Tim Loughton delivers the Edith Kahn Memorial Lecture. The Children’s Secretary complains that there seems to be “a target quota system operating to see how many times Big Society can be inserted into the dialogue”. He argues that people have been better at talking about it than understanding it. Loughton argues that the Big Society is about the state “reinforcing and supporting communities rather than supplanting them”. That sounds about right to us.
Edinburgh council budget cuts consultation. Yesterday’s violence over student fees was outrageous. It must be said, however, that the decision to increase fees was preceded by no debate about the issue. Both parties were happy to leave it to Lord Browne and avoid getting bogged down in this politically tricky issue. This initiative in Edinburgh suggests that people are more likely to be pragmatic if they’ve been consulted properly. In response to a survey of residents on cuts, 68 per cent of residents said they would pay more council tax, 51% would support fortnightly bin collections and 54% backed the privatisation of services.
Discovering co-location communities. Fascinating bit of arch-geekery. This clever bit of programming allows you to find out what people are saying on Twitter in an area of your choice. Could be a brilliant (or terrifying) tool for councillors to help them stay in touch with their ward. We’ll be having a dig into this.