Archive for the ‘Labour & Big Society’ Category

Labour & The Big Society

jeudi, septembre 22nd, 2011

The Prime Minister should beware or his theme of decentralisation and promotion of The Big Society, could be hijacked by thinkers in the opposition Labour party showing how it should be done!
Labour modernisers are plotting a vast giveaway of Whitehall power, writes Robert Philpot, director of Progress and editor of The Purple Book, published last week by Biteback. These modernisers include members of the Labour shadow cabinet as well as rising new talent from the 2010 crop.
Following on from the financial crisis, it seems that internationally there is a collapse in trust in both the market and the state. Although voters accept the competitive advantages of the market, they are also concerned about the power of large corporations and are skeptical of the ability of the market to create enough jobs. However, confidence in the role of the state as a corresponding counterweight to the market has hit rock bottom with e.g. 29% of those polled in the UK questioning whether there are any advantages at all in government initiatives to improve societies. This presents particular problems for the Labour party which needs to regain the confidence of the voting public, by demonstrating that it has left behind its Big State dogma.
Therefore, the talk now is of the principle of subsidiarity i.e. that decisions should be taken at the lowest appropriate level of government, as close as possible to the people, and that the application of it should be at national level with power devolved from Whitehall. For public services for example, there should be a shift of power to individuals and local communities. People should have new rights where local services are failing. Parents should be able to trigger competitions for new schools where standards fail to improve. Academies, trusts, parent-owned or community-controlled options should be available. There should be more self-governing institutions such as the successful foundation hospitals, with local democratic control and ownership. This model could also be applied to the key primary care part of the National Health Service (NHS).
This all sounds rather like the Conservative concept of The Big Society which unfortunately, up till now, has gained little traction in the public mind!