Public Affairs: Soap Box - Kathrine Bancroft, associate director, PLMR

It has been a difficult couple of weeks for the Big Society. Steve Hilton's brainchild has been under attack from all sides, from Big Society 'tsar' Lord Wei announcing he was scaling back his unpaid commitments because they were incompatible with having a life, to Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, who is stepping down as executive director of the volunteering charity CSV, saying the cuts are destroying volunteering.

Not that this is a new phenomenon. Since its inception, the Big Society has raised more than its fair share of quizzical looks. But recent interventions have upped the number of slings and arrows that the Big Society has had to suffer and will be causing a few jitters in the corridors of power.

Where once it had to withstand a barrage of theoretical dissing, its substance is now being challenged.

And by tying it so explicitly to that most dreaded of words - cuts - the Big Society's detractors are really hitting the Government where it hurts.

Not that this will or can alter the course: too much has been invested in it, and there's too much riding on it as the coalition's good news story for it to be packed off to the policy graveyard. So the coalition will follow Winston Churchill's motto to KBO - Keep Buggering On, that is. It is the only thing the coalition can do.

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