David Cameron faced a binary decision at the back end of last week over the Big Society. Did he throw in the towel over a concept which is being met with rising suspicion and hostility? Or does he go out to bat for the idea, putting his own credibility on the line?
It’s an interesting insight into Cameron’s character that he hasn’t dumped the slogan at the first wave of trouble but has instead decided to stay the course. He will today make a speech defining his own political philosophy as the Big Society – which effectively lashes him to the mast. We may not know for some time whether this is a great idea or an ill-conceived error.
In Monday’s speech Cameron will say he won’t be put off by a few bad headlines. (Ed Miliband joined the fray on Sunday, calling BS a “failure” and a return to the Thatcherite policies of the 1980s.) Instead he will say it is his “mission in politics“:
“The Big Society is how we’ll fix our broken society, how we’ll strengthen families, how we’ll bring communities together.”