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The Big Society

(136 Posts)
rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 11:48:04

(I think I've found my forum, now - posted this just now in Education...). Does anyone else think that David Cameron's idea of "The Big Society" is just his utterly cack-handed was of trying to say that the emotionally resilient should do a bit more to help the emotionally poor and needy (ie understanding the concept that all people in society are occasionally extremely needy and deserving of support, not just the generally inadequate)? I agree with this idea, I just disagree with the method of trying to carry it out - it takes too much responsibility away from the State. And, of course, the attitude of the City, whose workers are supposed to be among the more emotionally resilient, doesn't help foster the right attitude. Apparently, different rules should apply to them - they don't have the time to volunteer in this way, because City workers are just so self-importantly busy making money, nor do they want to donate money to the State to help it in a worthwhile project. They would rather keep all the money to themselves, or pick and choose their own pet charities, rather than getting involved in any sort of common cause. (Behaving like a group of capitalist cats...).

Which leads me to think that the political parties are not poles apart at all - they just disagree on the numbers in society who genuinely need support and how many of them can actually cope with being told to "pull their socks up." ie at least the "Big Society" rubbish is an attempt to show that the conservatives are not totally autistic (unlike the City).

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 11:49:24

And talking of the City, of course, they actually owe the State an awful lot of money, which makes it even more bl**dy irritating an attitude on their part. Why should they be allowed to opt out so spectacularly?

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 11:50:07

Talk about failing to take group responsibility... That's what happens when you aren't politically accountable - you can't be voted out.

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 11:54:08

Or, is it just a cack-handed idea because the Conservatives are the same old party they've always been and are just paying lip service to higher ideals?

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 12:41:57

Should City workers who feel guilty about the way the City has behaved as a collective and who do not genuinely believe that they only do a good job in order to get a colossal bonus, actually be voluntarily returning their bonuses to the State? That, in my opinion, would be the Big Society in action. We can't force them to pay more tax, but we can ask them to look a bit more closely at themselves and their pathetic justifications that the situation is not any one individual's fault.

Chil1234 Fri 26-Nov-10 13:12:49

'City workers' (whoever they are) have been taxed on their earnings already. Yes, anyone with a large income and a social conscience should be encouraged to be public spirited and donate their money & time to good causes... but they are not breaking any law by accepting the money offered. If we don't want the banks we own to hand out big bonuses we should address that at board level.

The 'Big Society' is an extension of the philosophy that those in need get help but those who are capable of looking after themselves should do so. The extension is that those capable of looking after themselves should also look out for others. I wouldn't limit that to 'city workers'

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 13:17:21

Unfortunately for City workers, they are the most visible and therefore obviously the most accused. They are a symbol of peoples' sense of injustice and they really aren't helping themselves to stop being such a symbol. If more work isn't done to stop this unfortnate symbolism, I genuinely think that one day misguided people may be provoked into revolution. Would this be worse or better than the current apathy?!

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 13:21:00

ie all the publicity about the return to high bonuses is extremely unfortunate when combined with messages on The Big Society.

Can you really blame people for feeling the way they do, even if not fair???

Chil1234 Fri 26-Nov-10 13:23:13

If city workers are a symbol then it is in the shape of 'pantomime villain'. It's easy for the popular press to whip up resentment against them and portray them as grasping fat-cats rather than just people trying to make a living... why not villify other big earners? Football players, film stars and so forth.

Chil1234 Fri 26-Nov-10 13:26:34

Even if a newspaper printed the story when someone in receipt of a big bonus donated it to charity, the cry would go up on MN 'they're only doing it to make themselves look good!!'... and they'd be accused of a cynical move to worm their way back into our affections. When people were bidding huge amounts of money for the Children In Need 'things money can't buy' on Chris Evans' Breakfast Show last week there was a big thread about how distasteful this was in an age of austerity. It's a no win situation.

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 13:28:05

Ah, in reality I agree that it is the way the press helps whip up national emotion... I feel equally contemptuous of the behaviour of many football players and film stars and Society's apparent adulation with respect to such behaviour!!!!!

In other words, I'm venting frustration generally, because I feel the loss of goodwill in Society is a very frightening thing. We are all blaming each other for everything, with the encouragement of the press, and poor policiticans and City workers, and the poor and weak, and the middle classes suffer entirely as a result of their own emotions!!!!!!! So I suppose I'm merely wondering whether the press might start being a bit nicer about everything again if the mob got its own way again and got the bonuses off the bankers!!!! Or would the mob then pick on another victim?!!!!!!

What, besides the Big Society, can improve goodwill and community spirit? Another world war???

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 13:29:03

(ps as you've hopefully gathered, I'm not expressing my own opinions, just speaking my emotions, which are slightly different).

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 13:31:44

Or maybe I am thinking that the City could lead the way, here? Or should the footballers go first?! Or am I just mischievously trying to ascertain other peoples' opinions by bouncing ideas off them? To be honest, I don't know, myself, I just felt the need to vent frustration somewhere before I got back to my daily life!!!!!!! I genuinely feel for our politicians, having to work through so much negative emotion.

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 13:42:38

And having to work with the lack of emotion - ie as it is no-one's fault in particular, it's OK to carry on with our daily lives as per usual. We need to provoke positive emotions in people, but are spectacularly failing to do so. That's why I think, whilst not doing it in the right way, The Big Society is an attempt to whip up a bit of positivity!

