Tories on using social capital to tackle social problems

David Cameron launches his social justice programme this morning. This piece on the Today programme (sound file), has some interesting inputs. Not least from Louis Feldstein: “the informal connections we have between us actually have a dollar value to them. You get along better in life depending on the people who know and how much you trust them and they trust you. Smart social enterprise finds ways to capitalise on those kinds of connections”. A lesson that seems borne out in untrusting (and unprosperous) Northern Ireland.There’s a interesting contrast in how left and right see the capacity of volutary action to ‘raise poor community up’. Whilst the left doubts its capacity to deliver service, the right sees the state as crowding out the voluntary sector altogether.

Ian Duncan Smith sounds happier bunny these days. There’s a clever bit of spin when he talks about Scotland (in 100 of the postcode areas) having a worse life expectancy than North Korea, despite major public sector investment. Clever, but not an entirely valid comparison. It does however indicate an important shift in the focus of New Tory rhetoric: on the state of Britain, rather than the schoolboy politics of the Westminster village.