The tragedy of Labour’s attacks on the Big Society

Big Society, not Big GovernmentYesterday at Cabinet Office Questions, first up was a Labour attack on the Big Society. It can found here .

I asked a supplementary:

Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): Our country once enjoyed a rich and vibrant tapestry of organisations between charity and the state, such as co-operatives, friendly societies and other mutuals. Does the Minister share my dismay that the left has abandoned its own traditions?

Mr Hurd: Those are not of course the only traditions that the left has abandoned over the years; it is very hard to see what is left. I am very proud that Government Members are leading the work to encourage more mutualisation, particularly in relation to encouraging people to spin out the services they currently offer inside the public sector, and to offer them and improve them as public sector mutuals.

It is bitterly disappointing that so many Labour members can see nothing but either charity or the state, forgetting that the old, old Left believed in the dignity of voluntary association for mutual benefit. I hold out the hope that “Blue Labour” might one day reinvigorate that tradition so we can have a new centre ground of British politics much more in the public interest.

In the meantime, the Conservative Party will have to continue alone leading this transition to a new, more relational and successful way of delivering public services.

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