Dear Prime Minister,
I write to inform you that I will no longer be attending your ‘Big Society.’
I saw your various adverts for this event and felt eager to participate in the experience. It sounded wholesome and convivial, like a hearty meal at a family reunion. So, I signed up, my x at the ballot box sealing my fate like a kiss on a maiden aunt’s cheek.
I understood from the outset that pennies are tight. However, I take the view that poverty is no obstacle to a good gathering, providing everyone’s willing to pull their weight. Indeed, on this basis we threw a spectacular bash for Granny Gill’s 80th. It is a shame you couldn’t have been there. It went with a real bang, especially after Uncle Bert poured scotch into the speakers and fell over the dog. Or, did he pour scotch into the dog and fall over the speakers? It’s a bit hazy now on account of the punch. Either way, it was only possible because everyone did their bit.
Likewise, the attraction of your own event was the chance to participate. We are all in this together, you said, which on the face of it sounds quite fun. There are several things I would like to get ‘in together.’ Some I probably shouldn’t mention publically, for example, getting in the bath with the gas man is one. But, there are others, too, which your Big Society event sounded perfect for. We are all in this together: to say these words encourages warmth in the soul. I imagine arms linked in cheerful camaraderie and the restoration of our social spirit.
I certainly wish someone would give restorative spirit to my landlord. It might encourage him to fix the black mould on my walls and damp in my electrics. Instead, he keeps putting up my rent. No matter, we are all in this together. And, of course you have domestic budget worries of your own. But, if the boiler ever blew at number 10, we’d all chip in. You wouldn’t even have to ask.
Is anyone in your Big Society good at plastering? I’ve got a crack in my ceiling so large I can see the loft rats looking at me when I go to sleep. I’ve had strange dreams about men with little beady eyes and scrabbling claws. This reminds me, my bank manager called to say my pension scheme went bust, so you may like to check if your own fund is safe.
But, back to my reason for writing. We are all in this together, you said, and then held an astonishing 5 billion quid extravaganza for your Vodaphone mates. I waited for my invite and instead you sent a bill.
Me? My door is open: any time you like; I’ll even save you my last packet of instant saver soup. The hardest part is I thought you felt the same. But it’s getting colder, the nights are drawing in, and the rats are looking hungrier. I begin to wonder what kind of get-together this really is, for I have to tell you I’ve been to funerals more cheerful than this.
So, I’m writing to tell you that I will not be attending your ‘Big Society’ event.
Whilst it sounded wholesome and convivial, like a hearty meal at a family reunion, I now see that my place is not at the table but on the platter. We are all in this together, you said, but what I thought was warmth to the soul was only heat from the oven.
Yours sincerely, Disgruntled Citizen