Published: 25th Oct 2011

Big Society, we are told, is all about placing power in the hands of citizens – giving ‘ordinary people’ a say over what happens in their communities. Forget the brand (which some suggest is now so toxic that it is being quietly dropped from the prime minister’s lexicon), that’s somewhat irrelevant, as there is now a great deal of consensus between parties over the principle of handing over power to local people. Of course the quid pro quo for devolving this power is that people will be expected to do more for themselves; stepping in to meet local needs that may previously have been provided by the state. For the foreseeable future, these ideas are going nowhere – whether or not they are called Big Society. As the prime minister and his colleagues scrabble around for ideas to bring their ambition to life, you might have expected to hear far … (To read the full article, subscribe below)