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Big society? Don’t fix what isn’t broken

I was at the Reading faith forum earlier this week and it struck me just how little the very people you would expect to be keen on the Big Society – the faith groups that do such great voluntary work, seemed taken with the idea of the council and government passing over more and more services to them.  After all they provide things that currently the council or government don’t and their selfless volunteers only have so much time.  If they start providing social care to the elderly they won’t be able to run lunch clubs.

Talking yesterday with a community worker (who has been rechristened as a social enterprise co-ordinator or something equally silly under the new regime – who said nonsense titles were the domain of the left?) she said “We’re not all in this together, to them (the government) it’s one less meal out, to others it’s can they afford to pay for school dinners.”

Senior people in government and the council seem to be admitting that many are going to be left high and dry who previously thought society would stand by them – whether that’s the elderly, the mentally ill, families or children.

Voluntary and community groups are already doing so much to make Reading a civilised place to live.  Of course the government can’t replace volunteers but neither can volunteers be expected to shoulder the burden of what the Tory/Lid-dem council and national governments decide is a price worth paying.

And for what?  Locally bringing back weekly refuse collections in marginal wards priority areas.  At a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds while leaving the vulnerable to suffer

I know I would prefer to wait a week for my landfill to be taken in exchange for knowing that an elderly neighbour is being given a chance to take a weekly shower or that my community centre is not being starved of funds!  And if anyone challenges me about that on the doorstep I will defend my view.  They say good politics is about hard choices, but this isn’t even a hard choice for me.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear Rachel, one needs to cut up these credit cards you see, can't keep up spending coz it needs repaying and I know you would not want your child ( as and when)to be born with a debt round its neck bigger than the one Brown created ( and that takes a beating)!. CAB will give you this very same advice as well as the National Debt Line! Multiply this by millions of people in the UK and you will realise we are in deep S**t. Yes we are all in this together and volunteers from all walks of life will be hailed as saints. A community spirit will rise from this, just like during the war..this one against the irresponsible actions of a Labour government and local Labour council. You will learn!

  2. Rachel says:

    I do understand what you are saying. But I simply don't think that it will work – so many people are already doing so much, and the rest? Perhaps you know where all these people who aren't currently helping anyone but want to do lots are?

    Cutting the deficit can be done in a number of ways, and I don't agree with the way the government are planning!

  3. Anonymous says:

    So what do you propose? Even your potential leader candidates are trying to avoid the subject like plague. You only to watch Ed Balls ( and he has vast treasury experience ummm ) on the Andrew Neil's show this week to know that they do not know themselves and they are opposing the government for sake of opposing. They would have to have gone the same route except for prolonging the pain as opposed to applying the painful medicine immediately so that it gets a lot better much sooner. That's for the national debt anyway. As for the deficit, it is a different matter. Labour always seems to confuse national debt and deficit! economics is not their strong point. Never has been! The tories always have to come in and clean the mess up. Look up History Rachel. I don't have to, I have lived it. Well below the last 100 years anyway…Old age pensioner who has been robbed by Gordo. Nuff said on the this post.

  4. Rachel says:

    When I have a minute I will reply probably via a new post. Sorry for slow to approve, you'll probably appreciate being a councillor takes up most of my free time!

    Incidentally I don't really like approving anonymous comments – in future do you mind giving your name?

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