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Big Society

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Big Society

#41 Post by Alan H » April 28th, 2011, 11:48 am

Latest post of the previous page:

Nick wrote:I saw that too. IIRC, it also applied to restaurant work and a factory, as well as farm labour. I think we have got our education policies badly wrong.
Eh? Are you saying it's the fault of our education system that UK workers don't work as hard as their East European counterparts?
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
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Big Society

#42 Post by Nick » April 28th, 2011, 12:11 pm

Partly, yes. We are too keen on bits of paper of dubious worth, and do not prepare kids for real life. We force them to jump over pointless obstacles (making them miserable in the process), but not how to cope with life's ups and downs.

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Dave B
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Re: Big Society

#43 Post by Dave B » April 28th, 2011, 2:12 pm

I think we have got our education policies badly wrong.
That's it! Stop teaching all the arty farty academic stuff and train the little buggers how to top and tail turnips and live on a minimum wage! That's unless mum & dad are members of the Tory party, run the businesses anyway or have independent wealth of course.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: Big Society

#44 Post by Nick » April 28th, 2011, 2:16 pm

Dave B wrote:
I think we have got our education policies badly wrong.
That's it! Stop teaching all the arty farty academic stuff and train the little buggers how to top and tail turnips and live on a minimum wage! That's unless mum & dad are members of the Tory party, run the businesses anyway or have independent wealth of course.
I hope you are not ascribing that opinion to me... In the past few decades, we have seen social mobility decline, instead of increase. I think our education system is partly to blame for that.

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Dave B
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Re: Big Society

#45 Post by Dave B » April 28th, 2011, 2:26 pm

The quote was from you and I agree that you do not specify where the ed. sys. is wrong. My comment was sarcastic tongue-in-cheek rhetoric! If I were a cynical person, of course, I might add , "Just how the Tories would like it."
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: Big Society

#46 Post by Alan H » April 28th, 2011, 9:25 pm

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?

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Dave B
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Re: Big Society

#47 Post by Dave B » April 28th, 2011, 9:30 pm

Never did understand all that stuff . . .
















Still don't!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: Big Society

#48 Post by Nick » April 29th, 2011, 9:14 am

:laughter: Nice one, Alan! I loved the reference to Keynes's famous line "In the long run we're all dead" when "Hayak raps "The long run is already here" :D

Marilyn
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Re: Big Society

#49 Post by Marilyn » May 3rd, 2011, 6:37 pm

Apologies for taking so long to get back to this conversation (too busy volunteering :smile: ) but I do agree that most people who want to volunteer already are, often to capacity, and I don't come across many people just waiting for the BS to get off the ground before they'll do anything. My retired friends and acquaintances seem to divide into those for whom life is just one long holiday (and they are unlikely to change, either you like being active and interacting with your community or you don't), those who are on endless granny duty (my children have spared me that!), and those who more or less carry on as if they are working but don't get paid for anything. I don't know who is going to join all those committees, write all those newsletters, run community groups and local events etc etc when they raise the retirement age. Like much of the conservative revolution we seem to be living through, the BS doesn't seem to have been thought through.

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Dave B
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Re: Big Society

#50 Post by Dave B » May 3rd, 2011, 8:30 pm

Like much of the conservative revolution we seem to be living through, the BS doesn't seem to have been thought through.
I feel that one could say that about all three major parties, Marilyn - immediate political expediency overrules considered action every time it seems.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Alan H
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Re: Big Society

#51 Post by Alan H » April 4th, 2012, 2:47 pm

Who the fuck gave Cameron the right to co-opt steal money from people's bank accounts, even if they've not been used for 15 years and even if it can be 'reclaimed'? More moving numbers around.
Cameron raids cash from dormant bank accounts to set up £600m Big Society Capital bank

By DAN HYDE
PUBLISHED: 09:19 GMT, 4 April 2012 | UPDATED: 10:54 GMT, 4 April 2012


Vision of the future: Prime Minister David Cameron hopes the Big Society Capital bank will help tackle social ills

Millions of pounds of 'dormant' cash held in High Street banks across the country has been siphoned off by the Government to fund a new bank that will lend to charities and social schemes.

