The PM's philosophical u-turn on the 'Big Society'

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron makes a speech on the Big Society
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron makes a speech on the Big Society Photo: Reuters/Lewis Whyld/Pool

PMQs was lively today, but not particularly informative (so no change there, then). But Ed Miliband did have one interesting line of attack that he didn't develop far.

You may recall that, in opposition, David Cameron was very big on the 'Big Society.' Partly this was about having something touchy feely to talk about beyond his mantra on reducing the deficit.

But there was more to it than that. He and his closest advisers believed strongly that big government was pretty useless and that very many services in society were better and more efficiently delivered by charities.

By inference then (and sometimes explicitly), he was more than happy for rich people to give their money to charity rather than the government, which was inclined to waste it.

Now he's in government, he's decided that actually ministers aren't so incompetent after all and that rich people should give their money to him instead. Fancy that!

We're all for rich people paying their taxes. But this is a rather uncomfortable philosophical u- turn.

Perhaps we should take a wager on the next time the words 'Big Society' pass his lips…