David Cameron’s first job on leaving Number 10 was to become the chairman of the National Citizen Service (NCS), continuing his work in building the Big Society. The concept was at the heart of his government; promoting public service to strengthen and unite communities, therefore, creating a Big Society. The NCS was founded to give 16/17-year-olds the chance to volunteer and take action in their communities. It is one of the main pillars of the Big Society, and if nurtured, David Cameron’s vision of every teenager seeing the NCS as a normal part of growing up could easily come true; but where next for the NCS?
Another legacy of David Cameron’s time in office is the Government’s commitment to meeting the UN’s 0.7% international aid target. British aid helps millions across the world and demonstrates our commitment to being a global nation. Although Theresa May will continue this pledge, the pressure is growing to abandon this responsibility, and the case for keeping it must be made stronger than ever.
These two legacies of David Cameron’s are shining examples of One Nation Conservatism and Internationalism. They helped detoxify the Conservative Party and aided our country at home and abroad. They cannot be forgotten, so the question is how do we grow and nurture the NCS and how do we protect our commitment to the world’s poorest? I believe these questions have the same answer and it is time the Big Society got bigger.
We should consider expanding the remit of the NCS to one that has an international dimension. Imagine a world where the UK is not only paying for international development projects in poorer countries but also sends young volunteers out to help and gain experience. Those volunteers would, in turn, be more outward looking in perspective and would make great defenders of the 0.7% target. We would be creating a British version of the Peace Corps, just better and hopefully less pretentious. We would also be opening the eyes of young Brits to new cultures, different values and a world of opportunity. This is vital to building the global Britain the Prime Minister has called for and ensuring that the next generation still looks beyond its own borders.
Written by Craig Rimmer