I went to a Big Society Network Open Night event ('David Cameron's Big Society plans slammed by national press', prweek.com/uk, 22 July) and was pretty amazed that, for a new concept, such a range of jargon had developed around the Big Society ... 'Using the channel process to help empower dialogue', 'crowd funding', 'convening communities' and even 'using an organic metaphor' were some of my favourites. I know what they all mean, but will your average person? No. For the Big Society to succeed, we need to engage people who are not already volunteering - and they will be turned off by how the Big Society is being expressed.
Appoint a Big Society minister to lead the way
Most charities are effective when they operate at grassroots level because they understand the people and the problem. If David Cameron wants the Big Society concept to be understood, let alone work, then he needs to activate local people at local level, or delegate this responsibility. If it's so important to the future fabric of our culture, then why don't we have a Big Society minister? From a PR perspective, the concept was introduced far too late in the election campaign and the Tories didn't allow the time needed to communicate the depth and breadth of their ideas. But before there can be PR, there needs to be a fully developed proposition.
Cameron idea morphed from old Tory doctrine
The Big Society mutated in the media from the old Tory doctrine of rights and responsibilities. This was political opportunism, after the public realised 'Vote For Change' was working. It certainly was not a big part of Cameron's speeches at Question Time, the blog or other places.