Paul Cotterill has drawn the following quote to my attention:
‘As a political term,community - like freedom, equality and democracy - tends to mean what politicians want it to mean. ‘The community’ is invoked like a muse, to provide political cover, to imply democratic legitimacy, and to sweeten the pill….For socialists, the lack of a clear meaning for the term community is more than semantic. The confusion creates a barrier to devising policies which are in line with our values.’
Very nicely put, but you might be suprised by whom. ……big drum roll……..
Yes,it’s Hazel Blears (2003) Communities in Control: Public services and local socialism (London; Fabian Society).
So why has she and her Department come out with such unadulterated rubbish about "community cohesion" since this quote was written? As she says the terms provides political cover. The cover provided by the term is impossible for New Labour to resist as it allows them to get away with facile discussions that avoid any real challenge at the level of class or inequality. New Labour has become little more than the Mandelson view (which is little different from Thatcherism) that the political and other elites getting filthy rich at the top is a good thing and that any attempt to rein in their wealth is a threat to "enterprise" and thus to us all. This is rubbish as the recent book Spirit Level shows brilliantly.
I'm with Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai (Observer 30/5/09) on this one:
"the elites have become predators, self-serving and only turning to people when they need them. We can never all be equal, but we can ensure that we do not allow excessive poverty or wealth. Inequality breeds insecurity"