Monday 14 February 2011

Not the relaunch! part one.....

I pity the poor people of Humberside who awoke to the grumpy tones of Bubb explaining his view of Big Society and denouncing cuts. And as I had to get up at 5.30 to do this I was grumpy. No breakfast and a cup of not delightful BBC coffee. And it was a marathon media event. I moved onto Hereford and Worcester, Three Counties Radio, Merseyside, Lincolnshire, Leeds, Manchester, Coventry, London, Tees, West Midlands and Nottingham. Goodness. I should have been sponsored. And all this on top of a late evening at the BBC doing a pre-record for Breakfast News.

I sit in a tiny studio on Millbank, with a rather lovely view out over the Thames. I do my Blog in between my interviews. I have a somewhat bizarre experience of talking about BigSoc and then swing my jowly visage pop up in front of me on Breakfast News. Closely followed by Nick Hurd on the sofa flirting with the attractive BBC presenter (no Nick, that's not what we mean by the Big Society!).

On one interview I'm described as a fan of BS. I was a bit taken aback, but in a sense I guess we are in the sense that this is supposed to represent a power shift to citizens and communities. The vision being outlined by DC later sees a much bigger role for the third sector in delivering public services. The establishment of the BS Bank to loan fund this expansion is crucial. The failure of the Government to properly define the vision and the inept attempts by various of the supporters of the concept has damaged the message so when there are cuts it is not surprising that charities get angry about cuts.

But in the speech by DC we move away from some of the romantic nonsense about us all doing more and stepping up we get to the nitty-gritty practicality of our work in communities. An understanding that volunteers need organising and training. They need support. So that means money. The move to a bigger role in public services is something I have been advocating for a decade. So good to hear the Prime Minister talking about a massive expansion of the role the third sector plays in delivering public services. This is grounded. Let's have more of it.

As the marathon ends I emerge into the sunny morning to head to the PM speech I feel a bit punch drunk! I am certainly earning my salary (Chair please note for upcoming appraisal)!

But this isn't just an exercise in media vanity. It's a superb opportunity to get a message across about cuts in our funding. We are angry at cuts. Rightly so. And if I can hammer home the point in every interview I do then that is good. And frankly it has been the relentless pounding by ACEVO on cuts that has helped shift opinion and partly explains the not relaunch this morning by David Cameron.

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