I was at an MPA planning meeting the other morning and part of the discussion was the nature of policing and the relationship to the "big society". A number of members tried to define the big society in this context but it became clear that a single agreed definition was not going to be found.
Some people feel that this is a flaw with the concept of the big society, I don't subscribe to that.
The whole point of the big society is that it covers a range of community responses to the circumstances that exist. Big society will mean one set of things in a rural community and a different set of things to the residents of an estate in Peckham.
A single top down definition of the big society totally misses the point, the natural centralisers on the left feel very uncomfortable with this, decentralisers on the right less so.
Although some believe that the big society is what will left when the current big state reduces. I prefer to think of the big society as the force which displaces the overly large and intrusive state. Light isn't what is left when the darkness goes, it is the thing which drives the darkness away.
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