INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy. Continuing to use this website is acceptance of these cookies.

Big Society

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
Message
Author
User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Big Society

#1 Post by Dave B » April 23rd, 2011, 8:10 pm

I thought a thread on this had already been started, but BS and the political comments on it have only been mentioned in other threads.

Marilyn and I have had a short side conversation on this (very, very short!) and I thought it worth throwing open.

Having on three occasions tried to recruit volunteers I came to realise that there is a finite number of people willing to give up their time for the benefit of others. It is often the case that those who do may have up to six activities that they take part in in any community. I have two at the moment and at least one more pending! With another a twinkle in my eye.

So, where are all these willing people that will fill the functions lost by the shedding of council and other PS jobs going to spring from?

Could be some will be suffering from some medical condition, or caring for someone who so suffers, who will be effectively forced into some sort of action just to help fill their own needs. Will they get the funding and other essential support from the authorities I wonder?

Any further thoughts folks?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Big Society

#2 Post by Alan C. » April 23rd, 2011, 9:00 pm

Dave,
I thought a thread on this had already been started, but BS and the political comments on it have only been mentioned in other threads.
I'm pleased to see you call it BS, cos to my mind that's what it is (the more commonly used abbreviation on forums/fora)
So, where are all these willing people that will fill the functions lost by the shedding of council and other PS jobs going to spring from?
Isn't the idea that the folk doing the jobs now (and being paid) will do the same work for nowt once they are made redundant?
Will they get the funding and other essential support from the authorities I wonder?
From what I've read so far; it looks like "faith" groups are the only ones likely to get any sort of funding. No surprise there!

I and other folk I know have been operating the "big society" for years as individuals, we get no funding or support but do it anyway.

If the government think they can cause mass unemployment and then get the unemployed to work for free; they need to think again,
I wonder if they'll make the redundant employees work for their unemployment benefit? (even cheaper than the minimum wage)
It wouldn't surprise me.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Big Society

#3 Post by Dave B » April 23rd, 2011, 9:13 pm

I'll not disagree with most of what you have said, Alan.

From the comments I have heard from those made redundant from the local councils the large majority of them NEED to find another paying job to live!

As you say, the BS has been operating for many years. And most of those who wish to be occupied in it are already in that position!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Big Society

#4 Post by Alan H » April 23rd, 2011, 9:40 pm

Sounds like the Broken Window Fallacy.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Big Society

#5 Post by Dave B » April 23rd, 2011, 9:57 pm

Flanders & Swann had it (though for different reasons) as "It all makes work for the working man to do.

There was a sci-fi story many years ago where things were made only so that others could be employed to scrap them and then yet other would process the scrap to so that the first bunch could make new things . . . Can't remember the author but it looked very logical as he described it!

This is still :offtopic: but we process scrap cans in this country to send abroad, by ship, to be processed into reinforcing rods to be shipped back to this country. Keeps a lot of people employed!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Big Society

#6 Post by Alan C. » April 23rd, 2011, 10:15 pm

Dave
This is still :offtopic: but we process scrap cans in this country to send abroad, by ship, to be processed into reinforcing rods to be shipped back to this country. Keeps a lot of people employed!
Sorry this is still off topic (but my back's up :twisted: )
Around two years ago (could be a bit longer) Young's seafood's in Annan sacked 200 (I think) workers, they now send their shellfish to China to be processed and then have it sent all the way back to be offered for sale in Lerwick Tesco (and other outlets throughout the UK)
A lot of this shellfish originates in Shetland!
My mind is boggled.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Big Society

#7 Post by Dave B » April 23rd, 2011, 10:33 pm

I remember that, Alan, and my incredulous, if inarticulate, verbal response to the news.

I rather hope that the Chinese workers step up the movement for better wages and make such ploys more expensive, it's about the only way to stop that sort of madness.

All the fault of the accountants I reckon! What do you think, Nick? :D
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: Big Society

#8 Post by Fia » April 23rd, 2011, 10:36 pm

I share your anger Alan. That's economics for you. Bugger what's sensible sustainable and supportive of the local community, it's the money bottom line that counts... madness :twisted:

User avatar
getreal
Posts: 4354
Joined: November 20th, 2008, 5:40 pm

Re: Big Society

#9 Post by getreal » April 23rd, 2011, 10:40 pm

I don't really understand the whole BS thing, because currently, the voluntary sector provide huge ammounts of benefit to society. We already have a structure and wealth of experienced people providing all sorts of services.

It's actually even got a name: The Third Sector

sorry. X posted again
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: Big Society

#10 Post by Fia » April 23rd, 2011, 11:02 pm

Alan C wrote:From what I've read so far; it looks like "faith" groups are the only ones likely to get any sort of funding. No surprise there!
I and other folk I know have been operating the "big society" for years as individuals, we get no funding or support but do it anyway.
Quite Alan. The mostly secular Third Sector - thanks getreal :) - is being squeezed till it squeaks. Hardly Big Society. But who has the dosh, influence and vested interest? - oh yes, the 'faith' groups, especially if they're xtian. Brownie points for DC: supporting the bedrock of our British moral fibre :sick:

Interestingly, in Germany the Home Care that here in my part of Scotland is provided by local councils, is exclusively run by xtian, mostly catholic, organisations. Pay and conditions are crap, as of course it's mostly part time work for women. However, of late there's been a backlash against churches being so closely and universally involved in state business.
I think it's a dangerous road to travel to involve 'faith' groups in social provision. We should be removing their pernicious influence rather than enhancing it. Secular social provision, both paid and voluntary, has no agenda beyond the people it serves.

