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Is the Big Society a challenge to the left, and specifically the Labour Party?

Is the Big Society a challenge to the left, and specifically the Labour Party?

This is one of the questions which is raised by Sam’s blog (which was a response to my blog… have I lost you yet?).

I think that it is a challenge for three reasons (you always have to have three reasons);

  1. Big Society rhetoric argues that there is more to life than paid work
  2. In arguing for the Big Society politicians are daring to politicise our “free” time, and tell us what we should do with it
  3. In supporting Big Society initiatives Government is saying that it is legitimate to use state money to fire people up so that they will change the world
These three points are in quite stark contrast with the previous Labour government which behaved as though paid work was of supreme importance, that whatever we did with our free time was our own business and that government should reflect the attitudes of the age.

It is quite dispiriting to see supposedly left wing critics of the Big Society arguing that they would rather sit at home and watch tv (as Mehdi Hasan did recently), but that is the strange situation we find ourselves in.

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