Nick Cohen (Observer 15-Nov-2009) writing about charities made the excellent point:
The state does not wither or even shrink when it pays charities to do its work. It merely decentralises the provision of services while expanding the centre's command and control into new areas of public life.
Civil society (pressure groups, charities, etc.) is not increasing its role vis-a-vis the state; on the contrary the state is subsuming civil society. The only organised element in society not part of the state are corporate business organisations, the interests of which are accepted and imposed on the state.
The lights of liberal democracy are going out.