There is a lot of confusion about what ‘big society’ really means either in theory or in practice, but I don’t think any of us really expected it to be this.Â Â Westminster council are in consultation over a bylaw to essentially make it illegal to be homeless or to help anybody who is homeless with food or bedding.
Why didn’t we think of that?Â Want to end homelessness?Â Just make it illegal!Â Why stop there – why not make it illegal to be poor or sick or old or anoy of the other conditions that make a place like Westminster so untidy and expensive to run?
The thing is, regardless of the confusion about it, most people kind of assumed that projects like the soup kitchens were the sort of thing that would come under the umbrella of big society, even though they have been going for a long time.
Even if there is any merit at all in the idea that providing help for the homeless just discourages them from going out and getting a mortgage on a starter home (which is surely no less feasible than getting council place in Westminster these days since Shirley Porter’s regime of social cleansing) and this is all being done with the best motives, don’t they have any idea how bad it looks?
With local elections coming up in a few months this story is a real gift to the Labour party.