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Item Title:

The Big Society- Jesse Norman


Books, Comics, Magazines



Item Condition: New
Current Time:17 Oct 17 15:50:37
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Item Specifics - Books ISBN : 9780956395207
Author : Jesse Norman
4.80 15307801 The Big Society http://medium.snazal.com/?9780956395207 http://large.snazal.com/?9780956395207 Jesse Norman 9780956395207 9780956395207 Media Books 8.30 The Big Society
Lot # 15307801
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Bookshop2000 (115|0)
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Item Location: Leicester
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Source Text: The Big Societyhttp://images.cqout.com/Books/9780956395207.jpghttp://large.snazal.com/?9780956395207Jesse Norman97809563952079780956395207Media > Books8.30The Big SocietyConfused by Cameron's vision for a new society? Here's the clearest explanation yet... "What's the big idea?" "Why can't politicians articulate one?" Nobody interested in politics can have failed to hear these laments. They are particularly discernible during election campaigns and following the death of demagogues. Conservatives tend to be suspicious of big ideas. They think that when ideas get too big, they become ideologies. Ideology is a way of thinking that aims at power, not truth, and the whole basis of conservatism is scepticism towards the possibility of true knowledge. Yet the Conservative-dominated coalition ruling Westminster does have a big idea. It is called the Big Society, and Jesse Norman has provided the best explanation we have yet had of it. The new Conservative MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire has worked in finance, academia and the third sector. He writes lucidly, has the ear of the Tory leadership, and during his time at Policy Exchange, Cameron's favourite think-tank, published several works whose ideas this book coheres. Its argument is clear and cogent: the state is too big and boisterous. It should be smaller and smarter. Growth in the power of our state has produced diminishing returns in the quality of public services, portrays citizens as passive recipients of centralised benefaction, and is unaffordable. It has taken place during the reign of homo economicus a flawed representation of the human being's economic preferences, which portrays him as rational and acting on the basis of perfect information, when actually he is neither. At the same time, political theory has been obsessed with the freedom of the individual and the function of the state, but said too little about what is in between: institutions. We need a theory of institutions. The Big Society aims to harness their power, whether large (school) or small (family), to boost fraternity. Norman calls on a central idea in the work of Michael Oakeshott, his conservative hero, to advance this theory. Oakeshott distinguished between two types of society: civil versus enterprise associations. The former is an association of citizens who are equal under the law but have no common purpose or plan; the latter is a project in which citizens are conscripted into a common, broad undertaking, usually aimed at world improvement. Oakeshott preferred the former. Norman's introduction of a third category is liable to be remembered as his great contribution to political thought. It is timely, astute and compassionate. For the Big Society, the "connected" society, we need a philic association, from the Greek philia, meaning "tie", "affection", "friendship" or "regard". This can be a vehicle for the human affections embodied by institutions. Unleashing those affections is the aim of the Big Society. This book is something else: the elucidation of a philosophical tendency. It doesn't so much go beyond left and right as reacquaint conservatism with a noble tradition of old Whiggery one that accommodates the best intentions and insights of the left. It coheres major recent academic advances, and is argued with urgency. Next time you hear someone caterwauling about the lack of big ideas in politics, refer them to this. --Amol Rajan; Independent 21 November 2010John Maynard Keynes spotted the problem even before it came about. In his new book on the big society, the philosophically inclined Tory MP Jesse Norman quotes an article the economist wrote in 1939: "Why cannot the leaders of the Labour party face the fact that they are not sectaries of an outworn creed, mumbling moss-grown, demi-semi Fabian Marxism, but the heirs of eternal Liberalism?" Heirs, perhaps but disinherited. There are few liberals in the Labour party these days. The task of thinking liberal thoughts has been left to the coalition. On Tuesday Nick Clegg will give the Hugo Young Memorial lecture at the Guardian premises, and try to persuade his audience that the government draws its strength from ideology, not opportunism. He will step away from government by measurement and defend the liberal idea of individual human advancement. He has even been reading Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies. Hayek next, perhaps. Much of the left will sneer at this: but if I was inside Labour I would worry that Britain's centre-right parties are making a better job of setting out an optimistic philosophy of government than statist conservatives on the left. They have fallen into a negative sulk: everything, Labour predicts, is about to get worse, which only makes sense as a strategy if you have something better to offer. Labour doesn't. The party has become uninteresting. The coalition is doing the thinking. Yes, the "big society" is waffly, unmarketable and disliked by many Tories. Norman's book won't persuade sceptics. But it is also a serious attempt to replace two misguided philosophies, one on the left and one on the right. Norman attacks Labour's state centralism. More interestingly, he also questions the liberal market economics which not long ago seemed a prerequisite of Tory thinking. He's trying to offer something original and he is not the only one in his party to do so. --Julian Glover Guardian 22 November 1010This rich discussion of the origins and possibilities of the Big Society is the book that many of us have been waiting for. The idea of a Big Society has received just about every possible reaction: there have been those who have enthusiastically embraced the idea of freeing up communities; there have been those who have instinctively railed against any suggestion that the State should budge over on the driving seat; and then there have been those who are instinctively wary of an unfamiliar idea. Jesse Norman, the book s author, uses a fantastic Ernie Bevan quote to describe the attitude of this last group - Open up that there Pandora s box, and who knows what Trojan horses won t jump out of it! With the debate around Big Society raging, the publication of this book could not be more timely . The book is for: those who are curious to learn more about Big Society; those who think they understand Big Society but are open-minded enough to test their own thoughts and assumptions; and also, I think, those who are unconvinced by the whole thing but are unsure as to what exactly it is they are unconvinced by. This book will satisfy each constituency but it s only fair to issue a health warning to the unconvinced: Reading this book may decisively erode your scepticism! Jesse Norman has been writing about the idea of a Big Society since long before the term became universally known. Those of you who have read his previous offerings, such as Compassionate Conservatism and Compassionate Economics, will know this. Among other pursuits and achievements, Mr. Norman is a former Executive Director of the think tank Policy Exchange and is the newly elected MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire. The book is rich in content and wide ranging in themes but I want to pick out just a few tasters to whet your appetite. Rigor Mortis Economics is a culprit Previous Governments acceptance of textbook economics, where humans are treated as average units, has eroded understanding of individuals and communities. This has led to ever more centralisation and micromanagement from Government, which has affected how we perceive our own role in life and made us unsure about what we can or should do and who we need permission from in order to do it. We know this isn t how things should be we know that there are things we do such as volunteering, which this text book approach does

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