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Give the big society a break

Times are hard, but Cameron's idea could unlock the "hidden wealth" in our communities

By David Halpern   September 2010

It is striking how many people are still struggling to get their head around what David Cameron’s “big society” actually means. For critics on the left it’s simply a way to dress up cuts: get volunteers into museums and cut their budgets; get neighbours to look after community centres and reduce grants. It’s a smoke and mirrors game to cut the size of the state—an acceptable mask for laissez faire.

But even these critics sense there’s more to it than that. At a recent seminar, one ex-No 10 Labour adviser commented: “I just reread our manifesto, and I couldn’t believe…

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