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Showing posts from February, 2011

Night time is the right time for volunteering in the Big Society

Sheena Easton summed it up perfectly in her 1980 classic ‘9 to 5’ (or ‘Morning Train’ in the US to avoid confusion with the popular Dolly Parton number). In a stirring paean to work-life balance at the beginning of the Thatcher era, the songstress tells us that her beau ‘works all day to earn his pay, so we can play all night...’

One of the biggest problems with David Cameron’s so-called ‘Big Society’ is that it requires people to work all day to earn their pay and then work all night for nothing. An added complication is that Sheena’s lover would now be labouring from 9 to 8, rather than 9 to 5. He’d probably also have to catch up on a few emails of a weekend. What a way to make a living, as Dolly would no doubt observe from her Tennessee mountain home.

We can see that the ‘Big Society’ is an idea that might have taken root in a bygone age when people had steady, predictable jobs and could give up a few hours of their spare time to a good cause in the local community. At a point in his…