The Prime Minister has today laid out what the Government will do to support the Big Society. But just as the Government is showing us more about the Big Society, the Big Society can also show us about the workings of government.
For those of us who live in London, it is hard to imagine that Melbourne's versions of 'Boris bikes' or Oyster cards could be a failure. But, despite a pilot involving students in Melbourne, and looking and feeling like other successful bike share schemes, the Melbourne scheme was a palpable flop - and its version of our Oyster card is so unpopular it became an election issue.
By laying out the changes to departmental business plans, the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to transparency. Whilst it is rightly lifting the lid on Whitehall, this means the Government is likely to be picked up on explanations that are less than convincing.
The Foreign Secretary has announced Britain will create new embassies and redeploy diplomats. Whilst this recalibration of Britain’s diplomatic assets reflects the shifting balance of power in international politics, it is only a partial solution.
The biggest English cities outside London will soon choose whether or not to adopt powerful elected mayors. A look back at previous mayoral elections suggests we can expect to see a boost in the status of local politics, city leaders with a national profile and more independent candidates getting elected.
Proposals today by Defra to create an Animal Health and Welfare Board represent a fascinating move to open out policy making. But they need to be managed carefully if they are not to lead to the interests of producers coming before those of the public.
Today's political headlines are dominated by a group of Lib Dem peers who want to delay national roll out of elected police commissioners until they have been piloted. This may be an attempt to derail Coalition policy. But it is an odd reflection on our process of policy making that we regard moving straight to full scale implementation as the norm.
According to one senior civil servant, "if we built aeroplanes the way we build policy, none would ever fly". We' d like you to nominate policies with wings - and those that collapse at the end of the runway.