Monday, August 1, 2011

The Big Society will lead to Anarchy!! (and why that's a good thing...)

Anarchy is a phrase that’s often mis-understood – people associate it with lawlessness, chaos and disorder; with fear and unrest. But it’s exactly what will increasingly happen as the Big Society show trundles on...

You see, Big Society is all about us as ‘mere citizens’ taking ever increasing amounts of control and responsibility over things that affect our lives and upon which we depend – public services, for example. And a chance comment at a recent Co-production seminar in Manchester made me realise that this means we’ll be moving to an ever increasing anarchistic society.

We were discussing how coproduction will see the traditional ‘powers that be’ and commissioning bodies become ever less powerful and loose their control over how individuals decide upon how they want the social and health services they access look and feel. “It’ll be madness – a free for all – pure anarchy!” was the comment made in semi-jest...

But actually anarchy will be a good thing to happen – because anarchy isn’t about the breakdown of society and law and order, it’s about the absence of government control over our lives; it’s about us as ‘ordinary citizens’ coming together voluntarily and co-operatively to decide and agree upon the type of society that we feel it most appropriate and just. And coproduction may offer us the best framework/model by which to achieve this.

But if nothing else, isn’t it therefore about time we starting talking not about the Big Society, but the Society of Anarchy? (who’d have thought it – David Cameron: the anarchist!)

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