Fourth time lucky? Cameron tries to re-launch the 'big society'... again

Cameron: 'These are the things I'm most passionate about in public life'
Cameron: 'These are the things I'm most passionate about in public life'

By staff

David Cameron has once again tried to reinvigorate his 'big society' agenda, with a speech arguing it can serve as the driving force of the centre-right.

The speech is the fourth time the prime minister has tried to salvage his policy agenda, amid continued bemusement in Whitehall at the obsession with an idea which has seemingly failed to resonate with the public.

"Too many people think. that all we care about is balancing the books," Mr Cameron said.

"So today, I want to address a question that I know real people are asking: is this government about anything other than cuts?

David Cameron speech in full

"The answer is yes. We must build a bigger, stronger society.

"These are the things I'm most passionate about in public life. This is what is in my heart."

Many Conservative candidates grew irritated with central office's demands that they address the 'big society' at the general election rather than traditional issues of immigration and the economy.

That scepticism continues at Cabinet level, with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude saying: "We may have failed to articulate it clearly, and we'll carry on explaining it as best we can," he said.

"I think people do understand what is meant when we explain it, and think that it's all a good idea. I haven't heard anyone say, 'Actually, these things that you're talking about aren't the right kind of society for us to have'."

The prime minister announced plans for charity donations through cash machines and a scheme which will see Cabinet secretaries do one day's work experience per year.

The speech also contained details of specific free school, the NHS and elected police chiefs.


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.