Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Loss of community spirit?

This survey was conducted by ICM and commissioned by Community Service Volunteers (CSV) for Make a Difference Day. They highlight certain findings which they believe could be in part addressed through volunteering in general and through Make a Difference day in particular.

I am not sure that I entirely agree with the headline in the Guardian piece which exclaims "Report reveals loss of community spirit" I think that this can be read in a more positive light in that people are concerned about these issues. It seems to me that it is not good that there is dwindling support for young people or a lack of dignity for the elderly but it is positive that "40% of the population say they are concerned about dwindling support and guidance for young people growing up and 25% say they are concerned about older people losing their dignity."

This survey certainly provides some useful hooks for Liberal Democrat policies.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

In my experience the biggest problems with community activity are time (there's not enough of it) but mostly government.
I'm involved in a local community association and all we get from local government is obstruction (sadly its a Labour/LibDem coalition so its hard to see the LibDems helping).
It seems local government is happy to have community initiatives if they have a hand in it and can control it, but if you wish to do something outside officially sanctioned activities obstructionism is the name of the game (until you make a success of it when the politicians try to claim the success as their own). This has happened with several community projects I know of.

LibDems should be supporting community efforts, but we should campaign for independence from government for such initiatives. Government, local or national, cannot know better than the people trying to organise such things what is needed.

The other problem is we're seeing the fruition of the post-war welfarism. People were encouraged to let the state do everything and to abdicate personal responsibility. We are now discovering the obvious: That the state cannot provide everything, the state cannot afford to do everything and the state does not know what is best for individuals.
The welfare state may have been thought of as enabling (and it could still be) but it creates dependency...