“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Chapter IV. The Head Boy has a big idea.

When Cameron talks about charity, volunteering and his vision of a caring society whole swathes of Middle England look like those nodding dogs you used to see in the back of Ford Cortinas. Indeed, unless you happen to be one of those public sector workers who face redundancy and the prospect of your job being taken over by an army of gap year do-gooders and their interfering mothers, there seems little that can be disagreed with. Volunteering is an integral part of our society and something that most of us get involved in at some time of our lives. It's personally rewarding, can frequently make a big difference to peoples lives and in many ways helps make clear part of what it is to be human. Anarchists have always seen volunteering as an example of how the world could be; as in Kropotkin's admiration of the lifeboat service. So what's not to like in the Big Society? Well to start with there is the nausea of listening to a multi-millionaire and a representative of that part of society that have helped themselves to a grossly unfair portion of the common-wealth banging on about people helping each other. Dave claims that he wants people to be empowered and I'm all in favour of that. In fact I would like to see people feeling so empowered that they turfed the Camerons out of one of their properties and used it for a pre-school playgroup or whatever. There's a great line in the film If... when Malcolm McDowell's character Travis berates the Head Boy, aptly named Rowntree, for "giving your best teddy bear to Oxfam and expect us to lick your frigid fingers for the rest of your frigid life". Cameron may have a big idea - but some of us have got an even bigger one.

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