Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A good idea but ...

My two-day absence from the blogosphere was caused by the need to concentrate on a talk about the lady known as the Russian Mrs Beeton, Елена Молоховец (Yelena Molokhovets), author of a wide-ranging cookery book and domestic manual, published first in Kursk in 1861 and republished till it reached the 29th edition in 1914, which was reprinted in 1917. Thereafter, the story of the book and, indeed, of food in Russia or the Soviet Union, became a little more complicated.

The talk has been delivered to the GB-Russia Society and the article is in progress. I can turn my attention to other matters. In particular, it was good to find out that the promised organization Direct Democracy has now materialized, led by Dominique Lazanski. Inspired by the Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell's book that has been successfully ignored by the Conservative leadership, despite Mr Hannan's repeated assuraces that David Cameron had gone further towards accepting the ideas than any political leader had done since before Hector was a pup, the aim is to "shift power to the citizen".

Can't argue with that, although I tend not to be greatly in favour of more power to local authorities as the possibilities for corruption there are more extensive than at the centre. However, one or two problems remain.

The most recent entry, for instance is about Big Society (the Boy-King's frightening vision) and localism.
Earlier today the coalition government launched their 'Big Society' programme. Based on the idea of 'radical localism' discussed during the coalition talks earlier last week, the Big Society programme aims to to empower citizens and local communities by shifting power from central government to local authorities.

"The Big Society is about decentralising power and empowering communities," said the Prime Minister earlier today.

Direct Democracy thinks that that this is a great start to devolving power to local communities, but does the 'Big Society' programme go far enough? We look forward to seeing exactly how Nick Hurd, the responsible minister, executes the delivery of the programme.
Well, I happen to disagree with Direct Democracy. This sounds to me the usual kind of waffle that entails the creation of "civil society" or "local communities" according to a pattern created by the government. Above all, I dislike that word "empowering". I do not need some jumped-up politician, who gets his power from me (and others, of course) to empower me. What I would like to see is for all those jumped up politicians to butt out and leave already existing communities and organizations to carry on.

Is that what Nick Hurd, the responsible minister will be delivering? Or will he be calling endless conferences with carefully selectged "stakeholders"?

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