Peter Hoskin

The joys of DIY government

The joys of DIY government
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One of the main problems with the Tories' Big Society/post-bureaucratic/responsibility agenda is how to sell it to the public. At the moment, it all sounds a bit too metropolitan, a bit too vanilla latte, a bit too wonkish. How do you better convey the often solid thinking that lies behind the management consultancy speak?

Well, I think Grant Shapps has just given it a good go. He described the warm feeling that he gets from DIY work – from, say, putting up his own shelves – and then expanded this to wider society. Imagine being the person who helped rejuvenate a post office, or who set up a school, or who runs the local library. It's DIY government, so to speak.

The analogy also highlights some of the problems with this whole idea, though. Why not call in the professional builders, for instance? And what happens if the shelves you put up simply collapse? Hopefully, we'll get some answers later today.