Sunday, 13 February 2011

WHAT THE 'PAPERS SAY. This is from the Belfast Telegraph, so it is. Author unknown.


Why David's Big Whatnot is just a cover-up for those cuts

Sunday, 13 February 2011

The first troubling side to the Big Society is no one can explain what it means. You might not agree with them, but at least policy initiatives such as the Five-Year Plan, Thousand-Year Reich or Holy Jihad were clear and got their point across.But ministers explain the Big Society with statements such as: "It's a brave optimism vision that instead of statedom fills a voluntary doingness not interferencing and oooh it will be so BIG and, 'Neighbours, [sings] everybody needs good neighbours', and I'm excited let's deliver more chickens to old people."
They might as well say: "David Cameron has always believed passionately in his vision of a Giant Whatnot. And believe me, once you see doings, all our lives will be transformed by that whatnot."
But it is used to justify their cuts. So they're not just shutting things down to save money, they're helping us out. Now instead of being stifled by the state providing services, we can have all the fun of volunteering to run them ourselves in our spare time.
Libraries, for example, must be one of the best examples of society, paid for communally, in which everyone has access to books, newspapers and computers.
So a Big Society would surely build more of them; but instead it's shutting hundreds down, presumably because we're all sick of the stifling nannying ways of the library service.
All you get from them is "Borrow t his, look up that" but at last that dictatorship is coming to an end, to be replaced with a voluntary system in which people will ask a neighbour for a book about the local canal system in 1817 and, when told they haven't got it, they'll be free to give up.
And this system can be applied everywhere. If we have a heart attack, we won't rely on the bureaucratic NHS as the cardiac unit will have been sold off for flats, so we'll enjoy the voluntary aid of a local Methodist who can pray for us, or, if we're not religious, get the man over the road to rub ointment on our chest.
This week as the Big Society was being paraded by the Government, many councils announced that cuts would force them to close down nurseries, youth centres, sports halls and, in Manchester, every public toilet except for one.
Instead the Big Society will cover all that, I suppose. Nurseries will be replaced by volunteers who say: "You don't know me, but I'll take your toddlers off yer hands. Now then, who likes having fun with fire?"
Zoos and city farms will be freed from government funding, and replaced by a scheme called 'Wild Animals in the Community'.
This voluntary initiative will mean children can view beasts every day, as lions sit under a cashpoint machine going: "Excuse me mate, you got a spare zebra?"
But if Cameron really believes the voluntary Big Society provides better services, then why doesn't he apply it to government institutions he doesn't want to cut, such as the Army?
If he's right, then the defence budget should be halved, and regiments in Afghanistan replaced by volunteers in yellow jackets, wandering through Helmand province saying: "Now then you holy warriors, instead of blowing yourselves up at a police station let's see you tidy up a few of these roadside bombs."
And yet the idea of every citizen helping each other in their community does seem to be on the increase as a result of the Big Society campaign.
For example, last Saturday was Save Our Libraries day, when every threatened library was packed with hundreds of people protesting against the closures.
There were kids carrying placards, mums making speeches, and residents who've never done such a thing before pledging to defend the community.
David Cameron must be delighted, as presumably this is exactly the sort of voluntary neighbourly action he had in mind.

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PT Barnum said...

Whoever wrote that deserves their own by-line. Glory Be to the Belfast wit.

brassferret said...

The mystery to me is that someone should expect some utterance from a political gob to make sense. It has never happened before and a quick look at "politics" in Roget explains why.

Clarinda said...

I suppose we should be grateful that this latest political toot wasn't titled The People's Society headed up by a Tsar.

Seamus said...

Funny article but when I used your link to the Belfast Telegraph ( to see if there were any comments - there weren't any) my computer crashed. Erkkk....
I wonder if they're related to the Independent newspaper as my computer always used to crash when I linked to them.

mongoose said...

