Community

older women

Our culture excludes the old when they have so much to contribute

First published in The Observer on 9 November 2013. Parliament talks ceaselessly of “the next generation”. But, in Cumbria, where I’m an MP, voluntary activity and politics are generally driven by people over the age of 55. Every village seems to have a retired engineer attempting to build a community fibre-optic cable network and baffling the most […]

National Citizen Service

CITIZENS OF BRITAIN

Last weekend I met some charity volunteers in Alston. It was a warm, late summer day – none of the leaves yet falling – and the volunteers were heading cheerfully into the hills. Twenty other groups were setting off at the same moment: all from different points along a route that Alfred Wainwright first walked […]

changing the world from cumbria

Last Sunday I sat with six professors who were discussing how ‘to change the world.’ They included Central European dissident, a computer specialist, and a seventy-five year old French communist.  At times they seemed hardly conscious of each other, and the words they used were puzzling (the Frenchmen for example liked to talk about ‘the happiness of dissatisfaction’). But it […]

P1000452

In support of dairy farmers

Half a century of pain – with five dairy farms going out of business every week since the Second World War – has terminated in crisis. At least half of all dairy farmers are now being paid less than their cost of production, and will soon be driven – unless something changes – into bankruptcy. […]

Rorydebate1

Rory’s speech on the Big Society

Transcript I honour the hon. Member for Dagenham and Rainham (Jon Cruddas) for giving a good defence of many of the good elements of the big society, and a good warning on some of its dangers. Much of the debate, however, reminds me of sitting in a room with a group of philosophers looking at […]

rory_NTSkidstrees

THOMAS JEFFERSON ON THE BIG SOCIETY

  A very wise quote from Thomas Jefferson who would surely have approved of the Big Society… “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to […]

thoughts on the big society

I thought I’d share a couple of points I’ve been trying to make in correspondence with a constituent about the Big Society: thoughts welcome… Big Society projects are by their very nature local and varied. For that reason, they can only be fully assessed on the ground and in a particular place. A successful big […]

House of Commons Localism speech

Rory debates the Localism bill

Transcript This debate is an example of why changes such as those in the Bill are so difficult. All the arguments that Labour Members are making-all the “Yes, buts” we have just heard-show that we live in a strange world. Many Labour Members have said how much they support initiatives such as those in the […]

Gaudium

big society

Big Society vanguard put Whitehall on the spot to remove bureaucratic barriers   The community coalition in the Eden Valley Big Society ‘vanguard’ want to break down barriers and remove stifling regulation to change their local area – and have put civil servants on the spot in the process. At an event in Eden Valley […]

Community Action

the big society and local democracy

The Prime Minister has now said repeatedly that Big Society is his passion and that he wants it to be his most lasting positive legacy. Where a Prime-minster leads, an industry emerges: think-tanks ponder it; civil servants wish to legislate on it, columnists debate it, new Ministers are created to propagate it.  But what is […]