David Cameron got some points from me for his idea of a "Big Society". His idea is very much in keeping with my view of what I guess is often described as "civic nationalism". Leaving aside that the "nation" it encompasses is larger than I would like (being the UK and not just Scotland) I think the idea is bold and sensible, particularly in the times of financial difficulty which we currently find ourselves in.
"Dave" wants society to help itself, to let communities run their own (non-vital) services and pull Britain back from the big (sprawling) government it has developed. That to me is a laudable aim, particularly given that I have a "liberal" view of government as a "necessary evil" and that people shouldn't expect government to do everything for them. If anything, I don't think his Big Society goes far enough, but the idea is good, so as I say, points on that score.
But then he lost the points on arrival in the States when, in the words of the excellent Joan McAlpine, he "trashed" Scotland on the world stage by saying how wrong he felt the decision was to release Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, and clearly emphasised how he stood with the US against the Scottish Government on the issue. Whether you believe the decision to be correct or not, the way in which David Cameron has blown his "respect agenda" for the devolved institutions shows a clear disregard for devolution.
I expect he will announce a full UK-level inquiry into the decision in the coming days, further ignoring the fact that the decision was the Scottish Government's to make. The fact that he was not PM at the time of the decision probably makes this easier for him - both in a partisan and bi-lateral, UK-US sense. I made reference a few days ago to the UK (specifically Jack Straw, when he was Home Secretary) allowing General Pinochet to be released back to Chile on medical grounds, despite charges of torture and assasination against him. I guess the difference in that case is that he was a) backed by former US President George H. W. Bush (and the fact that his military coup was supported by the US) and b) the decision was made by a UK minister. I don't remember David Cameron (or indeed, anyone from the US Government) speaking out against that decision, and Pinochet lived 6 YEARS after his release. The truth of the matter is that we would not be talking about this again had al-Megrahi not survived 11 months (and counting) after his release. A sad state of affairs indeed that government ministers from both sides of the Atlantic are waiting for a terminally ill man to die.
So yes, the "Big Society" is a good idea. But Dave, your perception of devolution is small and petty, and the respect for it is non-existent. Must try harder old chap.