I blogged the other day about how I wanted to like the idea of the Big Society but that there were some fundamental things stopping me doing so - the main one being that no one can really explain what it is
But now I've read this rather good article from Mark Ravenhill which makes me think that maybe the real problem with The Big Society is it's implied endorsement of what seems to me to be frequently idealogical action, by claiming any act of charity as implied support for a cut in that particular sector, or even cuts in any and every sector. And while everyone, even Labour, accepts that many cuts have to be made, no one agrees with every particular cut or action.
Do voluntary work in a hospital - you must support cuts to the NHS
Volunteer to clean graffiti off walls where you live - you must support cuts to local street cleaning
Go and read to children in schools - you're suddenly advocating cuts to the primary schools budget.
Of course, none of those actions actually imply support for those particular cuts; but wouldn't it be dreadful if people stopped doing them in case anyone should think they basically support the cuts being made. And maybe it's that nagging doubt which makes me uneasy about the concept of 'The Big Society' per se.
Here's an excellent example of how doing one thing doesn't necessarily mean that you endorse an organisations entire philosophy per se. The brilliant Johann Hari actually tweeted an endorsement of an article in The Daily Mail. Now that's something no one could have seen coming.