A couple of you have pointed me to this wonderful piece of news from that collection of wet and windy islands euphemistically known as the ‘United Kingdom’:

Academics will study the “big society” as a priority, following a deal with the government to secure funding from cuts.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) will spend a “significant” amount of its funding on the prime minister’s vision for the country … It is claimed the AHRC was told that research into the “big society” was non-negotiable if it wished to maintain its funding at £100m a year.

Unlike the general doom and gloom, digust, anger and despair it seems to have caused, I reckon this is a great piece of news. Why? Since AA and I have already been working on this topic for a while, we feel like we are in the box seat. So I’ve come up with a research proposal that – a little counter-intuitively perhaps – includes Messrs Philip Blond and Alasdair Maclagan.

Title: Lenin and the Big Society: In Search of the Bourgeois Utopia of Red Toryism (a project also known as Maclagan and the Blond Boer).


1) Maclagan will seek out Gandalf in the misty woods of Nottinghamshire, hoping to make spiritual contact with his theological master, J.R.R. Tolkien.

2) Blond will undertake an exhaustive study of his family tree in order to identify his hobbit forebears.

3) Boer will engage the elves, making use of elvish magic to clone Lenin from his mummified corpse, so that Lenin himself may join the research group.

4) AA (and VM/BY) will ensure the whole project maintains the highest level of scientific integrity.