The phrase was coined by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said in July: “The big society ... is about liberation – the biggest, most dramatic redistribution of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street.” David Cameron spells out how his vision of a 'Big Society' could address Britain's problems.
David Cameron's big idea of the campaign is the "big society". This was launched with some fanfare at the end of March at an event in London, and made it into the Conservative manifesto. Three weeks later, it was being buried by Cameron's colleagues, one of whom said, "We need to turn Oliver Letwin's Hegelian dialectic into voter-friendly stuff." (Letwin, chairman of the Conservative Research Department, has a PhD in philosophy.)That shadow minister meant to dismiss the idea, but in doing so he revealed a finer appreciation of the philosophical antecedents of the "big society" than he might have wanted to admit to. For what Hegel called, in his Philosophy of Right, "civil society" - the stage "which intervenes between the family and the state" - looks very much like the network of voluntary organisations to which the Tories propose to "redistribute power" as they seek to weaken the power of Labour's big state.