David Burbage’s weblog

Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
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Archive for the ‘Big Society’ Category

The growing power of the State

Posted by davidburbage on January 25, 2011

 My colleague Cllr Walters pointed out to me today, that in the 19th Century (he’s not that old, note) the only interaction that the ordinary citizen would have with the State would be if they used the post office.

 No police, no NHS, no income tax, no road tax, no VAT, no benefits, no European Directives, no petrol tax (no cars!), no landfill tax, no insurance tax, no national insurance, no state pension. . . . . the list goes on no doubt to include pretty much every modern day quango – and most taxes . . . .

I am told that the equivalent of the Ministry of Defence had an employ of 13 people that raised the army that fought the Napoleonic wars. Now, the  MOD employs 80,000, rivalling the size of the army itself.

 And yet, amazingly, with that dearth of interaction, tax and government between the citizen and their country, Britain had conquered a large part of the world.

I am not advocating a return to such a minimalist government, or an empire, but the point is that it is worth noting what UK plc achieved without big government.

We are proud to be a Big Society vanguard council because the principles that underpin the strength of communities are the same that built the strong Britain of old. The bureaucracy of modern government stifles innovation and independence to a significant degree, and the commitment to localism and the independence of communities is to be welcomed, and championed.


Posted in Big Society | 3 Comments »

Big Society Conference

Posted by davidburbage on September 18, 2010

Attended and helped facilitate a BigSoc conference yesterday with about 50 Conservative Councillors.

(Lord) Nat Wei was there and gave an introductory talk, and then we explored how local authorities can best move to implement the ideas and thinking behind the concept.

Some notable themes

– top down policies can produce local problems that then can’t be solved locally because the rules are national and probably legislative  (See Windsor Fire Station, blog entries passim . . . )

– voluntary organisations are undervalued by council workers who happen to do the same job

– faith organisations can be ignored as local authorities get scared about religious favoritism

– trying to ‘over-organise’ volunteers can be counter-productive as they simply stop turning up and helping

– health and safety, and the litigious culture of modern UK stops good things happening due to risk-averse attitudes

– so much good stuff goes on which isn’t recognised, celebrated or marketed to others

Posted in Big Society, Council | Leave a Comment »