For those who don’t know the Big Society is an idea put forward by the new UK government that came to power this summer. They say that their aims include supporting co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises and encouraging people to take an active role in their communities. Well that is the positive side of things. The negative is that the government is cutting back on its spending and that will mean that some of the things that were once done with taxpayer’s money will no longer be able to be done.
Governments have for a long time supported people who have been able to help them achieve their aims. They have wanted companies to set up factories in different parts of the country so have given grants to encourage them to do so. The have wanted people to provide social housing so have provided assistance to housing associations. Other times they have given tax incentives to people and organisations that help them achieve their aims. For examples some charities do not pay value added tax on certain items. Not only that they have paid some organisations to provide services on their behalf such as support for those who are elderly, mentally ill disabled etc.
We are entering a new era because the government has decided that they cannot afford to spend as much money as they once did but they still want to do something to make sure as many of society’s needs are met. They are cutting back on the grants and contracts they once offered. The needs are still there but the government will not pay for them to be met. This is where history makers will be needed more than ever. We need people who can meet the needs within society even though the government is not a willing to help them as it once was. This is not a new idea as during the Victorian era there was an idea known as laissez-faire which basically meant that the government did not get involved in guiding or directing economic or community activities. In this era people were encouraged to take responsibility to set up businesses set up hospitals and generally do things that supported society.
Today we have come to expect others to do things to look after us rather than taking responsibility to look after ourselves. The critics say that letting people do things themselves will mean inferior services because those running them do not have the practical or organisational skills to meet the needs within society. This may be true but how will people learn if they do not practise and make a start. Mistakes can be excellent teachers. Problem is we are often too scared to try in case we make a mistake. We need more people who are willing to make the effort to blossom into people who are able and willing to learn how to do things better. It takes people who are willing to ask and find answers to questions such as
- I don’t know how to do this. How can I learn to do it?
- Who can I find to work with me as I try and change history?
- Where can I find the money to help me achieve my goals?
However we need people who are prepared to grow and blossom into all that they can be. People who are willing to take responsibility for solving the problems around them and not wait for the government to do it for them because the government will not be able to do it for them.