Gordon MacMillan,  UK Politics

Welcome to Cameron’s Big Society future

It might be light hearted, but Labour makes a serious point today in its attack on David Cameron’s “Big Society” with the launch of a viral video and its scary echoes of Thatcher’s Britain.

The video drives home what it really means when the Tories say “Big Society”, but are afraid to say that they want to cut and abandon a range of public services with their pick ‘n’ mix DIY services that mean no guarantees for patients, parents or communities.

Big society is about breaking down the NHS, breaking down local education authorities and taking apart public services and people’s lives along with it. That’s what they have always done and Cameron might be the shiny new face of Conservatives in the UK, but it is the same old Tories who do not believe in “big society”. It’s just paper thin like most of Cameron’s campaign of photoshopped airbrushing and oil slick marketing.

Cameron is as Jacob Weisberg, author of ‘The Bush Tragedy’ wrote in the Guardian today, “as buffed as a freshly washed car, and providing a similar kind of short-term uplift”.

“With Cameron’s Tories, ideas take second place to their marketing. The event is geared around his presentation of a Contract with Voters, which is printed out on a white board that Cameron signs with a flourish after his talk. Aside from being a rip-off of the Republicans’ 1994 Contract with America (also known as the Contract on America), these 16 promises are a remarkably thin effort. The hard tasks, like cutting wasteful government spending, building a greener economy and raising school standards, are left vague.” Cameron is after a contract on Britain.

Douglas Alexander, Labour’s Election Coordinator, said: “When they talk about getting people to set up new schools, it’s an attempt to disguise the fact that they would cut the schools budget.  When they talk about elected police commissioners, it’s all about politicising the police while refusing to protect police budgets. When they talk about NHS cooperatives, it’s a fig leaf for removing the tough targets that ensure people are treated in good time.”

The “Our future? Your choice” video has a neat little word of mouth tool that allows people to insert their friends’ names into the video so that the main character appears to phone them and at the end and ask them why they did not help to avoid this reality on May 6 2010 by voting Labour ending up like this again.