Monday, 20 December 2010

GUEST POST: The Big Society?

GUEST POST: Will Hamilton, a student of PPE and former intern in my Hexham Office

The Big Society is more than just volunteering – it’s about going above and beyond what is necessary. In the last fifty years, our society has changed to become more individualistic, and while in many ways this has been a boon, it does mean that we have become increasingly separated from those around us.

The Big Society aims to reverse this change – instead of work- or web-based communities, working to reintroduce people to their own neighbourhoods and remotivate people to do things for each other without a tangible reward – where the reward for helping somebody out is simply the knowledge that you’ve done a good thing.

It’s not a new idea, not a revolutionary concept, but it is one that will take some readjustment.

During a general election fought mostly around the economy, and with Gordon Brown’s faltering hold on the government under necessary scrutiny, the Big Society remained a background issue, albeit one that has already proved popular in our local communities. However, the media reports what sells and what is easy, and so the ideas of the Big Society have remained somewhat unclear in the minds of many. Let me try to offer my own definition; the Big Society is community.