The Organisation "would provide a single source of advice and support, and help you with all your issues, an organisation which understood you, your family, and the place where you grew up; one that would stand by you for the long term; treat you like a human, not a number; and back you to build a different future for yourself."
On this blog, I have rarely, if ever, commented on wider political issues, whether small 'p' or capital 'p'. But this vision of "public services" makes me feel a chill.
The source of this distopian vision is an essay in a collection of essays from a group of Conservatives calling themselves Bright Blue. The essay in which it appears is entitled "Better, cheaper, more human - building progressive Conservative public services". It's author is Jonty Olliff-Cooper, Director of Policy and Strategy at A4E.
I do not, here, make any party political point. Whether "The Organisation" (my capitals) is a private company or the State itself, is not my point. Rather, as I read this, I wonder: what problem with Society is this an answer to? What would life be like if Olliff-Cooper's "Organisation" were considered a normal part of wider society? ("Trust me. My name's Jonty. I'm from The Organisation. I'm here to help you.")
My thanks to "Watching A4: Keeping an eye on a company whose business is Government contracts" for drawing attention to this essay and its author.
LATER: later in the evening I came across this which points to a different kind of society, a more hopefiul one, differently organised by people to achieve local public service ends: Towards Peer Production in Public Services - Cases from Finland.
Who is the author? This from the RSA website:
"Jonty began his career in the private sector as a strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, specialising in retail strategy. Since moving to public policy, Jonty has worked in a variety of strategy functions across Westminster and Whitehall, including at the Department for International Development, the Cabinet Office, ThinkPublic and as an adviser in the Conservative Party Policy Unit, where he led on technology, innovation and public service reform issues.
Prior to joining A4e, Jonty was head of the Progressive Conservatism Project at the think-tank Demos. Outside A4e, Jonty is an executive member of the Bright Blue political network and an associate at Demos, and sits on the steering group of the Big Society Network."