David Blackburn

The Big Society in action

The Big Society in action
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The Big Society, in so far as it can be defined at all, envisages an empowered people taking responsibility for their local communities. The little platoons’ efforts could determine the atmosphere of a place, by helping to deliver public services, founding employment schemes, running activities that unite the rich and the dispossessed, and exercising more influence over planning authorities. It is, in effect, an assault on adamantine local government, overbearing central government and predominant corporatism.

This morning’s Independent has a cockle-warming tale of how the fledgling culture of localism and voluntarism is taking flight:

‘More than 230 separate local campaign groups against wind farms are operating across the UK, from Scotland and Kent to Norfolk, Yorkshire and Cornwall. These groups are scoring striking successes in defeating planned wind farms – even when faced with the weight of official recommendations.

In the last 12 months to September, there has been a 50 per cent drop in planning approvals in England, and approvals for windfarms in Scotland have also fallen.’