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Big Society

#11 Post by Nick » April 24th, 2011, 9:02 am

Dave B wrote:All the fault of the accountants I reckon! What do you think, Nick? :D
I thought you'd never ask, Dave! :laughter:


OK here goes: :D

The idea that the "Big Society" is just a way of cutting services is missing the point. I might just as well say that opposition to it is just a way of preserving high taxes and socialist councils. Its rather missing the point. Which is a pity, because, imo, it is rather an important one.

As you will recall, dear reader, the overuse of the word "community" gets right up my nose! However, for once, it may have a useful function. Historically, (and you can go back as far as you like,) humans have been interdependent, living in groups, looking out for each other and so on. Within living memory, there have been groups of people who were tightly knit, for a host of reasons. Mining villages, besides sheer proximity to each other, were tied together by bonds forged by the very danger of their lives. More widely, there used to be far more neighbourliness than is now common. My mother tells the story that during World War II she was told that if the sirens went off, she should go to the nearest house and knock on the door. Can you imagine that now? It was once perfectly normal to "pop next door and ask to borrow a bowl of sugar". Today that would seem somewhat strange.

Damn, I've just lost several paragraphs! :cross: Breakfast calls. More later.

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Big Society

#12 Post by Dave B » April 24th, 2011, 9:26 am

Mining villages, besides sheer proximity to each other, were tied together by bonds forged by the very danger of their lives.
and (though I hate sounding left wing in saying this) their attempts at a united stand against employers who imposed harsh living and working conditions on them and paid the lowest wage they could get away with! We do not need a return to Victorian, or even pre-war, values as displayed by the moneyed and privileged classes!

Come the revolution . . .
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Big Society

#13 Post by Alan H » April 24th, 2011, 11:35 am

Nick wrote:The idea that the "Big Society" is just a way of cutting services is missing the point.
:supershock: Looks like Cameron's not been doing such a good job at communicating that!

But what is it then? Just being a bit nicer to our neighbours? Providing them with a cup of sugar when can't afford to buy any? Doing a bit of tidying up in the local park/street? Running the local library/creche/swimming pool because the Council doesn't have the money or employees?

As has been said, a lot of people already do a lot in their community and this is frequently in the areas where local or Westminster government doesn't do so well. Does Cameron just want us to do more of that?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Big Society

#14 Post by Nick » April 24th, 2011, 11:29 pm

I don't think Cameron is doing a good job communicating his idea. But it is also true he's facing a tough audience. :wink: I must try to reconstruct my previous thoughts, so carelessly deleted.

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Big Society

#15 Post by Nick » April 25th, 2011, 12:23 am

As the economy has developed, living standards have risen in leaps and bounds, partly by increased specialisation and partly technological advance. The result has been that people are less and less dependent upon each other for various needs, even though they are still (perhaps even more) economically dependent. Thus, women have been able to go out to work which has raised living standards, but there are fewer women around to look after the kids while mum is poorly, because they are all out at work.

Even in my adult lifetime, I have noticed that people are less and less willing to put themselves out for their neighbours. Whereas, in the past, one might have baked a cake to raffle at the village fete, most people would prefer to put their hand in their pocket and give money instead. It even extends to trying to get friends to commit to an invitation to a party. It gets right up my nose when people say "I don't know what we are doing..." "Well what are you doing? What'sn your diary? Nothing? Then why can't you accept!!??" Grrr... It's as if they are waiting to see what else might arise.

Families too are fragmenting. Instead of all gathering round the radio, dad is watching footy on Sky, mum is on the phone, and the kids are upstairs: son is on Xbox and daughter is on Facebook.

Alan, the amount of such work which is done by the neighbourhood is much less than it used to be and much less than it could be. I know that TH'ers are a caring bunch, but I don't think they are typical of the populace in general. It is also true that voluteering has become more difficult. Speaking for myself, I have voluteered to help the kids at the local school, but the staff can't be arsed to jump through the hoops which will allow me to help. No-one ever got into trouble for saying no. The local authority won't bend the rules, so that sport for kids becomes financially viable (I'm not asking for any money). I've tried to contribute to a local music festival, but the council won't co-operate because, as it is sponsored by the council, they feel exposed if I mess it up. And they haven't the money to do it themselves.

It is by no means certain that those things with the greatest apparent appeal will in fact produce the greatest happiness. Historically, people have tended to feel and be better off as they lightened their workload. But could it be that we are now too passive? Too many couch potatoes? By more people going out to work, we have lost contact with our neighbours. We no longer feel comfortable organising a street party; some won't participate, some will just get pissed, and you don't know them well enough to trust them with your kids.

