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This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book presents countless examples of community organisations, social enterprises and individuals making a real difference to the shaping of local services and a major contribution to local democracy. The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government does claim to have a vision in the twin concepts of the 'big society' and localism. The arrival of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government in 1979 marked a period of deep uncertainty and turbulence in the world of local government. New Labour's agenda was often contradictory as an ever-increasing number of centrally driven targets cut through the notion of local autonomy. Little was conceded by way of more policy and fiscal autonomy for local government. It is true that there was great emphasis on attempts to boost local civic engagement and political participation.

Local democracy, civic engagement and community

From New Labour to the Big Society


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