Daily Archives: February 7, 2011

Jim Pickard

I’m sure that Dame Elisabeth Hoodless is emininently qualified to discuss the “massive” cuts to councils spending which are – in her words – leading to the destruction of the Big Society agenda.

She is after all the head of Community Service Volunteers. But has anyone else yet pointed out that Hoodless used to be an Islington councillor…..for the Labour party? Read more >>

Jim Pickard

With the Big Society slogan under pressure there are those within the government who would like it to quietly disappear. Nick Robinson phrased it well last week when he said that the BS had gone through apathy and now ridicule: “Now the danger is that anger will come next,” the BBC political editor wrote on his blog.

Today one coalition MP said to me it was one thing for “union dinosaurs” to criticise the cuts – it was another to see charity heads (some of whom would look at home at Tory conference) lining up to question the deficit reduction programme. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

There is an evenly-balanced argument over the Forestry Commission sell-off which has been drowned out by the chorus of dismay over Caroline Spelman’s proposals. (It’s becoming reminiscent of drugs legalisation, an issue which has become almost taboo for politicians). After all the plans could raise up to £350m upfront, albeit in return for annual subsidies for the upkeep of “heritage” woodland.

As I wrote last week: Read more >>

Jim Pickard

The cabinet secretary’s review of the Al-Megrahi papers has just been released, and it runs into over 100 pages. You can find it here.

I’ve had a swift skim through the documents, which include the following paragraph. What was the word that was blacked out? Read more >>

Jim Pickard

Like others we have been quick to point out signs of trouble in the “Big Society” project, such as Lord Wei cutting down his hours and Phillip Blond warning that the concept wasn’t compatible with spending cuts.

But here is some news to suggest that community action isn’t dead and buried: a quarter of a million people have volunteered to help with the 2012 Olympics. You see, we aren’t cynical all the time. Read more >>

Jim Pickard

The coalition’s flagship plan to boost jobs outside the prosperous south-east of England has been a failure so far, our political editor George Parker reveals this morning.

Chancellor George Osborne believed that his plan - a national insurance holiday for new small companies – would stimulate economic growth; but early applications have fallen far short of official expectations. Read more >>