“A Hand Up Not a Hand Out”: The Big Society, The Big Bank and Now The Big Issue

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Last week the Prime Minister guest edited an edition of the Big Issue; whilst this was a first for Mr Cameron it appears a greatly compatible partnership. As Mr Cameron himself said, the Big Issue “rejects the idea that to every problem there must be a big state solution” which is a huge right-wing philosophy, reducing state interventionism and helping people to help themselves.

Paul McNamee, the Editor at the Big Issue, also agreed on their shared values of “shared responsibility, volunteerism, community” although they wished to remain politically neutral throughout this venture. Big Issue vendors are those that are homeless and need a way to earn a living; they buy every issue for £1 and sell it for £2, keeping all the profit they make.

This edition of the Big Issue will surely be a reassurance to many Conservatives who have begun to worry that the Coalition has

Prime Minister since 2010

The Big Issue has reassured many Conservatives that Cameron is as Tory as ever.

weakened some of the Prime Minister’s core values. He speaks of his family and how strong family bonds make every other aspect of life easier to deal with. Family is one of the fundamental values of the new right way of thinking but not, as people assume, just the nuclear family, (a husband, wife and one or two children). The Conservative Party has changed with the times and applauds all types of family set-ups whether this is cohabiting before marriage or same-sex couples entering civil partnerships and adopting. The two necessities are love and commitment, a strong home base to tackle the difficulties of work life and all other stressors.

The Prime Minister also focused on positivity and how with the right frame of mind anything is possible. He referred back to his disabled father who had the same attitude I try to approach every day with: “no matter how bad things are, you can overcome them”. As a disabled Conservative this was heart-warming to hear; it underlines his view that if you are able to work then you should and by working you will always be better off than those on benefits.

When quizzed on what the Big Society really meant, something that has caused so much debate over the last year, our Prime Minister laid out his ideals in very simple terms as a society when we all try and do more. We do not just pay our taxes, follow the laws and live an isolated life; we see what we can do to improve the lives of others whether this is as a community or individually.

The Big Bank (officially called Big Society Capital) is now underway with four big banks committing to invest £200m between them and an expected £400m to be accessed from dormant bank accounts. This is huge success for the Conservatives as it was a main manifesto pledge and being under the flag of the Big Society shows that it is far more than a cover up for cuts which Labour have implied on multiple occasions. Whilst I do not expect any of them to be retracting their former accusations, perhaps they, too, will now buy into the Big Society and join us in attempting to benefit all by helping others.

Posted on August 2, 2011, in Coalition Government, Comment, Conservative Party, Party Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Interesting article. I’m a little fuzzy on your understanding of the Big Society though. Do you think that it necessarily means a reduction in the size of the state, or that coordinated government funding and action to tackle things like homelessness will still remain relevant going forward? My trouble with the Big Society is that whilst active citizenship and greater community action is desirable, to cure any social problem almost always requires money, and voluntary groups and charities that seem to embody the Big Society idea almost by definition appear very hostile to current government policy, and for good reason – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/03/cutting-charities-funding-serco

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  2. I really enjoyed this article – thanks. It’s refreshing to see, that in the midst of so much difficulty, the message of positivity and encouragement is still being spread.

  3. To clarify, I do not believe the Big Society itself requires a minimising of state intervention, although I believe minimising state intervention should be a long-term goal. Minimising this intervention does not correspond to complete removal of intervention and aid however and I believe that government action will always be required in some form. This can take less the form of financial aid in the distant future and more of promotion and marketing. In the foreseeable future both funding and action will still be required on a number of causes not just homelessness although this is a very worthwhile cause.
    I believe that the Big Society is very commendable in its aims and seeks to improve society for all with not just funding but the emphasis on community action, community spirit and selflessness. I also agree with Zoe that the messages Cameron is spreading are refreshing to see, I hope many people will take encouragement from these values as do I. NATALIE X

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