Cameron’s Big Society has become sick national joke

Prime minister David Cameron
Prime minister David Cameron

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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Leave it out, Dave. Even your mate David Mellor says the Big Society has gone down like a lead balloon.

Two-thirds of voters told a Times poll that the BS is no more than the government’s attempt ‘to put a positive spin on the cuts.’

It has become a sick national joke. The jobless say cynically ‘We’re joining the Big Society!’

The disillusioned leader of Liverpool City Council says the ‘Big Society is nothing more than a big con... a whole army of volunteers is nothing more than a smokescreen for massive spending cuts that undermine the very fabric of society itself.’

The thinking behind the BS is actually more sinister. Many Tories have long wanted ‘to roll back the boundaries of an overweening state,’ as a Daily Telegraph editorial put it.

Virtually every public service is up for sale, including schools and the NHS.

A private company, covered in the shroud of a ‘charity’, can challenge any service they would like to run and bid to take it over.

If they think they can make a profit from cherry-picking anything a council or government runs, they will have the right to demand it is put out to tender.

The NHS is the model. A private company can claim the right to provide any part of the NHS.

In theory, our trusted GPs will be in charge of the £80bn budget.

But in practice, surveys already show that six out of 10 of the first GP consortia are negotiating with private companies to run their referrals.

GPs are the camouflage for the real BS. God help the poor patients with all the hospital closures, cancelled operations and lengthening waiting lists.

Maximisation of profit is the first priority. BS is really BBS – Big Business Society.

New Labour started the ball rolling with its calamitous PFIs and now we have the Queen Alexandra superhospital at Cosham in debt and the G5 ward has been closed.

In principle there is nothing wrong with do-gooders and charity workers. Bottom up is often better than top down.

But you can’t run the Girl Guides or a library if the building has shut down.