Explaining the Big Society

People are still saying they don’t understand what the Big Society is about, despite attempts to explain it from the likes of David Cameron, in his conference speech yesterday, and Lord Nat Wei in his blog. Julian Dobson has been raising the level of debate, and there has been some high quality to and fro on the Big Society in the North Forum.

Still people are saying they don’t understand it. I really don’t think the mainstream media are helping on this. I was struck by this quote from an article in the “Evening Standard”:

….ours is a nation that pokes fun at those who do try to make a difference. From Dad’s Army to Citizen Smith to the Vicar of Dibley, we mock those who attempt things for the common good.


There was also an item on “Newsnight” a few months ago which just set out to ridicule the whole thing.

So, I’ve had an idea. “The Apprentice” has just returned to our TV screens, with teams of obnoxious, self-obsessed, self-promoters, scratching each other’s eyes out in an effort to avoid the fatal finger of the blessed Lord Sugar. Why not adapt this format, so we have teams of people wanting to do good for their communities competing to implement the best (Big Society) community initiatives? And, to make it more effective, I think the activities of each weekly programme should take place in the same community, so it is possible to measure the impact of the actions, and demonstrate how one community can grow a series of projects which engage local people and grow community capacity.

I am not sure if the “you’re fired” element would be appropriate in this variant of the format. But, then again, perhaps it would. If you’re not effectively doing good for the community, then you’re out. Step aside and leave it to those who CAN do it.

The main benefit of this is that other communities would be able to see the Big Society in action and transfer the lessons to their own neighbourhoods.

Any TV producers up for this?

3 thoughts on “Explaining the Big Society

  1. TV producers? Competitions?

    Currently, people who want to do something good in the community generally get together and do it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s beautiful when it does, and valuable learning when it doesn’t.

    Why make it into a nasty format about winning and losing?

    In fact…why make it into some Tory branded ‘big society’ project in the first place?

    The reason people don’t understand is because they don’t want to.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Explaining the Big Society | John Popham's Random Musings -- Topsy.com

  3. I like this idea, maybe you should pitch it to the Community Channel. If they/you could get funding to do it I bet they’d be well up for it!

    Rageh Omah said something interesting about Big Society on question time last night. He said he thought big society was a good idea and that it taps into that community spirit that is already going on, but that the government had confused people by saying it was about huge areas of public service like parents running their own schools and gp surgeries etc.

    Think I agree with that.

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