Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
2 February 2011

Big society tsar “doesn’t have enough time” to do job

Lord Wei cuts back on his hours because he wants “a life”.

By George Eaton

Here’s a story that will cheer those Tory backbenchers fond of referring to the “big society” as “BS”. Lord (Nat) Wei of Shoreditch, the man hired by the government to launch its volunteering revolution, is to scale back his role after concluding that working for free three days a week is incompatible with “having a life”.

The Guardian reports that Wei is to reduce his hours on the project from three days a week to two, to allow him to see more of his family and to pay the bills. To adapt Wilde, the “big society”, like socialism, takes up too many spare evenings.

But the news also raises a serious point: is the big society really feasible in a country that works some of the longest hours in Europe? We’ve yet to hear a convincing answer from David Cameron.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy