Monday 28 February 2011

What is Big Society? Maybe debate will tell us.

The battle for the heart and soul of the ‘Big Society’ and what it means will be fought out during today’s backbench business debate in the Commons.

The first motion on the order paper talks about the Big Society as “seeking stronger communities and decentralising power”.

Those are fairly vague aspirations which leave open the possibility of Government spending and social programmes – accordingly the motion has won support from the likes of John Cruddas, Bob Russell and Tristram Hunt as well as some Cameroons.

Meanwhile the proposed amendment is far more prescriptive – suggesting such “stronger communities” should be facilitated by “increased individual and collective responsibility and freedom and reduced dependency on the state”.

In turn this amendment has won the support of the likes of Bill Cash, Christopher Chope and Edward Leigh.

Such a spat over what the Big Society means isn’t going to help David Cameron at a time when he’s already struggling to define the concept to the wider public.

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