The Wisdom of Citizen Clem – individually & collectively we can make a change #coops #cooperation #together

David word cloud

Chilling out in a sunny climate after organising three events over the past twelve months developing the future of Co-operative Education in Wales with Co-ops and Mutuals Wales, I have just finished reading “Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee: Winner of the Orwell Prize” by John Bew which I started reading six months ago.

The most memorable aspect can be found at the last few pages of the book that identify the contribution we can all make if we are to rebuild Co-operation as a social movement. This will be through our individual and collective endeavours.

At our next Social Co-operation Forum on December 15th 2017, Donna Coyle speaks about the outcome of a recent consultation response submitted by Care to Co-operate/Wales Co-operative Centre and others who shared their position.

Two types of small co-operatives are now to be exempted from Regulation as a domiciliary care / support service ‘Written Statement – Implementation of service regulation under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016’ . The types are:

  • An unincorporated Families’ Co-operative
  • An incorporated micro co-operative that can take two forms – a Families Micro Co-operative or a co-operative of Personal Assistants wanting to offer their care and support to citizens who receive Direct Payments.

How does this relate to “Citizen Clem”? This book is an excellent single volume about an unassuming person who has achieved much in his lifetime and left an indelible mark on British society by bringing about radical reform whilst leading the Labour Party for twenty years and as Prime Minister from 1945-1951.

In 1937, Bew refers to Attlee paraphrasing an excerpt from ‘A Dream of John Ball’, one of the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt in England in 1381. But this time it came with Attlee’s twist.

‘It is true as was said in John Ball, that the things we fight for turn out to be different from what we hoped and have to be fought for in other ways, but what is not proven is that if those causes .. for which we strove would inevitably have come about in another way. There is no warrant in history for this. It is only an optimistic assumption”.

Bew adds, “Not only was it fatalistic to give up …; it was also dangerous. There was no guarantee that the things for which Attlee had striven all his life would come about if he left the battlefield to others”.

Individually and collectively we can make change. Let us build upon hard work undertaken over nearly a decade in Wales, for we cannot assume the change we wish to make can be left to others.

David Smith


Co-ops and Mutuals Wales

Published by socialcoopforumwales

The Social Co-operation Forum is a membership network promoting co-operative models of social care and well-being.

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