron insist must happen. They say that these cuts will destroy already established voluntary groups and charities and that what the concept of a 'Big Society' actually needs is more, not less, spending.

The Tory leader says that he wants to not only mend the economy but also mend society. "We do need a social recovery to mend the broken society and to me, that's what the Big Society is all about" he said in February.

But one year on after its announcement the Big Society still seems to be nowhere but inside the head of the Prime Minister. And not even he seems able to define it or help the rest of us to fully understand it.

A self appointed network set up to monitor the Big Society, Our Society, claims that the actions are 'not meeting the rhetoric'. Julian Dobson chairing one of the recent meetings said “in the absence of big cheques from government, it is important for us to create a big check for government”.

It seems then that after decades of total government involvement in all aspects of our lives, 'society' can no longer function without the prop of the state. Just the giving of time, the 'being there' is no longer sufficient. Even our charities it seems require state money just to remain viable.

Maybe in a time of affluence when people can afford to give time and money a concept such as this could begin to take root. But when people are fearful for their jobs and also see other people volunteering as a direct threat to their jobs this is a difficult thing to sell.

And then at the same time trying to convince the populace that we are 'all in this together' when people can see that this is patently untrue also degrades the Big Society idea.

It took hundreds of years if not longer to develop what Cameron sees as the society we enjoyed before it broke, if it ever existed as we like to remember it, but a few scant years to destroy it.

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