Big Society according to MJ
As my fellow blogger previously mentioned, some fads come and go and some stick around for a while. Fad or not, participatory budgeting is one of those projects which the previous government championed and encouraged which may not be continued in the future despite it being Big Society in action.
However, on a small scale it is happening all over the place, and thanks to the wonders of Twitter I stumbled across this link earlier this week: http://writing-ourselves-well-katehe.blogspot.com/2010/07/our-borough-council-had-69k-to-spend-on.html
If you can’t be bothered to click on that and have a look, it briefly covers someones experience at a public meeting where residents voted for projects to see which ones would be funded. Acrobats, tanned sailors and bumbling fools all apparently turned up, and all received unofficial reviews and some money from the audience.
One line in there however stood out:
“And I wondered how we would cope with decisions more complex than allocating £2000 here and £3000 there? I’m quite happy telling the government how not to run the country, but am I capable of coming up with a workable alternative?”
The ‘workable alternative’ point is one which most people don’t even think about, and actually mirrors Big Society somewhat in my mind. It’s easy for a member of the public, an organisation or a politician to say to a Local Authority that they aren’t doing well enough and need to do more/better, but when asked exactly how they freeze up. It’s the specifics that aren’t considered in the criticism stage – they might say “coordinate better”, but how to do that is another matter.
People want someone else to take up the reins and come up with the answers rather than taking some ownership of the issues themselves – maybe Michael Jackson had it right when he said he wanted to ask the man in the mirror…