Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Suffolk CC's New Strategic Direction - down a nasty dark alley!

E-mail to local LIB DEM and Green councillors:

You have to admire the Conservative Party. They are very clever. Like all good advertising slogans – “the big society” has clearly struck a chord. It finds willing listeners because it taps into people’s deep concerns about what makes “the good society” with its resonance of mutuality, sharing and goodwill.

It is hardly surprising that this new political religion of “the big society” is catching on when you think that many of its proponents and perpetrators are experienced PR men. They have managed to tap into a popular compassionate consciousness which is more akin to traditions on the political left: cooperative societies, friendly societies and trade unions.

But we should not be fooled. The “big society” is merely a mask for a highly suspect right-wing agenda to diminish the State and emasculate the public sector. They have hijacked a political discourse which emphasises voluntary work, self-discipline and fellow-feeling, for their own ends. The ruling Tory cabal on SCC is using the concept as a vehicle to carry out deep and possibly irreversible cuts in valuable public services.

Outsourcing to the private sector is well-established in Suffolk – waste collection and recycling, etc. Much is effective. But the scale envisaged by the New Strategic Direction seems to be putting us on a slippery slope to privatisation which is unnecessary, short-sighted, and which smacks of false economy. What will we end up with? The same situation that existed under many previous Tory governments – Private Tory Affluence and Public Sector Squalor.

The Tory party representatives may well say there is no alternative but this is untrue. Where there’s a will there’s a way. There are alternatives. See:
Unfortunately, with a predominantly tame right-wing press these alternatives are seldom given an airing.

The Tory party may well live to regret its foray into compassionate politics with its “big society” rhetoric of giving control back to the people. Young people have found a new voice and are rejecting the double standards and contradictions inherent in Coalition politics. When push comes to shove, people will see through the sanctimonious liturgy of the “good society” political discourse and recognise the nastiness and self-interest inherent in the murky recesses of the Tory party.

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