Welfare & Subsidiarity
July Fri 23, 2010
“Big advance for people power.” If one can tell a good day from the morning, the speech delivered by new British Prime Minister David Cameron a few days ago in Liverpool will represent a point of reference as well as a model of governance for the rest of Europe.
As he had already announced during his electoral campaign, the conservative leader has encapsulated in two words the cause that the United Kingdom will fight for over the coming years. The idea of “Big Society” captures all the desire for change that has grown in English society from the root of its ideological discontent with the four lackluster years of Labour leadership under Gordon Brown.
To give individuals and the community control of their own destiny has been one of the objectives and cardinal points of Cameron’s political philosophy since 2005, when he became leader of the Conservative Party.
Cameron wants a revival from below, with the participation of members from all levels of civil society. “This world is full of unexpressed talents, of men and women who are capable of directing their own lives. Enough of the disillusioned and soulless puppets that act by cloning the behaviour of others.”
In declaring war on statism, Cameron knows that he is truly going to war, where blows will not be spared. To win it he will have to bet on the long term faithfulness of his liberal allies of the unpredictable Clegg.
We’ve already seen the reaction of the welfare-lovers, following close on the heels of the speech at Liverpool: the knee-jerk accusation from the Labours that he wants to hide enormous cuts to the public sector.
We are only at the beginning, and Cameron’s abilities are yet to be tested, as will be tested the feasibility of his proposals, which have incurred accusations that his desire to involve citizen volunteers comes from an unwillingness to pay public employees. Time will be the judge. But dear Cameron, don’t be discouraged! Even if members of the old Labour “insult” him, comparing him to that demon Tony Blair, hoping to throw him off balance.
In this regard, I hope that the greatest stain he’ll carry at the end of his work will be that of having had “"a brass-necked rebranding of programmes already put in place by a Labour government," as shadow minister Tessa Jowell hissed.
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