Articulating the Big Society

27 February 2011 0

Stumbled across the following letter to The Independent via The Week.

As Alfred E Kahn said, “If you can’t explain what you’re doing in plain English, you’re probably doing something wrong.”

Philip Blond writes over 2,000 words in defence of the Big Society (9 February), while managing to avoid any kind of concrete explanation of what it is or how to bring it about. Could it mean that, for example, here in cut-ravaged Manchester, we should be disposing of each other’s rubbish (the bag society?); or deploying our toilets as public conveniences (the bog society?); or what? Blond is at pains to assert from the outset that, whatever it is, it has “nothing to do with cuts”, so I’m obviously on the wrong track there.

Instead, apparently, I need to understand that: “Public sector mutualisation and budgetary takeover by citizens of the state is a crucial initial phase in endowing ordinary citizens with the power to ensure that the services they run are operated in a way that combines public interest with economic efficiency and localised employee ownership building in all the gains that this model delivers.”

As Nobel prize-winner Peter Medawar said: “People who write obscurely are either unskilled in writing or up to mischief”. I don’t think Mr Blond is unskilled in writing.

Sean Cordell, Manchester


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