Monday, February 14, 2011

Marriage and the "Big Society"

The title of this post was going to be something along the lines of "flogging a dead horse" - but given the events at Newbury racecourse this weekend I decided against it. However, as David Cameron tries to revive his grand plan for "The Big Society" it would have been rather apt.

To be honest, I never quite understood this "Big Society" idea - I think the overall concept of a big society is right, but I think Mr Cameron's idea of how it would work, was at best, misguided and, at worst, deluded.

Mr Cameron seemed to think that as cuts to council provided services took effect, volunteer groups would step in to take over. In a way, he is right - they will - but it will be existing voluntary and charity groups that do this and with little or no extra resources.

The idea that tax paying citizens will accept the idea that they are expected to both provide the funds for a service through taxation AND do the work themselves is, as I said, misguided. Unless they see an appreciable drop in what they are paying the council then why would they be happy about dipping once more into the dwindling funds in their pockets to provide the service they already pay the council to provide?

It just didn't make sense to me.

Worse still, though, is that Cameron seems to completely misunderstand how society works.

Society is not some top down imposition from the government - it begins with a small group of people with a shared interest in achieving something that improves their lives in some respect. As more and more of these small groups of people begin to recognise that they share a common interest with other small groups of people that "society" grows - what starts in one house spreads to a whole street and then a neighbourhood and then the town and, ultimately, across the nation.

That is how society works and it starts in one place and one place only - the traditional family.

The traditional, stable family unit is the building block of any functioning society which is why, in every civilization that has ever existed regardless of its origins, marriage between a man and a woman has been the most obvious, single common factor.

And we live in a country where that traditional family has been undermined and marginalised for decades by the actions, laws and aims of successive governments - Labour and Tory - without exception.

This is the point Mr Cameron's "Big Society" misses completely. Until he has done something to rectify the growing problem of family breakdown and the increasing marginalisation of the traditional family then his "Big Society" ain't ever going to work.

And to suppose otherwise is simply deluded.


fyrdsman said...

Added to your post, which I wholeheartedly agree with, anyone who organises, or takes part in a voluntary work will find themselves tied up in red tape, incur hidden costs, be badgered about racial quotas (if they're white).
Today's society has been deliberately engineered to make it difficult for people to help themseles and each other, with the aim of making everyone state dependent, or at least scared to fart even, without the approval of some government agency.

Stan said...

A good point, fyrdsman - it's not just regular voluntary work, either. A friend of mine tried to organise an improptu jumble sale for a local school a couple of years back, but gave up when she was stonewalled by red tape - health & safety, risk assessments, insurance, CRB checks and so on.