The criticism and debate about Big Society that we had in the first year was pretty disruptive to relationships, but it was urgently needed and incredibly valuable. Professionals working in communities in various roles were forced to examine and compare their practice, including their own roles in relation to the potential of citizens. We blogged, argued, made peace, wrestled with our own work and generally had a period of healthy self and other criticism which has sadly largely disappeared.
Only to replaced by, and please do argue with me about this description, a general sense of everyone ‘just getting on with it’. Pretty much as we would have been ‘getting on with it’ had the words Big and Society never been strung together. It has not caught fire in the general population in any meaningful way that I can see?
So why has David Cameron gone so quiet on Big Society? Was it a PR smoke screen for cuts as many thought it was? If so the government has never been more in need of smoke or distraction, with an announcement today of a double dip recession. If we caste our cynicism aside for a moment, perhaps the PM has been too busy with more important things such as the economy or international affairs to be paying attention to what others would describe as his ‘pet project’.