Big Society relaunch – mais on ne peut pas polir un turd
Posted on 13 February 2011 | 9:02am
Oh dear … poor old Dave has decided not only that he needs a ‘relaunch’ for his ‘Big Idea’, the ‘Big Society.’ … but he is seemingly of the view that the problem is not the policy, it is that ‘we are not communicating it very well.’
Oh dear oh dear.
‘Relaunch’ – he can just about get away with it. The need for better communication … Mmm, ok. But the two together … oh dear oh dear oh dear.
It is interesting that he sees the Big Society as a policy, as opposed to a vision. As a vision thing, it is fine, but only provided there is policy to make it work. And Ed Miliband has come up with something of a killer blow when he says that there is no point volunteering to work in his Big Society libraries if the libraries have been closed.
There are two possibilities here, and neither reflect well on the PM. Either he realised he was short of a vision for Britain when he was running for office, and Big Society was the nearest thing he could find to one. And/or he went into it without any regard for the inevitable readacross to the enormous cuts he knew he was going to be making.
One area of current BS difficulty we can excuse him is the existence of the coalition. When he first dreamed it up, he was going for solo power, not realising he would need the wind of Nick Clegg and Co to keep him afloat.
The mood music suggests Clegg has learned from his tuition fees mistake and is not going to use too much of his limited remaining capital to come to Cameron’s aid on BS. But it is not the case, as some of the papers are saying, that the Lib Dems have all downed their BS tools.
I have much enjoyed the retelling of a ministerial meeting recently at which the LIB DEM said he (or might it have been she?) said he/she was worried that the policy under discussion did not have a Big Society element. The (senior) TORY in the team piped up … ‘oh do grow up. That’s code for cuts.’
So as DC thinks through the BS relaunch, he might do well to reflect on the Franglais first rule of spin … ‘on ne peut pas polir un turd’.