I think we’re onto a really big idea, a really exciting future for our country.
PM David Cameron
On the one hand we have the dreadful, Roland Emmerich techno endtimer message of Hollywood’s 2012, in which atavistic zillionaires receive a secret, final text message instructing them to head to an Ark, before the End of the World.
And on the other, we have Big Society, which we can read simultaneously as the British State winding up its affairs, and as a genuinely Good Idea. We can read it as macro-spin papering over the dismantling of the NHS, and soon, no doubt, the Post Office. And we can read it as a shout to healthy lifestyle, community involvement, local management of resources and all the other good things we know society should have.
What Big Society will be playing down is the simple fact that there will be no money. By the time we are cut loose and told to run our own hospitals and police forces, money, by and large, will have vanished into the pockets of those who can afford to opt out of Big Society and get things done the old way.
We may have the Last Laugh, though I am not sure it will be the longest or loudest. An ironic snort, as we remember the Cree Prophecy: “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.”
Who wants to be riding tsunamis in a steel ark full of politicians and oligarchs anyway?