Wednesday, 19 January 2011


Many of the people of Milton Keynes want their library, Milton Keynes Council says it cannot afford them, and is considering closing the library within its draft plans to save £26m in 2011/12. The Tories 'Big Society' will work if it does not cost Government anything - so when people took their maximum allowance of books from Stony Stratford library, Milton Keynes - clearing all 16,000 volumes from its shelves, as part of a protest about proposed Library closures, this is not the sort of Big Society that Cameron wants, because Government will have to pay for them.

One it was easy, once Blair was gone we thought  that 'Spin' was gone, sadly not. Once the Tories did not believe in society, if you wanted services you were a paying customer, not tax paying citizen, if you wanted culture you had to pay for it (some of them still think this!). Now after the David ('Call me Prime Minister!) Cameron's makeover the Tories now believe in something called the 'Big Society'. Sounds good, sounds simple, but, its more complicated than that. The essence of this is that Tories believe in people getting organised, having input in what goes, and working to benefit their communities - providing that it does not cost the state (at whatever level) does not have to pay for it.

Some of the  Tories don't really believe in the state doing anything, they claim to believe in less 'Big Government' - sounds good - but - under Thatcher and Major the Tories grew the Quango element of Government to a vast size, all New Labour did was grow it some more. The fact that the UK can not longer pay for many of them, thanks to the banking enhanced economic crisis, gives the Tories (and their Lib Dem little helpers) the opportunity to look radical, when they are not. The bottom line is that the Tory vision of the 'Big Society' is going to be selective and as far as they are concerned cost free - unfortunately things don't work that way very often.

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