Sunday 24 October 2010

A call to arms?

I wonder if it was meant to be a call to arms? The following is entirely provoked by Lord Wei's blog entry Call for Reformers.

Before I start, let me make it entirely clear that I am not in the habit of according anyone any respect based on job titles, peerages or anything else. You talk sense, I like you. You talk utter crap, well I'll call you on it - but only if I know I know more on the subject.

Big society is a bit of an odd one for me. It's quite dear to my heart cos I'm a big hearted smart kid. Not so smart I could work at Nasa, but smart enough that I can and do pick up and understand a lot of things. I love the world I live in, but I intensely passionately believe it could be better. It could be so much better. That we could avoid situations like Baby P if people still spoke up when they saw something was wrong. That the RSPCA would get involved in less cases of animal abuse if we still bothered to pick up the phone when we heard something wrong. That if people spoke more, over garden fences and across streets, in the way that they used to (and still do in some far flung untouched areas of the country), then we would all live in a safer more hopeful future.

I am an idealist. I am a believer in what is right and what is wrong. I am a kind person. I choose to be that way, am not that way because a religion or a person tells me to be. I simply like to help. I love to solve problems. I want to fix. I see systems, and processes, and departments and attitudes which are wrong, which malfunction, which don't collaborate but which work in silos and I hate it.

I want to help change things. It's not ambition, it's not high hopes and aspirations, it's not glory or fame or money or recognition. It's the echo of a life my mother told me existed but which I never experienced. It's about the antithesis of isolation, of being let down by systems which were supposed to protect, of struggling to hold on by your fingertips.

If no one stands up and says 'this is wrong', if no one stands up and says 'I have an idea, why don't we ask that person over there how to fix it, but they're not right next to me, so why don't we build a network where two people, three people, ten people, ten hundred people can collaborate, speak, talk, explain, question, build' why then nothing will ever change and nothing will ever get done and we will never change, our society will never change.

Change is reform. Change is not always the answer. But the requirements of the world we live in are changing whether we like it or not - and it pains me to say it but it is outside of our control now. The genie has been let out of the bottle. In a country where religion has relinquished its control almost entirely of the indigineous population, what replaces it?

The choice to do good because you can. For no other reason. To contribute to building a framework where kindness is valued because snowballs gather people to them. Movements gather people to them. Know your audience, know where they live, where they talk, where they moan and where they dream, go to them, find them, pull them to you and then give them something - the something which points them in the direction to start building, give them something to work on, given them a question to start answering, give them hope and let them dream in freedom.

If you are going to issue a call to arms, please be ready for the answer. Please have a plan. Please know what you know and lay out your stall. We are legion and we are putting faith in you and we are answering your call. Now you have to prove you're worth the trust and the faith.


  1. Just watching the beta big society project in Eden i think I am getting a glimmer of the plan. Can you see how it is starting to empower the community? Several meetings this past week have taken place already, in small village halls, in pubs, in houses.
    I think they chose a good area to bung the beta...
    watch that space, because I think it is where govt are expecting the answers to your questions.
    great blog as ever hun.

  2. Great piece ... hold the leaders to their leadership, beyond their rhetoric