I remain confused by the Big Society concept, as I think are we all, including its author. My hunch is that when DC was trying to ‘rebrand’ the Tory Party, he wanted something that set himself apart from Mrs Thatcher (‘there is no such thing as society’) and the Big Society sounded as good as anything. She didn’t believe in society. He does. And it’s big. Strategy at its best, erm.
Then they tested it out on the media (at the time tickling their tummies even ticklier than they are now, if you can imagine such a thing) and on the public (well, a couple of focus groups probably) and it all came out rather well.
The problem is that what came out well was the idea that he wasn’t Margaret Thatcher. Something that may have appeared obvious. But now that the country is being subjected to the kind of right-wing nonsense that even she never tried out on us, at least not this quickly, not this randomly and not this non-mandately (did I just invent a word?) the Big Society is becoming a big problem for him.
It was great when it was warm and touchy feely and not being Maggie-y. But it is horrid when it is all about shutting libraries and sacking nurses and selling off anything that might raise a few bob provided not too many people protest about it on Facebook.
So it is no wonder he decided to have a little trip abroad to get away from the Big Society debate. But now I am just as confused about his Big World policy as well. I have been away myself the last couple of days, and have not seen much media, but having got back and tried to catch up, I am genuinely confused as to what his message was when he went to Egypt and Kuwait.
If there is anyone there who can help me with a clear succinct explanation either of the Big Society, or the central tenets of his foreign policy, I would be really grateful. I will pass it on to DC, so that he knows what it is he is saying.