James Forsyth

Curbing the state

Curbing the state
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This morning, David Cameron and a large chunk of the Shadow Cabinet were talking in some detail about how the Conservatives will enable a Big Society. To do that, they are going to have to stop state-run organisation crushing community initiatives.  

Take the case of MyPolice. This website was set up to let people offer tips on how policing in there area could be improved. Earlier this month, they were contacted by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) who told them that they were launching a site called MyPolice. The original MyPolice objected.But HMIC went ahead anyway, using the url mypolice.org.uk. This better funded website now comes top when you Google MyPolice. It is hard to see what chance the original, community-inspired site has against this use of state power.

What makes this so frustrating is that HMIC could have called their website lots of things and still communciated what it is to the public. For example, would Yourpolice or Ratethepolice have been any worse as names than MyPolice?  

Next time Cameron talks about how a Consveravtive government will encourage the Big Society, he should mention how a Conservative government would stop state run bodies abusing their position in this way.