Had David Cameron visited a co-op foodstore before yesterday when he chose one for a photo-op for his Big Society idea? Had no one told him that together the co-ops are among the country’s largest food retailers. He certainly looked impressed when he visited one in Lamb’s Conduit Street, London.
Probably, there are not that many other co-ops in the WC1 postcode, an easy bike ride from Downing Street and Somerset House where he relaunched the Big Society (Guardian).
His visit to the People’s Supermarket where one of the founders said they were struggling to get people to understand it, provided BBC News at Ten with its lead item (iPlayer).
Listeners to The Archers will also know that co-operatives are springing up around the country to save village shops.
There is a co-op bank, the East of England Co-op employs 5,000 people in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex. The list can go on and on. There is even a top-level internet domain .coop.
If he want’s to know more he can easily talk to one of the 28 members of the Co-operative Party who sit in the Commons as Labour and Co-op members. Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor is one of them and should be able to give Mr Cameron good advice on how big society works.
It must be difficult for someone who arrived from planet Bullingdon to understand how society has worked for centuries.
* I hope that while in Lamb’s Conduit Street he walked to the top of road and visited Coram’s Fields, with its wonderful playground and community nursery on the site of the Foundling Hospital established in 1739.