The Cameron big society game

IT CAN NEVER be said that David Cameron is ever lost for words. This week the Prime Minister told us that “Gripper Stebson” was his “role-model” when he was a kid while proclaiming his Tory vision of a “Big Society” for the future.

Older readers may recall Gripper — the schoolboy bully in a TV drama series, Grange Hill, set in a working-class comprehensive school that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Why Cameron chose Gripper when he had so many other fictional schoolboys to choose from is a mystery. Like Cameron, Bunter and Flashman were public schoolboys, and they clearly uphold Tory values of greed and extortion. Gripper, on the other hand, who is eventually expelled for organising a fascist gang and trying to incite a race-riot, is the mythical youth die-hard Tories once used to justify birching and flogging, one could easily imagine in the ranks of the BNP.

Cameron was clearly joking in an attempt to gain street-cred for his perceived audience but his “Big Society” is no laughing matter.

Though cloaked in the empty rhetoric of “liberation”, “voluntarism, philanthropy and social action” all it amounts to is an appeal to councils, charities and local businesses to fill the gap in local services caused by the massive cuts the Government has decreed to deal with the slump.

A “Big Society Bank” will be set up, using money from dormant bank and building society accounts to supply some cash to charities and voluntary groups. This pittance won’t go far and the rest will have to come from charities and businesses under the auspices of cash-strapped local councils and community organisations. Essentially Cameron’s urging people to cover the cuts in local amenities and services through donations or voluntary work and when they can’t, he will argue that they didn’t want or need them in the first place.

“You can call it liberalism. You can call it empowerment. You call it freedom. You can call it responsibility. I call it the Big Society”

Cameron says. “The Big Society is about a huge culture change, where people in their everyday lives, in their homes, in their neighbourhoods, in their workplace don’t always turn to officials, local authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face.”

He can call it what it likes but it’s nothing more than Victorian laissez-faire economics and the modern monetarist policies of the Thatcher era.

We are in the middle of the biggest slump since 1929. When it began the bourgeoisie throughout the capitalist world briefly flirted with neo-Keynesianism to bail-out the banks. Now the ruling class, in Britain and throughout most of the European Union, has returned to the classic capitalist solution of making the workers pay for the crisis to ensure that the lives of the rich remain unscathed.

The ruling class think they can get away with it, as they have done time and time again, because they assume that the working class is incapable of presenting any viable alternative let alone mounting an effective challenge.

But there is an alternative and the fight-back in Europe has already begun in Greece. The Greek communist call for the peoples of Europe to take a stand against the new bourgeois offensive is a clarion call for all working people.

Communists throughout the country must fight to mobilise the labour movement for a united opposition to the cuts and push for a working class agenda within the Labour Party. The Tories and their Liberal Democrat allies serve the rich who’ve got plenty. Let them then pay for the crisis.