I have already sent letters to the local press regarding my concerns re the Big Society - see here. Well in response to that I got an email wondering if I would like to be part of the Government's roadshow on the Big Society that would include a stop in Gloucestershire.... well the Gloucestershire bit of it...
I have to note I was bemused but didn't dismiss it out of hand. However the more I thought about this the more the problems seemed to grow. There are some good motivations but the idea is fundamentally flawed as my letter tried to point out...it is therefore with no surprise that I hear that public anger over big society-related cuts interrupts the first meeting in the roadshow and all plans have now been shelved. Here's the news report:
The Communities and Local Government department and the Big Society Network have abandoned their programme of 'town hall tours' after a turbulent first event in Stockport, Greater Manchester. The tour was announced earlier this year as part of the government's big society agenda. It was hoped the 12 events planned would give people the opportunity to discuss what could be done locally. But the plans were changed after the initial gathering last month was interrupted by shouting from members of the public, who used the gathering at Stockport College to air their grievances about cuts in relation to the big society.
Paul Twivy, chief executive of the network, said the tours had been "redefined" because there was no longer a need for "more vague listening exercises". "At the moment, if you try to do any public meetings about the big society, everything is completely driven by anger, anxiety and nervousness about what cuts the spending review will produce," he said. One person who attended the event, who did not wish to be named, said it generated lots of good ideas but too much anger. Twivy said the abandoned tour would be replaced by a series of 15 "more targeted" consultation events, which would be delivered with partners such as v and BTCV, and would lead to pilot projects.
As I finished this blog I note The Guardian also covered the story - see here.