Similarly, with the growth of the welfare state, people expect someone else to do the caring. They don't want to do something for nothing if they feel that by doing so, they are merely offering a tax-break to someone else. But studies have shown that a great deal of happiness is generated by giving and sharing. However, in our modern world, we resent the free-loader. In a small social circle that is avoided, because the free-loader is exposed as such, but in the large towns and cities of today they can lose themselves; the obligation to recipricate is lost. It is also true that people are very afraid of being lumbered if they volunteer. They don't want to be left holding the baby (or granny).

There are areas where local authorities could use volunteers, but are blocked by fear and by unions. Libraries would be a good example of that. And there are many examples where contributions which could be made are squashed, because they would not benefit everyone equally. Better not have it at all. How pathetic is that?

So yes, Cameron wants us to consider what we have lost as we have advanced, consider how we could make ourselves and our neighbours happier, by taking positive action, and re-examining the barriers which have grown up to thwart such actions.

(Not quite what I wrote previously, but it'll do for now.)

User avatar
getreal
Posts: 4354
Joined: November 20th, 2008, 5:40 pm

Re: Big Society

#16 Post by getreal » April 25th, 2011, 12:30 am

I thought BS wasn't necissarily about running things using volunteers, more about getting the volunary sector involved in providing more services
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Big Society

#17 Post by Dave B » April 25th, 2011, 10:00 am

getreal wrote:I thought BS wasn't necissarily about running things using volunteers, more about getting the volunary sector involved in providing more services
Fine line there? Will "mission creep" ensue I wonder?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Big Society

#18 Post by Nick » April 26th, 2011, 5:04 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Dave,
I thought a thread on this had already been started, but BS and the political comments on it have only been mentioned in other threads.
I'm pleased to see you call it BS, cos to my mind that's what it is (the more commonly used abbreviation on forums/fora)
I would expect many TH'ers to be grumpy about this, but I think it is somewhat (but not totally) misplaced.
So, where are all these willing people that will fill the functions lost by the shedding of council and other PS jobs going to spring from?
Isn't the idea that the folk doing the jobs now (and being paid) will do the same work for nowt once they are made redundant?
No, not really. It is to make it easier to volunteer, to increase the wellbeing of society by enhancing the small things in life, which are very often not funded now.
Will they get the funding and other essential support from the authorities I wonder?
From what I've read so far; it looks like "faith" groups are the only ones likely to get any sort of funding. No surprise there!
It's not about spending extra in a time of necessary cuts. All too often, volunteers are blocked by the Council. There are things which are nice to have, but can't be financially justified, especially when those benefiting are not the ones paying for them.
I and other folk I know have been operating the "big society" for years as individuals, we get no funding or support but do it anyway.
I know you do, Alan, but you do not live in a major town, where many people live insular lives. Frequently, many people don't even know the names of their neighbours, let alone participate with them in society.
If the government think they can cause mass unemployment and then get the unemployed to work for free; they need to think again,
Ahem! Which government had you in mind?
I wonder if they'll make the redundant employees work for their unemployment benefit? (even cheaper than the minimum wage)
It wouldn't surprise me.
In some ways, that has some merit. It produces benefits to society, keeps the unemployed occupied for part of the week, and is a disincentive to staying on benefits. Needs careful thought though.

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Big Society

#19 Post by Nick » April 26th, 2011, 5:32 pm

Alan C. wrote:Around two years ago (could be a bit longer) Young's seafood's in Annan sacked 200 (I think) workers, they now send their shellfish to China to be processed and then have it sent all the way back to be offered for sale in Lerwick Tesco (and other outlets throughout the UK)
A lot of this shellfish originates in Shetland!
My mind is boggled.
Unboggle your mind, Alan. It's purely comparative advantage. As China grows, the jobs will return.

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Big Society

#20 Post by Dave B » April 26th, 2011, 6:53 pm

It is to make it easier to volunteer, to increase the wellbeing of society by enhancing the small things in life, which are very often not funded now.
Well, Nick, I obviously don't know what the situation is in your neck of the woods but here in Glorious Gloster there have been a lot of organisation screaming for volunteers for a long time. And this includes the big, well funded, ones like Oxfam, BHF etc. etc.

Maybe we are still suffering from Thatcherism, "There is no such things as society"; look after your own, and beggar (changed from something else!) your neighbour, or whatever. Even if that is not what Maggie meant an awful lot of people seem to have interpreted it that way. Why should people suddenly want to spend hours every week supporting total starngers when their own families are suffering financially?

Most of the volunteers I know are retired people, needing to use their spare time (if they cannot afford to go off on cruises, skiing holidays etc.) and, especially if they have no great family ties (like me) gaining a sense of being of use - like I was at work. Others range from those with educational difficulties to chronically out of work. At the moment I know of none who are "filling in" between jobs or volunteering in addition to working. Except a few on the village magazine committee maybe, but I am no longer active on that.

From which sector of the population are all these new people coming from?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Post Reply