Now the election’s over and the dust is settling, we can get into the swing of things. So look out next week for the publication of Lambeth’s proposals for a co-operative council on Wednesday 26 May. Apparently it will challenge Cameron’s ‘Big Society’…Steve Reed’s description of how they differ isn’t very enlightening though:
“Our model differs from the Tories’ Big Society because while they want to roll back state, we want to change the role of the state, creating a new settlement between the citizen and public services with more power and control handed to local people. Our model empowers people to get on and make the changes they want to see in their local area, building better services and a stronger civic society at the same time.”
Am I being stupid in not being able to recognise the clear differences yet? This is how ‘The Guardian’ explains the Con-Lib ‘Big Society:
“The new Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition today unveiled a “big society” programme intended to “take power away from politicians and give it to the people”
[…] The plans include introducing a national citizen service programme for 16-year-olds, reforms to the planning system to give communities more control over developments, letting public sector workers form cooperatives and giving the public access to government data.”
And who will be in the new ‘Citizens’ Commission’? It will be set up this Wednesday to consult local people on the proposals already chosen by the council. Steve Reed’s homepage announced earlier this year that the Commission was to be set up way back in March “and give a final report no later than June”, but that deadline is unlikely to be met now.
Here’s hoping for some more detail on Wednesday, but I think this is going to be a matter of ‘wait and see’ over the much longer term.