Chil1234 Fri 26-Nov-10 13:44:06

It's a hackneyed phrase to say 'we're all in this together' but I think we will all gradually come to realise that each of us, in our own way, is having to cut our cloth in the next few years. Resentment changes according to how well-off the rest of us are. A year or two ago it was 'floods of asylum seekers' who we were told were getting a cushy deal.... whatever happened to that gripe? Now we're turning on people who seem to be able to live quite well even though they don't contribute. Then there's the perennial 'sour grapes' towards the very rich... because we'd all like to be rich and few of us actually are.

Those who are very wealthy will come under increasing pressure to pitch in and contribute ... arts sponsorship, charitable donations, funding schools/hospitals... as well as finding the tax regulations provide fewer loopholes. But, even if they do, the press will find a new 'bete noire' to keep us all slightly pink under the collar. Foreigners, bankers, travellers, the workshy... pick one.

How to create goodwill in society?... start with yourself and those around you. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Work hard & be resourceful. Lend a hand where you can. Don't backbite or badmouth. If everyone does that we have a nice society by default.

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 13:45:58

Hurrah! We agree with each other, Chil1234!!!!! That's what I'm trying to do, in the hope my enthusiasm will provoke a few others! How do we recruit a few more people to our cause a bit more rapidly???!!!!

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 13:49:24

(I know, you'll say I should stop doing posts like this, but I personally think it might help make people think around why they are feeling the way they do if I try to provoke them a bit!).

SantasMooningArse Fri 26-Nov-10 13:52:35

' all people in society are occasionally extremely needy and deserving of support, not just the generally inadequate'

generally inadequate? pray, please explain further.....

SantasMooningArse Fri 26-Nov-10 13:57:42

'How to create goodwill in society?... start with yourself and those around you. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Work hard & be resourceful. Lend a hand where you can. Don't backbite or badmouth. If everyone does that we have a nice society by default.'

Doesn't work: always did it, ran rainbows, volunteered, PTA etc

When I needed help when the boys were diagnosed I ahd spent too much time giving and had attracted nobody to me who able to do anything bar take. had always cast myself as Mrs Strong and reliable so people assumed I could just get on with it.

I totally agree with the concept of everyone contributing if there are enough services to back up secure provision for those ho require it. We've ahd to cast aside plans to return home due to the swinging cuts amde to all but crisis services in our home County and our son's very real need for lifetime care provision. Seems we can only get help if we beat him or develop a terminal disease (LA words not ours) which is ridiculous.

As someone who has worked as a volunteer manager and more generally int eh third sector I do feel there is a mid road here but instead it's gone to extremes again. More community / third sector help OK; no help whatsoever if a volunteer doesn't emerge, no good

Chil1234 Fri 26-Nov-10 13:58:30

I think most people are very resourceful. It's only in the rarified atmosphere of anonymous message boards that the minority hang 'em, tax 'em and flog 'em brigade find an outlet. In the flesh I expect that, like the rest of us, they simply get on with life, rolling up their sleeves, making the best of the cards dealt, looking out for their mates and are not marching on parliament, spitting on benefit claimants or plotting to kidnap a banker for her bonus......

sfxmum Fri 26-Nov-10 13:59:15

no you looking at this all wrong, the shiny Big Society is a lovely warming fuzzy idea which is hard to generally disagree with, with it being all vague and all
- volunteering = good
-sharing = good
- co-operating = good

so the good feeling it produces will increase our happiness and if the happiness index is really high we will be fed clothed housed cared for in our old age and when in need by this benign glow


rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 14:01:01

Those who were born into unfortunate circumstances (eg poverty and abuse) and who do not have the wherewithall to look after themselves, however much they are told they should get on with it, and whom all parties agree are worthy of support. ie a very small minority. Others may be able to get by, but, eg, severe anxiety, or extreme pain, or a relatively severe disability, or simply having been brought up to believe they cannot survive without taking what isn't technically theirs etc, etc, may seriously diminish their ability to contribute to society. If people such as this are handled in the wrong way then they do end up reliant on others for a very long time, instead of being given help to get over it. So, are we getting the balance right between carrot and stick?

rabbitstew Fri 26-Nov-10 14:02:08

Sorry, was responding to SantasMooningArse! Nice to see I've got company! A shame I've got to go off and carry out a volunteering role in a minute!!!!

Chil1234 Fri 26-Nov-10 14:02:33

But the message of the last government was very clear.... ie. "Don't worry your little head about it, Uncle Tony/Gordon will take care of everything." We were so infantilised by that approach that we stopped thinking for ourselves and almost ended up with a police state. Whilst a big state worked when times were good and the coffers were overflowing, it doesn't cut the ice any more. It is far from vague to say that from now on we've got to be much more self-reliant

SantasMooningArse Fri 26-Nov-10 14:02:39

Chil I actually agree

AS a Carer it is only on MN that I come across the extremes- extremes that ahve pretty much driven me away from the polictic board becuase in fact, they are in no way representative of anyone barring a few people.

Most people have a bit off sympathy and OK, so they don't want to babysit (who could blame them, we're a hard to handle bunch) but they assume their taxes are going to be used to help us and are OK about that.

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