Posts tagged tessy britton


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’. 


Written April 23rd 2011.

Basically predicts the current situation in London.

But don’t we have the perfect climate at the moment for this to happen: a recession, high unemployment (especially amongst young people), government cuts … and not forgetting the increasing cultural glamorisation of conflict as the tool for social and political change.


It is not that I am afraid of anger any more – although it often proves to be a bit pointless, self-indulgent and destructive - and I have particularly low patience with ‘the permanently outraged’.  It’s that these repeating and predictable negative human dynamics that glorify conflict simply don’t deliver. That is the primary reason I am so drawn to creative and collaborative approaches instead.  Projects that draw people together – whole communities at a time rather than pockets of confident and strident individuals – do, I believe, offer the promise of being much more effective over time at giving us the types of communities and society that we would all prefer – and the sort of society that addresses the many social justice issues so many of us are passionate about.