As far as I am concerned the 'Big Society' is a completely vacuous concept, it's an empty bottle of platitudes and concealed agendas. Post-riot, it is virtually impossible to see how David Cameron can make it work. If it were, say, David Davis delivering the message then things maybe different but not only is the concept deeply flawed but the messenger himself is the wrong person to be saying what he is. People simply don't want to hear an Old Etonian wagging their finger at the rest of us, especially while the same person is inflicting a massive austerity drive on majority of British society. Cameron's response to the riots has been totally out of touch and shows he has no sense of how to deliver a positive message. For example, barely any effort was spent on praising the Twitter-organised Clear-Up Crews and instead we have a raft of proposals to restrict Twitter in effort to stop the 'sickness' Cameron sees spreading.
This sickness however is an entirely metaphysical construct that Cameron has invented to suit his own personal and political ambitions. His speech yesterday contained nothing that was not essentially, there is nothing wrong with this government and we are going to continue with more of the same. However, in his speech once again Cameron showed his basic unfitness as Prime Minister, he has not absorbed anything that has happened and learnt from it, instead he has used it to simply reinforce his distorted world view:
"Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations?
"Irresponsibility. Selfishness. Behaving as if your choices have no consequences. Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort.
"Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control. Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged - sometimes even incentivised - by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally de-moralised.
Even the police can't stomach his high-handedness anymore. Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, was moved to dismiss the input of politicians as "irrelevant" following hot on the heels on the news that Cameron is looking to the United State's for a new Commissionaire of the Metropolitian Police in the form of Bill Bratton. Cameron's program is also caught in the paradox of, in practice, wanting to massively expand state activism by introducing things like a 'National Citizens Service' all within the economic framework of allegedly cutting back state spending.
In political terms, trouble is already brewing in the Coalition's ranks. Simon Hughes has begun to articulate opposition to the proposals to evict rioters and their properties from council properties and it is widely recognised that any move by Cameron against the Human Right's Act could even go as far as to lead to a complete separation of the government into its component parts. The government, far from pulling together, is in the process of beginning to fall apart.
Meanwhile, proposals like the ones to curb Twitter threaten to broaden social conflict, not make any steps towards social peace. In this context, it is a welcome development that Labour is behaving like an opposition should and articulating a distinct vision from that offered by the government. It is right that it reject's the siren temptation to subsume it's identity of the hollowness of a 'bi-partisan' approach. As Cameron presides over an increasing disaster zone, the country needs its opposition more than ever to be bold and decisive. Let's hope that Ed Miliband can rise to the occasion...
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