The 'Big Society' - Charlbury has its say
A Financial Times report about disquiet with the Conservatives' Big Society concept quotes Charlbury residents extensively:
"In The Bell, a pub in Mr Cameron’s backyard, genteel rage is bubbling. Its source? The threat to close the Charlbury public library, housed in a double-fronted property built from the yellow Cotswold stone typical of towns and villages in the prime minister’s Witney constituency.
"Rosalind Scott, 69, a bespectacled former social worker in a burgundy cardigan, is as potent an opponent of Mr Cameron’s austerity agenda as the students who last year wreaked havoc in central London in protest at cuts to university funding.
"'The library is essential to our community,' she says. 'The problem with losing a library is that you lose a place where people meet each other.' Last Saturday Mrs Scott organised a protest attended by 200 people. Such events are being organised across the country as Mr Cameron pushes ahead with Plan A – he says there is no Plan B – to eliminate the underlying deficit of 4.8 per cent of national income within four years...
“'I find the idea of the Big Society insulting,' says Barbara Allison, a retired financial officer, who says that there are 54 local organisations in the town already doing things for the community such as meals on wheels. 'We’re already devoting an awful lot of our time to charities and volunteers. I help run Charlbury museum. Am I not doing enough? Is David Cameron going to volunteer?'"
Separately, Charlbury resident Stephen Bubb was quoted on Sky News making a similar point:
"Sir Stephen Bubb, who heads the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, told Sky News: 'If you want to build a bigger society you have got to have the foundation there and that's the charities, the social enterprises, the community groups and they are the very ones that are being hit. They are making redundancies, they are cutting the work they do in communities. So you can hardly build a bigger society if the very people at the heart of that vision are cutting back on the work they do.'"