The Big Society

Local cuts are a council of despair

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One way in which the coalition government is attempting to deflect anger about its austerity measures is to cut funding to local councils - meaning that the councils themselves are seen as inflicting the pain when libraries, youth centres and sports facilities close.

What makes this a win-win situation for the Tories is that Labour councils with largely working class residents will suffer the most. The poorer the population in a local council area, the less income it will accrue from council tax and other local income, leading the councils to depend on central government subsidy to provide basic services. Yet these are the very councils which have the greatest need for services.

Co-opting ideologies?

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Tory leader David Cameron has been to Manchester to launch a Conservative cooperative movement.

It's a fair bet that Mr Cameron did not learn a great deal about British labour history while he was at Eton - or since - but in his Manchester speech he did recognise that the cooperative movement in Britain has been something associated with the left.

Indeed the political expression of the movement, the Cooperative Party, is linked with the Labour Party, although Cameron didn't quite get around to mentioning that.

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