And who can doubt that we will be better off, a bigger society, without libraries and wheelchairs. In fact, I suspected all along that libraries were really rain shelters for fuckers with wheelchairs. Idle bastards too lazy to stand up whizzing around at our expense, and reading books too as if that has ever been any use to anyone. There ought to be a law against them coming around, cluttering up valuable real estate with their foul wheelings and readings.

yardarm said...

If you look at the advocates of the Big Society they`re unemployable farts poncing off the Bank of Pater and Mater and wifey`s Pater and Mater. Has any of them foregone their ministerial and MPs salary ? Has any of them fucked the fuck off and worked for charity ?

The thought that grasping bastards like Wysteria, Osbum, Hague or Clegg would even break wind free of charge is utterly laughable.

The B.S is exactly that, a Cameroonian take on Bullshit Blair`s Third Way. Utter bollocks designed to get you looking the other way while they act as shill and bumboy to the likes of Rupe and the City.

PT Barnum said...

"cluttering up valuable real estate with their foul wheelings and readings"

Mr mongoose, that's richer and funnier than the original article by far. Perhaps we should start keeping a roll-call of the dead from this Philanthropy Enterprises Incorporated (someone's making money somewhere), dead because some volunteer could not be found to feed their bed-bound waste-of-spaceness or dead at their own or a relative's hand because life became an endless trial of debasement, grovelling for handouts or 'the computer says No'.

I suspect our noble-foreheaded leader wishes to see cripples on skateboards cleaning the shoes of toffs by the roadside. Like India. Or London c. 1840.

call me ishmael said...

I am, as you know, mr yaic, a diffident, self-effacing sort of chap, calm and generally Reason's willing servant but when I hear this big society shit I want to kill those fucking worthless, pampred, degenerate, shit-eating cocksuckers. We must throw them out, let the cards fall where they may.

Almost every BS comment I read, here, there and everywhere,repudiates its content, its genesis, its purpose, its authors. Fuck the union leaders, they are as bad or worse than the coalitionees, we must spontaneously combust and burn these vermin out of their nests, reclaim the public spaces from the likes of Toynbee and Heffer and Monbiot, clog the emails of the wretched, unelected ministers; talking just to ourselves short circuits our righteous wrath.

It is my constant refrain, my ever present doubt, that these cyber congregations defeat the aims which so many of them espouse and succour, instead, the beastly.

a young anglo-irish catholic said...

Well.....I think iDave has made a huge mistake in allowing the Big Society schtick to be tied into 'the cuts'.

If he said, get off your arse and do something useful for free and pay attention to what's happening locally, I'd say, yup, old iDave is right.

I can see it bridges the gap between his upbringing and his new life as a guilty toff, driven entirely by Mrs iDave.

But is saying that we're going to start running bits of the welfare state - the basic, non-reducable bits - via charity. Is he really saying that? I can't believe it.

When I visit CiF and hear these gyrations I just see the liberal left shrinking back to its undergrad comfort zone, fighting imaginary evils.

I looked into this locally. Polly T was going on about a demo she attended at the York Road Community centre/library in Battersea. It's right in among one of Battersea's hideous over-sized estates, abandoned by the locally-born workers in the 70s and now home to the incomers, in the main.

The council wants to close it down. Well, that's the evils of the cuts innit?

Apart from the fact that a little light googling revealed that the main Battersea library is not even half a mile away. They could move there. But those that are helped by the tax payers, subbed housing and the like, seem to think they should be able to have their own on-sight centre, rather than walk up the hill for a few minutes.

Or perhaps I do them a dis-service. Maybe the Toynbees are using the closure as canon fodder to attack the government and the locals are grateful for what is given to them.

I don't know. But I do know that the welfare state and NHS now consume a staggering amount of the whole of the tax taken by the treasury. This country is in the very serious position of not being able to maintain the public sector that existed in 2000, never mind the Gordonian version created since.

As an example, the Coalition was put on immediate notice that the NHS budget would need to climb from 100 to £120bn by 2015, no questions asked, and if you didn't pay up, we'll call it cuts. 20 percent more in just five years?

