Until this week I'd never heard of Lord Wei. According to Wiki he's a 35-year-old social entrepreneur who is associated with David Cameron's Big Society as an unpaid adviser.
Nat Wei wants to help change society: in other words to further socially engineer the population.
Along with more of his colleagues he has decided there should be a National Retirement Service for senior citizens. According to Mr Wei, us baby-boomers are a drain on government resources because we cost the taxpayer double that of non-retired households in NHS services - £5,200 against £2,800. Of course the fact that older people may have more health problems doesn't enter the equation.
A few of his ideas include setting up local networks of recently retired individuals who would organise excursions to meet with young people looking to help set up a business or us oldies could help groups of older, frailer pensioners in nursing homes.
Sometimes I wonder if Mr Wei and his ilk live in the real world.
When I first retired, I undertook a small selection of voluntary positions, but quickly decided working for nothing wasn't how I wished to spent my retirement years. In two of the 'charities' with which I was involved, I found myself more qualified than most of the highly paid staff, who used volunteers like myself for the more tedious tasks involved with social work. Running around the various agencies for paperwork to be signed or sitting for hours in dismal court waiting rooms isn't how many of us want to spend our time. None of those who 'joined' these two charities with me stayed longer than three months.
The manager of one actually suggested that, instead of meetings being held in the charity's offices, volunteers from rural areas (there were a few of us) could hold meetings in their own homes. "That would be a nice wee change for us desk-bound folk to have a day out," she said. I refused and told her my home was not an extension of her office.
I wonder if Mr Wei has ever tried to offer help to those in nursing homes. It's a ludicrous idea that nursing homes would welcome more able strangers into their midst and the reason they are so reluctant is because of the endless legislation involved in the private care of the elderly. First there is Health and Safety. All staff (including volunteers) require regular training in H and S and no nursing home or care home will pay for volunteers to attend training courses.
The voluntary sector has become a bureaucratic mess with many charities offering similar services. How some gain their 'client' group can be more by error than design. Many requiring help can be passed through several of these agencies.
Back to Mr Wei's idea of a National Retirement Service. He's not keen on pensioners wasting time playing golf, gardening or caring for young or elderly relatives. He wants oldies to 'be useful'.
Some of his suggestions are just common sense, but no older person - after working for 40+ years - should be made to feel that they must contribute to a National Retirement Service. Using unpaid pensioners instead of training a paid workforce will not make a healthy economy or society.