Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

Editorial

Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

Editorial

Article excerpt

The big society, David Cameron says, is 'based on responsibility and respect'. It's an attack on 'Big Government built on paternalism and waste'. 'It is a guiding philosophy' to describe 'a society where the leading force for progress is social responsibility, not state control'. What could be wrong with that? With cuts in local government funding and support for charities who have for many years been filling gaps in state provision, the answer is becoming all too clear. The doublethink at the heart of current UK government's policy is perhaps best illustrated by the suggestion made by one coalition minister to her London constituents that they borrow all the books from the public library to prevent the council - now starved of central government funds and unable to support it - from shutting it down. Why a library emptied of books could not be closed remains a mystery, but the minister's attempt to identify with grassroots campaigning reflects the limits of state-sponsored localism. The promise to create an army of 5,000 neighbourhood activists, charged with picking up the pieces when local services grind to a halt, indicates that the coalition's dream is not just to roll back the state and let private corporations reap the benefits, but to channel social responsibility in particular ways. …

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