David Cameron has tried but not yet succeeded in articulating his vision for the “Big Society,” and so has not captured the popular imagination. His speeches to date have been broad brush and lacked symmetry and mutual benefit to our increasingly fragmented communities. I though, am here to help.
There is an organisation called Rock Corps which offers young people tickets to rock concerts if they volunteer and give at least four hours to a local community project. This strikes me as a good idea.
Taking this concept further, we could offer young people, (actually, we could offer it to citizens of any age), a “Community Credit,” for a unit of work, say of 6 hours. Credits could then be exchanged for education benefits. For example, 100 credits might have a value equal to a half per cent reduction in student loan interest or a free Open University course. Those not pursuing further education might benefit in other ways with things like reduced public transport costs.
We have a rapidly ageing society and a youth which is being denied many of the benefits that the last two generations took for granted and who are feeling increasingly disenfranchised. If Mr Cameron is to muster young people in large numbers for his Big Society project, and begin to reconnect our society, he must apply more creativity to his rhetoric which has some resonance with individuals on the ground.
The Crumble Community are an original and forward thinking bunch and nowhere was this more evident than over the second bottle of claret with the pre match lunch on Saturday. In a thoughtful contribution to the Community Credit concept one of our brave boys came up with a debit idea.
That is, citizens can both earn credits but be penalised with debits. For example, instead of receiving three penalty points for speeding, individuals might also receive a debit of five CC's meaning they would have to work in their community for 30 hours to pay it off, or use the CC's they have already earned to pay.
At this rate we'll have the world sorted out by Friday.