David Cameron's Big Idea

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0120120108

When David Cameron became the Conservative leader in 2005, he memorably declared "There is such a thing as society; it's just not the same as the state."

Steve Richards presents a three-part series telling the story behind that famous phrase, tracing David Cameron's vision of a reformed state and a "Big Society" from the early days of opposition to the reality of government.

The first programme explores the period from the beginning of Cameron's leadership in 2005 to the decision to place the Big Society at the heart of the 2010 general election campaign.

Through interviews with Cameron's friends and advisers, such as Danny Kruger, Ian Birrell and David Willetts, and with critics such as Polly Toynbee and Maurice Glasman, the programme shows how the idea was formed and how it was tested, even in the early days.

We go back to the discussions among excited young politicos at Policy Exchange and the dinner tables of Notting Hill. We recall key moments such as the presentation of the Big Society idea in 2009 and the decision to place that theme at the heart of the Conservative general election campaign the following year, a plan which was later heavily criticised.

We show how the idea was difficult to pin down and explore the different versions of the "Big Society" which emerged.

And we examine the impact of the financial crash, revealing the tensions which surfaced between David Cameron and George Osborne.

Producer: Leala Padmanabhan.

Steve Richards tells the story of David Cameron's quest to reform the state and society.

0220120115

When David Cameron became the Conservative leader in 2005, he memorably declared "There is such a thing as society; it's just not the same as the state".

Steve Richards, of "The Independent", presents a three-part series telling the story behind that famous phrase, tracing David Cameron's vision of a reformed state and a Big Society from the early days of opposition to the reality of government.

From the early days of his leadership campaign, David Cameron and his advisers were working on bold ideas which they said would reshape the state, decentralise power and strengthen society. Steve talks to members of Cameron's inner circle to tell the story of how these ideas evolved, going back to the discussions among excited young politicos at Policy Exchange and the dinner tables of Notting Hill. We recall key moments such as the presentation of the Big Society idea in 2009 and the decision to place that theme at the heart of the Conservatives' general election campaign the following year. How radical were the ideas themselves? Why was David Cameron so keen on them? Who were the key players around him and what was their influence?

We then pick up the story in May 2010, when David Cameron and his team first saw their opportunity to turn ideas into reality. Many were surprised by the speed at which the fledgling coalition government rolled out radical reforms in education, health, local government and welfare. How was this possible? What was the role of the Liberal Democrats? Finally how has David Cameron's big idea fared since?

We follow the policies on health, education and localism through the reality of coalition government and the austerity regime, and ask whether the original vision is now in retreat.

PRODUCERS: Martin Rosenbaum and Leala Padmanabhan.

Steve Richards tells the story of David Cameron's quest to reform the state and society.

03 LAST20120122

When David Cameron became the Conservative leader in 2005, he memorably declared "There is such a thing as society; it's just not the same as the state".

Steve Richards, of "The Independent", presents a three-part series telling the story behind that famous phrase, tracing David Cameron's vision of a reformed state and a Big Society from the early days of opposition to the reality of government.

From the early days of his leadership campaign, David Cameron and his advisers were working on bold ideas which they said would reshape the state, decentralise power and strengthen society. From 2009 onwards the phrase "The Big Society" was used to describe these ideas.

The Big Society became the basis of an ambitious programme for government which the Conservatives were able to present with the help of the Lib Dems, who shared some of the same ideas.

In episode 3, we trace what has happened to this programme of policies since, exploring the political and practical difficulties which have occurred along the way.

And we ask what the future holds for David Cameron's "big idea". Will it continue to be his self-proclaimed driving mission?

And what lasting impact will his ideas have on the state and society in Britain?

Interviewees include the former no 10 Director of Policy, James O'Shaughnessy, and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

Producers: Martin Rosenbaum and Leala Padmanbhan.

The struggles and obstacles as the government tries to roll out its bold reforms.