Rory Sutherland’s wiki man column in The Spectator is one of the few things remaining inside that magazine that might yet tempt me to buy another print copy. In his latest he sticks a finger through one of the biggest holes in the Tories’ buckshot “Big Society” balloon of bullshit:
In one sense, it seems, the Cameronian idea of the ‘Big Society’ is already flourishing in Britain — with groups of people voluntarily grouping together in order to stop things happening or to keep things the same (including that annoying group in my village who petitioned to prevent an admirable fish and chip van visiting once a week). The member organisation for this tendency seems to be the National Trust, a vast, slightly fascist entity with over a million members that imposes a banal, uniform and static idea of good taste on everything it owns.
So here lies the central challenge of the ‘Big Society’. In Britain our spectacular capacity for collective action in opposing things (Nazism, new housing, nightclubs) is matched only by our inability to harness any will or consensus when it comes to doing something new. Worse, our resistance to change is often self-defeating, since the only people not defeated by the bureaucratic hurdles are huge organisations like Tesco — while those traditional smaller cafés and shops that traditionalists claim to love cannot summon the energy to clear them.