The reefs structure was irreversibly changed; the fish-public sector couldn't afford to buy back what it needed to work properly and struggled to keep the reef in one piece, the big fish continued to grow bigger and criticise the pro-public-sector fish in the hopes they could get their influence back and squeeze as much out of the small fish as they could. Corporation taxes went up but then big fishy business just left the reef, the government of the reef couldn't get the reef out of the social and economic mess left behind. The smallest fish still tried their best to have the best life they could but by now (for small fish) this particular reef was one of the worst reefs in the ocean to exist. The big fish society pre-branding still existed but social-capital was now weaker than ever and no good intentions from a Prime Fish sympathetic to the small fish could twist this around.
The future became bleak for the reef in general but the big fish turned a blind eye, the society of the reef was splintered but the big fish could always leave to another reef if things spilt over into their gated communities or it became unprofitable. In comparison, the small fish could not leave, they were stuck between a dying reef and dying on the reef. The Big Fish Society was indeed a Big-Fish Society but not the Big Society that the key Prime Fish of this story had portrayed to provide. The Big Fish Society was just superfishal.
There were of course booms and bust, but in the boom times the small fish only saw a little of the benefit of their hard work, during the bust times, as much of the burden as possible was unloaded their way. Life went on, but the reef never lived up to the potential it once had; it's potential to create a happy and healthy big society had passed. Instead of a happy and prosperous reef of the even bigger ocean community, it became known as just another unhappy mess of a reef whose leaders only seemed interested in growing their economy. It's environment and ecosystem soon succumbed.
But this is a fishy-tale, and stories can have happy endings outside the realms of reasonable possibility - after all, we are in a fishy world of fantasea.
Thankfully there was another reef. One far away from this reef at the other side of the sea.
There, they had a big society too but it was implemented by a cleaner fish who had much sympathy with the small fish. Though the fish on that reef were not as big, they didn't need to be, their sandbanks were less effected (even during the sandbank crisis) because they used fishy-sense and didn't cripple their social-capital many Prime Fishes ago. Their small industrial and resource providing reef towns had not been decimated decades before, the hard working fishes jobs had been slowly phased out and replaced by other forms of fishployment in a way that didn't decimate their local economies. They didn't cut public spending, they kept hold of many of the utilities that the reef depended on. A wise move for when global ocean energy prices went up the reefs fish-public sector found itself with a huge surplus to reinvest into it's society through research and development. This reef was leading the way in scientific discovery and had even harnessed the power of plankton in a way that didn't harm the oceans.
This far away reef had also invested a pot of money to encourage social enterprise many decades before, however rather than fish-public services being replaced, they were protected, it was the private sector whose enterprise's became social and the small fish knowing that the profit after reef tax from their goods and services was largely being reinvested back into their local area quickly took a liking to them. The social enterprises in the private market soon made a big impact and everyone felt valued. With less vulnerable smaller fish and more stability on the reef, all fish felt happier and small fish felt happy and had a real fair chance to become a big fish. Crime reduced as less fish had to turn to it to get by and more could be invested in reef defence and improving other reefs in need. The reefs economy was localised but competitive with the safety of a healthy public sector to help anyone who might fall off the reef and to provide key services.
This reef had free education to the highest levels. It's occupants had plenty of spare time to volunteer as their lives were easier for all. With more people free to be creative culture flourished and the reef grew.
The big fish didn't get so big but they had a reef and communities they could be proud of and a healthy and sustainable place for their spawn to grow up in.
Thankfully for the reef in trouble from the earlier part of the story, all the small fish from that reef who had good intentions were invited to come to the far away reef.
The old reef's economy collapsed as the only thing supporting the big fish and Sharks was taken away from their control. It was only a matter of time before the sandbanks collapsed again anyway so the small fish did not feel guilty leaving.
Back on the other reef, many of the big fish who didn't jump reef became small fish and realised what they had done, they were left to a decimated reef and were prey to the sharks they had encouraged and pampered.
The fish in the new reef didn't all live happily ever, even fiction has its limits, but they did live out their lives to the best of their ability and it did feel like they were truly a part of a big society. In time future generations learnt from the mistakes and positives of the past and evolved and adapted, eventually venturing out of the seas to other universes in time and space defying machines.
Fish with good hearts lived happily ever after.
Meanwhile... in a human dominated universe nearby... David Cameron had some choices to make... his Big Society guru Lord Wei led the BBC to describe the Big Society as:
A "coral reef" and we are the fishes.
Oh Carp. We're cooked.