I am not Old Holborn.
When David Cameron started spouting off about the Big Society, he was belittled and laughed at, it was after all, a really cheesy idea; “Let's all muck in together for the betterment of this country”. I was one of those people who thought he was being a deluded fool. There was no possible way people from differing sides of the political spectrum could put their tribalism aside and try to work together to make things better, especially the way he wanted us to do.
Those of us who have no political affiliation thought he was trying to create one of those “happily ever after” Hollywood films where we all get the girl/man of our dreams, are rich beyond our wildest expectations and own a house with a white picket fence in a crime free idyllic neighbourhood. He was in fact trying to sell us something which was never his to sell in the first place. Like all governments tend to do.
He was trying to sell us our freedom, when in fact we already have it, it's just been MIA for a very long time. We CAN have anything we ever wanted and we certainly do not have to rely on government to help us achieve it. We just need to find our voices and more importantly find the courage within ourselves to find that freedom. It's not easy, and I have by no means found my freedom 100% but I'm getting there. Slowly.
Over the last few months I've been taking on the London Borough of Bexley and I've written about my exploits here once or twice. In that time my opinions on the “Big Society” or at least a version thereof have changed somewhat. When I first started making a nuisance of myself I was doing it on my own, and while not failing miserably I wasn't exactly having any sort of sterling success. Over the first few weeks I discovered and met up with Malcolm Knight, an elderly gent who had been blogging about Bexley Council for a long while. I've plugged his site here before, the name of which is Bexley is Bonkers.
Now Malcolm doesn't work alone, there's actually a group of people who work together, they have meetings, they go to the pub, talk strategy, and make any arrangements they need to. They're affectionately known as the Bonkers Crew. They're a very unique bunch, and it's thanks to them that I started thinking about an alternate “Big Society”. You see the the members of the Bonkers Crew come from all sides of the political spectrum, the group consists of Conservatives, Labourites, Lib Dems and there's even a bloke from the BNP who all contribute towards a common cause.
That shocked me, a lot. No way in a million years would I have thought that members of very tribal political parties could come together and fight government, albeit local government, and I certainly didn't expect them to be as mischievous as they are. Although not a member of the Bonkers Crew, I always try and help them out when I can with information, so you could throw an "Anarcho-Libertarian" into the mix too. All working together to fight the “other” Big Society – government.
I've included a Youtube video at the top of this post, while it is Bexley related, I put it up there for a reason. Firstly, the NoToMob crew do a stirling job, and secondly they embrace their anonymity by wearing the same type of masks as our host. More importantly, I wanted to demonstrate how people from differing backgrounds and people with different political beliefs (Yes I'm sure even Lib Dems ride motorbikes) working together can achieve something. Something good, something that screams to the government “Fuck you in the eye, we're doing it our way!”
A well known blogger once said to me:” It's not who's going to let you, it's who's going to stop you” and that's exactly right. If you stop worrying about getting permission to do things then doing things becomes a hell of a lot easier to do. Within, or outside of the law. If it's right, just and well intentioned you can never be wrong.
With that in mind, this summer I'm trying to arrange an “Unelection Day” in Bexley, where each and every single one of you is cordially invited to attend and collectively stick two fingers up at government and help the residents of Bexley take control back from the local council. The plan is to get people to withdraw their consent for the local council to govern them locally and to facilitate the non-payment of council tax. It really is time to start building that “Alternate Big Society” the first two steps of which are to withdraw consent and then to:
STARVE THE BEAST
It's time to start doing things our way. Who knows it might catch on!