The £600m-rich Big Society Capital bank has been launched as part of David Cameron's Big Society project.

The Prime Minister is hoping to fix the country's 'deepest social problems' by redirecting unused money to deserving charity and community projects.

The new bank is funded by £400m worth of cash lingering in ordinary Britons' bank accounts. The money must have been left unused for at least 15 years before it is co-opted by the Government.

Bank customers will still be able to claim back money given to the Government if they can prove it is rightfully theirs.

The other £200million in the new investment fund has been sourced from High Street monoliths Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS.

Mr Cameron said the money loaned by the bank to social enterprises and charities will be paid back from the income they generate. As well as charities, the money will fund social enterprises, examples of which include the Big Issue magazine sold by those at risk of homelessness, and the retail store branch of the Oxfam charity.

The Prime Minister said: 'Big Society Capital is going to encourage charities and social enterprises to prove their business models - and then replicate them.

'Once they've proved that success in one area they'll be able - just as a business can - to seek investment for expansion into the wider region and into the country.

'This is a self-sustaining, independent market that's going to help build the Big Society.'

In future years, the Government plans to tap philanthropic savers for extra cash by asking them to funnel their money into 'Society Isas' at a Big Society bank.

The Prime Minister, who has faced criticisms over the overarching social project, has called the Big Society vision his 'mission' in politics. He says it is central to the 'social recovery' Britain desperately needs.

The newly-launched investment fund has been created as a standalone vehicle, independent of the government.

Some 60 per cent of its shares are owned by the Big Society Trust, a private company comprised of executives from social, business and government roles. Barclays, Lloyds, RBS and HSBC, hold the remaining shares.

When the plan was hatched early in 2011, Brendan Cook, general manager at HSBC, said the bank was working hard to reconnect its customers with lost money, writing to them and employing tracing agents.

However, he added that it is not always possible to find the right owners. In those cases, the money will be fed to the Big Society Capital bank - with the customer still able to claim the cash back at a later date.

Cook said: 'Whether the account has a balance of £5 or £5,000, it is important that we continue to try to trace these customers so that we can make them aware of what is rightfully theirs. Account balances which cannot be traced will be transferred over to the government’s dormant accounts scheme.

'Although the dormant account funds are to be transferred to the Government, the money will always remain the property of the customer and can be reclaimed at any stage.'

Dan Corry, chief executive of New Philanthropy Capital and a former adviser to Gordon Brown, told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme he was sceptical over the size of difference the £600million could make.

Hsaid: 'I think Big Society Capital is a good thing, but it is a limited amount of money and it is a bit of a drop in the ocean.'

He said some voluntary groups will not be able to cope with the need to make a profit and repay the loans. 'A lot of charities who are helping homeless people, for example, they don't get any revenue from that,' he said. 'For most of them, this is really quite irrelevant.'

Prime Minister David Cameron said: 'For years, the City has been associated with providing capital to help businesses to expand.

'Today, this is about supplying capital to help society expand. Just as finance from the City has been essential to help businesses grow and take on the world, so finance from the City is going to be essential to helping tackle our deepest social problems.'
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
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Big Society

#52 Post by Nick » April 4th, 2012, 8:15 pm

Oh dear.

Trust the Daily Mail to say "raids"! Grrr!! No wonder the public are mislead. Not least Alan.

OK let's explain it. First of all, the Big Society. What Cameron wants to encourage is for people to look out for their neighbours. Because of our busy lives, increased affluence, cars, government red tape and other factors, people have become more and more isolated from their neighbours. Though the Left is convinced that it is merely a cost-cutting measure, there are surely many, many things which can be achieved by citizens organising, which would never be managed by bureaucratic local government. Shopping for one's neighbours, visiting elderly or disabled people, coaching kids in sports, giving blood, charity whist drives, mentors, "big brothers", the list is endless. For the Left to block any such approaches is shameful, and IMO, blows the idea that they are more caring. No-one is suggesting that doctors should be volunteers, but there must surely be huge areas where people would be willing to give more, so long as they are not left holding the baby, or exploited without gratitude.

