I see the Coalition as the first step in restoring the dignity and beauty of the voluntary sector. That can only happen when we re-assert our right, our historical right, to stick two fingers up to the state and go our own way.
Jon Taylor says goodbye to the Coalition and encourages us in our dissenting ways.
You will have gathered that I am becoming less and less involved in the Coalition. I am gradually withdrawing from voluntary sector work which I have been involved in since 1962 and that’s a very long time. It is not that I have lost interest in the issues – I think the opening paragraphs of the Coalition Newsletter No.11 could not be more relevant.
Back in the 1993-1995 period, when Care in the Community, with its vicious programme of out-sourcing and contracts was coming on stream, many of us in Manchester – I was Chair of VAM (Manchester CVS) at the time, as well as Director of Age Concern Manchester – were deeply worried. The City Council itself, fairly left wing as it was then, tried to minimise the pain but nothing was going to stop that steamroller and of course Thatcher put considerable pressure on the Council for its refusal at the time to bend the knee to her and to Whitehall.
The view many of us came to then was that in 20 or so years time, we would have to re-invent ourselves under another banner – and that is exactly what the Coalition is doing and why I was attracted to it in the first place. Since then of course we have been swamped and are nearly drowning.
You might wonder given all this why I am withdrawing from it all. It has to do with interests and unfulfilled ambitions from my early years that I now need to return to and not with any disillusion with the potential of the voluntary sector to re-invent itself. I am 74. If I do not set out on this last path now I am afraid I never will and that is not a good feeling.
I do believe very strongly in what you are doing. I see the Coalition as the first step in restoring the dignity and beauty of the voluntary sector. That can only happen when we re-assert our right, our historical right, to stick two fingers up to the state and go our own way.
I will continue to be a subscriber to the Newsletter. I value very much what it has to say and want to follow things, even if from the outside at the moment.
I look forward to reading serious comment on the Coalition in the press in due course – perhaps they will wake up to what we as citizens of the republic of Britain have nearly lost.
With the warmest of regards and best wishes