Today, “Dave” Cameron will launch his Big Society proposals:
David Cameron is to launch his “big society” drive to give more power to communities and is set to describe the idea as his “big passion”.
In a speech in Liverpool he is expected to promise to allow charities to consult civil servants and use dormant bank accounts to fund projects.
By allowing voluntary groups to help run services, he wants to transfer power from the state to individuals.
The Jamaat e Islami group that briefly controlled the LB Tower Hamlets have been ousted. Their chance of winning the Mayoral election are pretty low, now that their favoured candidate has been excluded from the shortlist.
However, during their brief sojourn in power, the far Right Islamist party provided a glimpse of the manner in which they will attempt to consolidate their power. Like Hamas and Hezbollah, whose strategy and politics they share, Jamaat e Islami have learnt to pose as a ‘welfare organisation’ and as a ‘community group’. They have shown themselves to be adept at setting up front organisations for the ‘culturally sensitive’ delivery of services to local residents: putting their ideologues in place, and providing them with funds and local prestige.
Although Jamaat e Islami have been beaten politically in London, the Big Society strategy will – if we’re not very careful – deliver them a whopping great big consolation prize.
Given that Islamist groups managed to make themselves the occasional beneficiary of the now-discontinued “Prevent” funding, it is certain to be a tough fight to ensure that the Big Society initiative is closed to them. Prevent staff were supposed to be looking out for extremist politics. Civil servants administering Big Society projects won’t necessarily spot Islamist groups who seek to become part of these third/public sector projects.
Don’t worry. We might not catch all of them, but we’ll be keeping a sharp look-out over the next few years.