Secondly, a bit about fractional banking. Money deposited in a bank allows the bank to lend money a multiple of times. Put simply, if £1,000 is deposited, the bank can safely lend, say, £900. That £900 is spent, and the £900 returns to the bank. It can then lend 90% of £900, ie £810, which means they can lend a further £729, and so on.

(This is great while things are moving in the right direction, but when people don't borrow, or borrowers go bust, the benefits are reversed, and we see the recession we have just experienced.)

So, it matters not a tinker's cuss whether bank deposits are left idle. Money could be going in and out faster than a fiddler's elbow, but if the overall balance was the same, so would the banks' lending.

So, the government are in no way "raiding" anything. Effectively, the "dormant accounts" story is a way for the government to borrow money from the banks for social "Big Society" purposes. This is of precious little consequence for the banks, as they do not have a shortage of money to lend. What they lack, is borrowers they consider credit-worthy. The significant point is that the risk of lending to "Big Society" projects has been transferred to tax-payers as a whole.

How significant is that? Hmmm... Frankly, I wouldn't expect the risk to be significant. I expect the banks spend more on advertising than any potential losses. They have no economic or viable alternative for the money, so there is no "crowding out" of investment finance. The important factor is that the banks are not geared up to assess the viability of "Big Society" projects. Maybe they should set up a multi-bank organisation to do so...? That might be a solution, but so far it hasn't materialised. It might do the banks some good. Using it as an advertising campaign might be a good bet, compared to sponsoring soccer, say.... But for whatever reason, they have not done it. Also, the governemnt hope to earn some "brownie points" for their ( in this case, laudable,) efforts.

So what is the government up to? They could extremely easily just borrow the money at around 2% interest and do exactly the same thing. 2% is insignificant. But it means that the government can maintain the idea of reducing borrowing, and it gives them some kudos for "doing something". I think it also, genuinely, helps the "Big Society" project, not least in marketing terms. Presentation can be very important in motivating people.

So, in some sense, it is just "moving money around", in that the government are presenting their policy in a way which they hope will garner them some support, but is it just "financial engineering"? Smoke and mirrors? No, it is real action, which seeks to affect small, local matters which will improve society at the most local level. Which is a good thing. A very good thing.

Hope that explains things. :D

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Val
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Re: Big Society

#53 Post by Val » April 4th, 2012, 10:10 pm

Thanks Nick, yes that does help.

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Dave B
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Re: Big Society

#54 Post by Dave B » April 6th, 2012, 12:56 pm

It seems that Gloucester City Council has put another wrinkle in the Big Society idea.

They have offered funding to community groups . . . providing that they retain control on how the funds are used and what the groups do.

Needless to say those groups who have found funding elsewhere have told them to get on their bikes. Now those groups are finding that the city are putting barriers in their way where this is possible. The City Centre group has tried for three premises to set up an office now, the council have offered the owners a commercial rent for each of those properties, even though their use of them will be pretty minimal or they will be sub-letting them to others.

So the Big Society seems to be getting well and truly divorced from the local council. Since it is mainly the council officers, not the councillors, who control such things they cannot be voted out. Most of the councillors only act on politically advantageous matters from what I have seen of their meetings and the officers do not have to do what the councillors want anyway.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: Big Society

#55 Post by Alan H » April 6th, 2012, 4:03 pm

Did anyone see the report a few days ago about a Court ruling about a Council library run by volunteers rather than properly qualified librarians? It was declared illegal.
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?

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Dave B
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Re: Big Society

#56 Post by Dave B » April 6th, 2012, 4:26 pm

Might look for that, Alan, be interesting to see the grounds for the ruling.

I hate the idea of volunteers doing work that should be the province of paid staff. If there is a staff member in charge and the volunteers do the "menial" work of shelving etc. that is not so bad. The type of work I do at the Archives would never get done except by volunteers, it would need a staff of hundreds to cover, and why use highly qualified people to enter data into spreadsheets (when you have mugs like us)?

