David Cameron has referred to it as his âmissionâ and his âpassionâ, but it does seem that very few people are entirely sure what the âBig Societyâ is actually all about.
This isnât too surprising when even those well and truly behind the idea are not helping matters. Phillip Blond, director of the think tank ResPublica, and â according to the Telegraph â âa driving force behind David Cameronâs âBig Societyâ agendaâ, has argued the case for the policy in the Independent. He guides the people thus:
âPublic 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.â
Writing this convoluted and opaque will do very little to clarify the concept for the âordinary citizensâ it claims to want to empower. In relation to this, one letter to the Independent quoted Nobel prize-winner Peter Medawar: âPeople who write obscurely are either unskilled in writing or up to mischiefâ. The writer then commented: âI donât think Mr Blond is unskilled in writing.â
If Cameron and co. are to defend the âBig Societyâ as more than (as some rumours have it) a slightly sinister cover for the cuts, they need to put away the thesaurus and use considerably fewer big words.