Barlow's Beef: Do you recall The Big Society?


Do you recall The Big Society; education, education, education; we are all in this together and the catastrophic Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Are we now living in Slogan Land where box ticking, political spin and meaningless phrases are more important than content?

Remember Brown-Field-First what did that actually mean? Neighbourhood Plan anyone seen any positive results from this handy little slogan?

I thought some of President Trump's policies were bonkers but at least everyone understood what he was saying. Voters knew he was planning to build the biggest wall outside China. He didn't call it a strategic diversity inhibiter. He called it a wall. Everyone knew what to expect.

Now try this... "HS2 will contribute to a quality of place which is second to none."

Anyone got any idea?

How about... "We seek to improve the prosperity, life chances and wellbeing of our existing and future communities."

Does anyone actually talk like this?

"Good morning, Elsie, how are your life chances today?"

"I'm having trouble with my innovative joint growth strategy."

"Stick with it and it you will become a national exemplar of strategy-led regeneration."

"Me, Elsie Drinkwater, a Northern Powerhouse? Fancy that."

It's just puffed up nonsense to feed the ego of management.

Tesco don't spend millions on ambitious plan-led, place-based change, capitalising on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

They spend it on: Every little helps.

While commercial organisations strive for simplicity politicians strive for esoteric rhetoric to satisfy their own egos. It does not matter that no one outside their circle understands their message. It makes them feel important and that's what counts (to them).

The mighty Apple Corporation had 'think different' as their corporate objective.

They did not have: assessing and mitigating immediate impacts, and developing a high-level overview to help frame the conversation.

If government (and councils) want to cut costs and improve performance they should start by talking simple English that their stakeholders (voters) understand and not the childish gobbledygook they currently employ.

As my old teacher would have said: "It's not big and it's not clever."

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlows Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Pete Taylor
Wednesday 22nd February 2017 at 8:26 am
Baffling, isn't it? My particular favourite is "Engine of the North" which, on investigation, turns out to be one of those "companies" formed by CEC to flog off land to Developers! It seems to be led by a Councillor who's family owns one of the largest development companies around.
All the "Directors" of this multitude of CEC companies seem to be able to claim up to about £9 grand per year (per "Directorship") to do what was previously done as part of their Council work.