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.