I fear a gigantic white collar liberal scam - using the halt and lame and old as weapons. The louder the protests the more I fear a massive stitch up.

I also have no doubt that the white collar liberals will not stop at shafting those at the bottom, if it means getting their own way and maiming the Tories at the same time.

People will come to see that Gordon's ejection in May 2010 as the luckiest escape in political history. Like the melt-down of the post-war industrial settlement, Labour was booted out just as the whole edifice collapsed.

This time, Snot walked before the interest on our borrowings was hiked. And again, the Tories will ruin themselves for a generation, trying to balance the books on the worst experiment in expanding the state in 50 years.

I'm afraid that we have very little alternative to balance the books by 2015. By which time the UK's annual interest bill will be well north of £60bn a year - money we will never be able to spend on the country.

iDave might drive any self-respecting Oxford liberal to foaming anger, but the idea that we serve our children well by borrowing evermore and handing them the interest bill is just a Fabian fantasy.

call me ishmael said...

That's very interesting mr yaic and I will think about it before responding. My instinct, of course, is that while you are doubtless correct in your figures, your application of them is skewed by implacable ideology, which is of course, a consequence of reading CIF, a commentary in the main, humourless, impolite, immodest and pointlessly and anachronistically party partisan. I find myself reaching for the Communist Manifesto every time I read some would-be right-wing loony spouting a load of old shite and finishing with End Of/Take your medication/What Do You Know?

I would just mention, in passing, that it strikes me as counter=productive, to say the least, in Big Society terms, to foster and allow to be fostered such enmity towards, well, there's a new enemy within almost every week, fat people, people who drink and smoke, people who work in the public sector, people who have made money out of the housing bubble, anybody and everybody, really, whilst simultaneously speaking peace unto the heathen bankerbastards. I think they're cunts, these people. Bad and stupid to boot. Just because they are not New Labour is no reason to forgive them.

PT Barnum said...

I love libraries. I have been a member of one or more libraries since I was 5, from the leftover Nissan hut to the glories of the British Library. But for the Toynbeeites to leap to the barricades of their local library as their symbolic stand against the barbarian Coalition hoards is twee sentimentalism of the most wretched kind. Do they use those libraries? Do they understand the history and real purpose of public lending libraries, whose origins lie in the early labour movement? My local library now seems part-creche, part-DVD-hire-shop, part-cybercafe, part-refuge for the cold and lonely (the latter wholly valid but regrettable). Books are an afterthought, or a not-thought.

And tomorrow, Valentine's Day, sees the end of the consultation process on DLA. Apparently a fifth of those who receive disability benefits could start work tomorrow. But when those people have attended an interview at which they are assumed to be deceptive unless they can prove otherwise, where they are interviewed by someone who is not a specialist, or even a doctor (physiotherapists seem especially popular as the choice of interviewer for those with mental illness), it is no wonder that I'm reading suicide notes from people across the country who expect to be put on JSA when opening the front door is a huge challenge.

Sorry, not overly interesting I know, but my rage level is rising day by day. It is this that may make me pick up the paving slab. I don't receive benefits because I never applied for them. All I get, by virtue of my official disabled status, is a free bus pass. But if you are someone who has been left with no short-term memory following illness, or someone whose body requires much coaxing and cajoling to walk twenty feet with a massive backlash in pain (neither of them me), you are likely to be able enough (under current rules) to work. Lord only knows what the consultation will visit upon us.

And remember, disability is an equal opportunity disaster. It can happen to anyone, at anytime.

call me ishmael said...

Not to Filth-O-Graph and Mail readers, or to order-orderites. It's like the framed-up life sentence or the chronic, incurable disease or the unplanned pregnancy. Never happens to them. But when it does it's a bitter chorus of Oh, fucks, who will help me now, who will plead my case, me, so dismissive of others' pleas. It is the absurdity of Ruin, that stupid fuckers despise their fellows more than their tormentors.