Research into Tory slogans: it gets worse

The AHRC is now maintaining that they were NOT blackmailed into identifying The Big Society (a Tory campaign slogan) as a research priority, but that they decided on it all by themselves, with no government pressure. (I know something’s wrong in the world when I find myself deeply disappointed to find out that blackmail didn’t take place.)

It also emerges that they have produced documentation on this “research theme” which reads (and looks) like party political propaganda. For non-UK readers, the Big Society idea is that government should withdraw from funding essential services as far as possible and that the spirit of volunteerism should take its place. Think Bush Senior’s “1000 points of light” on steroids: volunteers should fill in for police, rubbish collectors, doctors. Of course– it goes almost without saying– they should take the place of services to families. What is the world envisioned by this? The AHRC document helpfully illustrates with a photo of 1950s housewives chatting over the fence.

There are calls for a boycott of the AHRC by those currently doing the work of reviewing applications, etc.

I feel ill.

(Thanks, L!)

11 thoughts on “Research into Tory slogans: it gets worse

  1. Moronic. Didn’t work here, don’t know why anyone in the UK is stupid enough to think it might work there.

  2. What a curious rant from the AHRC! I particularly like the final line:

    “If there is evidence to demonstrate these allegations (as distinct from relying on phrases like ‘the word is’) then it should be revealed. But there is no such evidence because it did not happen.”

  3. J-Bro – the AHRC evidently are!

    Basically ‘Big Society’ is a better slogan than ‘Small State’.

    But then Thatcher said there was no such thing as society only individuals and families. So ‘Big Society’ points to the ‘personal responsibility’ argument.

    Of course, if the wealthy in society are too busy to volunteer perhaps they could make donations…perhaps we could formalise that system by linking it to just how wealthy people are… and give elected people the job of making sure that the money gets to the right people, rather than leaving it to a hap-hazard approach where individuals find the most appealing cause to contribute to.

    Now, what could we call that system? And who could those elected people be?

  4. @HHT: excellent. Next up on the Tory / AHRC agenda: why Enlightenment rationalization of social structures leads to the Gulag! But what did you expect from those for whom the Road to Serfdom is a Little Red Book?

  5. > I feel ill.

    Of course you do. Dealing with the AHRC is *supposed* to make you throw up in your mouth a little.

  6. Mr Jender: No, it’s really not supposed to. You’re thinking of dealing with the Coalition government. There’s supposed to be a difference.

  7. Did you notice the other helpful illustrative picture? A whole bunch of white middle aged men doing politics (Ok – they had allowed in one woman. Well done!)

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