The Big Society – Nothing about us, without us, is for us

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2011 National Delegate Conference
1 March 2011

Conference calls on the National Executive Committee to build on its current campaign to expose, challenge and defeat Cameron’s twisted concept of the Big Society.

The slogan “Nothing about us, without us, is for us” has been used by marginalised groups across the world who are excluded from making decisions which affect their daily lives. Most recently it has been used to stunning effect by the displaced people of post Katrina New Orleans to describe their abandonment by federal and state government.

This slogan applied to Cameron’s Big Society now lays bare the hollow truth. Nothing in the Cameron concept is about creating a fair, just and equal society built on inclusion and participation. It was neither developed by the people, nor designed to make their lives better. The confidence trick was to publicly present it in that way.

In reality it is a cynical programme designed to remove democratic accountability, exclude and marginalise whole sections of society, and sell off public services to anyone wishing to make a profit or prop up a balance sheet. The intention is that those services which survive decommissioning will be operated with volunteers or exploited workers without rights.

To make this happen Cameron and his cabinet of millionaires are withdrawing the entitlement of the people to decent public services and systematically removing employment rights, trade union rights, attacking collective agreements, and attempting to dismantle equality and human rights protections.

Many of those who had fallen for this confidence trick are now realising the nature and extent of the attack on their services and their democratic rights. Many millions more need to know the truth. Through this motion UNISON commits to exposing the myth and promoting the genuine alternative. We will start with our members, their families and communities and will confront the think-tanks and those sections of the media which have been willing allies in conning the people and denigrating public services and public servants.