SOME OF THE KEY THINGS RAISED IN THIS INITIAL DISCUSSION:.
OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE BIG SOCIETY IN GOVERNMENT POLICY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS.
WE UNDERSTAND THE BIG SOCIETY AS A PR EXERCISE DESIGNED TO DISTRACT AND CONFUSE, A FUZZY AND VAGUELY COMMUNITARTIAN SOUNDING COVER FOR THE WRECKAGE AND PLUNDER OF PUBLIC SERVICES.
IT IS UNDERSTOOD AS BEING TOLD TO DO YOUR OWN THING, AND IF YOU MESS UP, WE ARE NOT GOING TO SUPPORT YOU.
The big society is a symptom of the nervous reluctance to govern that is characterises a lot of local and national administration in the past 30 years or so.
We elect people to make decisions not to farm them out, it is an attempt to avoid consequences.
ITS UNDERSTOOD THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BECOME A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE OR WORK VOLUNTARITY FOR ONE.
WE DISCUSSED THE EFFECTS ON VOLUTERISM:
By making public service reform such a prominent aspect of the Big Society, public perception is that the Government is asking volunteers to step into fill gaps left by this deliberate retrenchment of the state. This perception is making it harder, not easier, to recruit volunteers.
Mandatory work activity (JSA reform) runs counter to the ethos of volunteering and the voluntary sector. As a result, work programmes previously run on a voluntary basis with those out of work- would no longer make sense in the voluntary sector if they became mandatory. Again, this policy may lead to less volunteering, not more.
WE WANTED TO CONSIDER THE AGREEMENT MADE A FEW DAYS AGO THAT THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL WILL SPEND A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF ITS FUNDING ON THE PRIMINISTERS VISION FOR THE COUNTRY, IN ORDER TO SECURE ITS FUNDING.
After a government "clarification" of the Haldane principle – a convention that for 90 years has protected the right of academics to decide where research funds should be spent.
A slogan for one political party has become translated into a central intellectual agenda for the academy.
RELATED ARTICLE http://humanitiesmatter.com/?p=266
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THIS?
An imagination shift,
A second guessing of your current activity
THAT THE IDEA OF GETTING PEOPLE MORE ENGAGED, INVOLVED AND ACTIVE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES AND SOCIETY IS A GOOD ONE AND THAT GROUPS LIKE MANY OF THE ONES WHO HAVE ATTENDED THESE DISCUSSIONS OR THAT WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT COULD BENEFIT FROM THIS WITHOUT SELLING OUR SOULS.
We may need to see what's on offer from the government, what it wants to do and in what way it chimes with our own aims.
It was also stated that no ones activity’s should be changed/ dictated by this rhetoric, that we should just ignore it and continue.
But we may have to consider the implications of this with regards to co-option and misuse of our intentions and actions.
It was posited that Self organised activity and the Big Society are different things.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY HAS BUILT UP THERE IDEOLOGY IN A DE-URBANISED TIME.
This position is comparable to Victorian philanthropy.
A reference to Neil Mulholland -The New Medievalism
“A system of overlapping authority and multiple loyalty.” (Bull: 245) 1977
Last month, the prime minister rejected criticisms of the "big society" and said the idea was his driving force. He said: "We do need a social recovery to mend the broken society and to me, that's what the big society is all about."
Conservative Party's localist agenda and its emphasis on voluntary organisations
"Civic conservatism, like free market economics, proceeds from deep-seated individual self-interest towards a stable cooperation. It sets the Tories the task not of changing humanity but of designing institutions and arrangements that encourage our natural reciprocal altruism."