Monday, July 19, 2010

Gordon Cameron's Big Social Investment Society Bank

So David Cameron is relaunching the Big Society™ today, which may yet become the 21st Century equivalent of Tony Blair's Third Way™ - that being a bland, pointless and utterly vaccuous phrase. The Big Society™ has certainly started off well in mimicing the world brougt to us by Tony Blair.

For a start, it's been announced and re-announced three times now, and, even better, one of the core announcements today on using unclaimed assets in dormant bank accounts for community porject has been announced not once, not twice but at least three times before by the last Government, and guess what, the Tories were against it when it was first announced in 2005, well... sort of.

So, back in 2005, Gordon Brown, as the then Chancellor, said he was going to use money in dormant bank accounts and give it to community projects. The Tories attacked it, quite rightly, on the issue of whether it was even legal to seize the funds from people's dormant bank accounts.

This was, in fact, a Labour party 2005 manifesto commitment which stated “We will work with the financial service industry to reunite assets or channel them into the community." Oh yes, the Tories didn't seem to think there was a legal issue at that election either as they promised to "use the unclaimed assets of banks and other financial institutions to replenish the pension funds of people who lose out when a scheme fails."

Gordon Brown returned to the subject in 2006, again as Chancellor, in his budget pledging to damn well take the money. A few months later we had a consultation paper from the Commission on Unclaimed Assets (headed by Grodon's mate Ronnie Cohen) which proposed a “Social Investment Bank”, then Brown announced in his Pre-Budget Report that a consultation paper would be released on the idea.

Another year later, Gordon Brown announced in his Budget... wait for it... the release of a consultation paper on the idea. Finally, by November 2008, we had Royal Assent of the Legalised Theft from Bank Accounts Bill The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill.

And now, we reach today, 2010, and we have, yes that's right, the proposals for a "Big Society Bank" which is, in no way whatsoever the same thing as a “Social Investment Bank”, which will use money from dormant bank accounts to fund community projects.

As New Labour repackaged the Youth Training Scheme and called it the New Deal, so the Tories have repackaged something the last Government did and given it a new name.

Plus ça change. New Politics. Lalalalalalala. Can you pass me a sick bucket and a razor please?

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