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Will the new Government stick with the ‘big society’?

At the weekend, some Tory MPs were complaining anonymously that the big society idea had not gone down well on the doorstep and might even have played a part in denying the Conservatives an overall majority.

Today on Radio 4, Tim Montgomerie, who runs the influential Conservative Home blog, said that the idea had never been ‘”focus-grouped or poll-tested” – presumably a cardinal sin in the contemporary political world.

And now David Cameron is in Government alongside Nick Clegg, who scored one of the most palpable hits of the election campaign when he ridiculed the ‘big society’ as the “do-it-yourself society.” So where does the notion go from here?

Montgomerie went on to praise the ‘big society’ and say it had great potential. David Cameron has tried to reassure people that it doesn’t mean the Government washing its hands of social problems, but rather approaching them in a different way.

But the ‘big society’ remains one of the many unknowns about the new government. Who will be the minister in charge? Will the newly flexible Liberal Democrats play along? Will it ever get out the starting blocks as attention focuses on the bigger and more urgent problems of the economy? These are vital questions for voluntary sector in the days to come.

  • Tim

    I can’t help wondering if the Conservative’s idea of a ‘big society’ involves cutting public spending in the style of a Texas chainsaw killer and then banging the resultant swollen army of benefit claimants into slavery, oops, I mean ‘compulsory volunteering’ to fill the grand canyon-like gaps in public services. Mass slavery prettified as ‘workfare’ or the ‘big society.’

  • A Smith

    John, why do you equate ‘business like’ with cut throat short-termism? Not all businesses work like this. For me ‘business like’ is a phrase that does not neccessarily have negative connotations, but rather suggests focus and efficiency. Sadly these are qualities underrepresented in the charity sector. I’m all for payment by results as my track record speaks for itself.

  • Matt Dowse

    Where was this person trying to find work, was it London, a rural area etc?

  • Morgan Hunt

    In Morgan Hunt’s experience many fundraisers do not change their cause for more
    pay and in a sense this skews the normal characteristics of supply and demand
    which sets pricing. Indeed our poll confirms this. High demand and low supply drives up cost in the world of business economics and this kind of market ‘disruption’ will impact on what fundraisers are paid and how they are rewarded. So bringing in new talent is really important to stop stagnation in fundraising recruitment. For more information go to:http://goo.gl/wLDCVn

  • Michaela Szárazová

    Thank you for believing in young people. Although as a MA graduate trying to enter the sector, I now feel more hopeful about eventually getting a chance to work.