Later:might it have been this?? Looks like this is an unfinished case and there are other councils claiming that this is not illegal. Seems Gloucestershire has stopped its plans at the moment.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: Big Society

#57 Post by Nick » April 6th, 2012, 5:07 pm

Interesting article, Dave. Looks like it will go ahead anyway, just jump through few more hoops on the way.
Alan H wrote:Did anyone see the report a few days ago about a Court ruling about a Council library run by volunteers rather than properly qualified librarians? It was declared illegal

From Dave's research, it would seem that it was the procedure that was declared illegal, not the objective. This action has just used up some of the library budget on lawyers. Nice one! And judging the quality of the staff in my local library, to call them "properly qualified librarians" is laughable.

SCC's efforts are designed to keep libraries open. SLAM's efforts are more likely to result in libraries slamming shut. But at least, in that case, "vulnerable groups" will be no more disadvantaged than anyone else.... Grr!!

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Alan H
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Re: Big Society

#58 Post by Alan H » April 6th, 2012, 6:07 pm

Dave B wrote:Might look for that, Alan, be interesting to see the grounds for the ruling.

I hate the idea of volunteers doing work that should be the province of paid staff. If there is a staff member in charge and the volunteers do the "menial" work of shelving etc. that is not so bad. The type of work I do at the Archives would never get done except by volunteers, it would need a staff of hundreds to cover, and why use highly qualified people to enter data into spreadsheets (when you have mugs like us)?

Later:might it have been this?? Looks like this is an unfinished case and there are other councils claiming that this is not illegal. Seems Gloucestershire has stopped its plans at the moment.
That could be it, but I can't remember the details - it was just a fleeting reference made by someone.
Nick wrote:This action has just used up some of the library budget on lawyers. Nice one!
I hope that the Council is held to account for their unlawful procedure and the money it has cost the Council Tax payers.
And judging the quality of the staff in my local library, to call them "properly qualified librarians" is laughable.
I'm sure you would be able to make your opinion about the quality of library staff known to your Council, but does that mean that all library staff are useless or that a library does not require a properly qualified Librarian?
SCC's efforts are designed to keep libraries open.
It could easily be said that SCC's efforts are designed to save as much money as possible, irrespective of the effect on the quality of service provided. Unless the SCC have stated why they are doing what they are doing, we can only speculate on their reasons.
SLAM's efforts are more likely to result in libraries slamming shut.
Or run properly by properly qualified and paid Council staff.
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
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Big Society

#59 Post by Nick » April 7th, 2012, 7:29 pm

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:This action has just used up some of the library budget on lawyers. Nice one!
I hope that the Council is held to account for their unlawful procedure and the money it has cost the Council Tax payers.
Are you really suggesting that Councillors should be personally liable for decisions they make in good faith, probably with legal advice? :shock:
And judging the quality of the staff in my local library, to call them "properly qualified librarians" is laughable.
I'm sure you would be able to make your opinion about the quality of library staff known to your Council, but does that mean that all library staff are useless or that a library does not require a properly qualified Librarian?
I could indeed speak to the Council, but a) I have no wish to put them out of work, and b) they do their job adequately, as I would expect suitable volunteers to do also. Nor am I suggesting that the whole library system should be devoid of anyone of suitable skills.
SCC's efforts are designed to keep libraries open.
It could easily be said that SCC's efforts are designed to save as much money as possible, irrespective of the effect on the quality of service provided. Unless the SCC have stated why they are doing what they are doing, we can only speculate on their reasons.
SCC had to make cuts in expenditure somewhere. Their response to that was to try to keep the libraries open some other way. Or are you saying SCC didn't need to make any cuts?
SLAM's efforts are more likely to result in libraries slamming shut.
Or run properly by properly qualified and paid Council staff.[/quote]Paid with what? Monopoly money?

Gottard
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Re: Big Society

#60 Post by Gottard » October 16th, 2012, 2:32 pm

The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

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Dave B
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Re: Big Society

#61 Post by Dave B » October 16th, 2012, 7:37 pm

I can't agree that it is only immigrants that this applies to, there are enough Brits on benefit round here with big TVs and a seemingly endless supply of booze and fags as well as central European families where no-one, apparently, is at work.

I do have a gut sympathy for the sentiments, there is a lot that needs sorting out to make it fair for all.

It is not a racial problem but one of attitude and irresponsibility.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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