Picture the scene…David and Samantha Cameron sitting up in bed with little Cleggers curled up at their feet…the sound of whale music playing in the background to facilitate a good nights’ sleep…
“It’s no good Sam…” your best Enid Blyton, Famous 5 (ask your parents) voice would be good here, “…I’ve simply looked everywhere, but I simply can’t find the Big Society…”
No reply from Sam. Cleggers gently whimpers as if lost in a nightmare from which he hopes to wake up.
“By Jove, I’ve got it!!!” David punches the air, “I’ll get someone else to look for it…and if they can’t find it…well then, it’s their fault…I’ll fine them if they don’t try…”
Sam continues to smile benignly –
Cleggers is off chasing dreamy rabbits…
I found the Big Society a couple of weeks ago.
The problem with Mr. Cameron is that he doesn’t know where to look. He doesn’t know anyone like you and, God forbid, he doesn’t know anyone like me.He doesn’t even know what he’s looking for…I didn’t know what I was looking for until there it was staring me in the face.
I’d just bought some petrol at a garage in Edinburgh – in Blackhall opposite Sainsburys’ if you must know – and I went into the little shop to pay.
Behind the counter was a 20 something year-old Asian guy, probably Indian, and he met me with the warmest smile I’d seen in years. So generous was his greeting that I looked behind me to see if one of his friends or family was there.
No, he was greeting me.
Initially slightly embarrassed, soon I felt like the king of the world. I paid and walked back to the car.
Halfway there though, I stopped.
I went back into the shop and thanked this lovely man for what he’d given me. That warm, fuzzy Big Society feeling.
So, where is that big society? It’s in him (go and see him, I think he’s got some to spare), it’s in me and it’s in you.
It’s not for some poor academics to spend years defining and measuring.
Walk a mile folks