by Daphne Liddle

PRIME MINISTER David Cameron’s ridiculous vision of a “Big Society” is collapsing like a mountain of soap bubbles, as the people he enlisted to try to make it happen have been quitting and complaining that the devastating cuts to services and charities are making it quite impossible.

Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, who is retiring from being head of the Community Service Volunteers (CSV) after 36 years, said there was no “strategic plan”.

She told the Times the “massive” council cuts would make it harder for people to do more in their communities.

Con-Dem Coalition ministers claim they are creating new sources of funds for voluntary groups. The Government has said it will be investing £470m over the next four years in charities and voluntary groups to give them independence from state money.

Dame Elisabeth said: “The cuts that are being imposed on local government and the health service are taking place now.

“So there are a lot of very worthwhile programmes — for example volunteers working in child protection as promoted by the minister for children — which are now under threat of closure.”

A few days previously Liverpool City Council — one of those chosen by the Government to pilot the “Big Society” concept, announced that it was pulling out.


Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson said reductions to the city’s annual government grants were making it impossible to retain support for community groups and charities, which are central to the government’s vision.

That followed the news that Nat Wei, the government’s Big Society adviser, had scaled back his hours, which were unpaid.

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, has now told Public Finance that the Big Society Network, set up by ministers to support community organisers, is “imploding internally”.

But the “Big Society” concept was never anything more than a cosmetic fig-leaf for the dismantling of state welfare and privatisation of all public services.

Charities and good citizens were supposed to come together to fill the gaps but charities are having their support from local and central government butchered and 90 per cent of citizens are suffering varying levels of falls in their disposable income. All are insecure and no one knows if they may be about to face a dramatic fall in their circumstances.

So where are the money and other resources supposed to come from? The only people getting richer are the bankers.

Last Wednesday Cameron announced he had made some sort of deal with the bankers to lend more money to businesses and eventually come up with some funding for the “Big Society”


This was achieved after a lot of very lucrative — for the bankers — tax changes behind the scenes. But Cameron has no way of enforcing the deal — even if he wanted to.

So the sort of society that the Con-Dem Coalition is hoping to build is one where hundreds of thousands of people, who are now leading independent economically useful lives — with a bit of support from the system — will be plunged into a state of beggary and will have to rely on the benevolence of the banking and big business system for their basic necessities.

People will have no entitlement to help; there will be no citizens’ advice, no legal aid, no tribunals, no appeal systems, no protection against discrimination or crimes committed against us. The laws may still be there but without large amounts of money we will have no access to them.

All the bourgeois mechanisms of dealing with grievances will be denied to us.

So we will have to resort to the traditional working class mechanisms of dealing with grievances: industrial action, direct action and coming out on the streets as in Egypt and Tunisia.

This state of affairs will not allow us to sink back into apathy and jogging along every day doing the best we can. Every day we will have to fight the bankers’ system for our very survival — as do millions in the Third World already.

The bankers live in a world of their own, of zealous positive thinking and eternal growth where they get forever richer and richer. Their wealth alienates them from the rest of society; to them the workers are strange inferior creatures.

In effect they are suffering from collective mental delusions and are not fit to be allowed out; certainly not with so much power over other people’s lives. They will bring further banking crashes because they don’t understand their own system and they imperil the future of human society. For everybody’s sake they must be stopped. The workers of the world must take charge.