Friday, 6 July 2012

National Service

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.


dognamedblue said...

it would be interesting to see, judging by what he claims to be, if he's from "common purpose"

dognamedblue said...

or you could always take up ping pong?

my apologies, I couldn't resist

JRB said...

I must confess that I find the mouthings of Lord Wei offensive, complacent and arrogant.

I was, what is euphemistically called, in ‘gainful employment’ for more years than this young man has been upon the planet.
Throughout that time I paid all taxes and demands made upon me by the state with minimal requirement for anything in return.
Lord Wei forgets that the state education he received was paid for by the tax revenues raised from me and the other taxpayers of my generation.
Similarly the healthcare that he received throughout his formative years was paid for by the tax revenues raised from me and the other taxpayers of my generation.

Throughout my working career I made no objection to supporting his, the younger generation, or those who were the older generation.
Now time has passed and I am the OAP, the baton of responsibility is now passed to Lord Wei and his generation; it is their moral duty to offer that same support rather than try to impose such offensive, complacent and arrogant nonsense.

JRB said...

@dognamedblue – great clip – made my day - thanks
Growing Old – Yes
Gracefully - Never

Oldrightie said...

Big Society? More big mouth, like The Boy Cameron.

Apogee said...

Until I read this I was not in favour of reforming the house of lords, the word I would be inclined to use now is abolish.
So its to the workhouse we will go, is it? How long before, instead of a pension, we get a pill to the promised land? MP's and Lords exempt, of course.

Joe Public said...

" 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. "

Mr Wei comments like a voice from the Insurance Industry. We'll regularly take your premiums, but fight tooth-and-nail to pay out on any claim.

By definition, the older generation have contributed more into the NHS via that Tax called National Insurance, simply because they've been contributing longer.

Demetrius said...

Given that nursing and residential homes now typically are a "last resort" for the elderly who have reached the stage of requiring 24 care they are no place for well meaning amateurs of any age. Notably for dementia cases. As an aside many of todays elderly left school a lot earlier and worked a lot longer than recent generations are likely to do.

English Pensioner said...

There is one are where I believe we pensioners could do far better than the so-called professionals, and that would be in presenting programmes on the BBC. I'd happily do a half day a week on the local BBC radio, I'm sure even my ramblings would make more sense than those of some of the idiots currently employed to play records. Come to that, having lived in the real world, I'm sure many of us could question politicians far more effectively than many of the present interviewers.
They could save loads of money which could be used to produce some decent drama programmes, something that the BBC does well.

Edward Spalton said...

It is the function of (usually well paid)
permanent staff in voluntary organisations

(a) to get unpaid volunteers to do most of the work and all of the boring bits.
(b) to take the credit for successes for their committee and themselves.

(c) to behave as if they were Lady Bountifuls, doing it all from the goodness of their hearts.

I am reliably told that, if you visit the headquarters of some well-known charities, you will be astonished at the number of top-of-the-range cars in the staff car parks.

It is some years ago (so no names no pack drill) that one household name charity was directed to stop collecting money until it spent more on its stated objectives. It had been pouring money into staff benefits, such as subsidised mortgages. The unpaid volunteers, on whom it relied,were not included in the largesse.

Anonymous said...

The Tories want everyone to do something for nothing. (Francis Maude said it was his mission to make sure that everyone would volunteer under the Big Society...then, somewhat embarrassingly, golly gosh [yes, he actually said gooly gosh] couldn't give one...not one...example of something he himself did voluntarily, having first tried to pass off MPs duties as community service).

By getting "ordinary" people to do things they can save a lot of money and they can steal, sorry, appropriate it for themselves, just like they always do.

My answer to Mr Wei would be quite rude. It would involve two words, the second of which would be off, and I wouldn't say please.

Even Hitler only had a Hitler Youth.

subrosa said...

I would be willing to bet he is- along with his cohorts dognamed blue.

Love the video. Thank you.

subrosa said...

JRB, it was a rushed post but I tried to restrain myself from calling the man more than a social engineer.

Like you I too, along with many of my friends have contributed without complaint and we are the people who have made life easier for the younger generations.. It's the politicians who make it difficult.

subrosa said...

Get ready OR - you may be called up soon. :)

subrosa said...

Good point Joe.

subrosa said...

Demetrius, I've watched the two BBC programmes broadcast this week, when 4 'celebs' visit stages of growing old.

I wish I'd had an opportunity to take part in such a programme, but then I wouldn't make watchable TV because I would speak my mind.

subrosa said...

There's an idea EP. Should we all write to the BBC?

subrosa said...

Edward, you've hit the nail on the head about most 'charities'. With the exception of SSAFA the others I've spent time working for have behaved exactly like that.

subrosa said...

We have a youth national service Tris (if you look at the link). I didn't realise we did until I read the report.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh the report's is a tad on the long side for me SR, coming as it does from that set of prats in London. It's bound to be utter rubbish.

I don't know any youth on this thing, except the ones on community service, etiehr because they are criminals, or unemployed...much the same in Cameron's Nazi government.

Of course the Big Society never took off at all in this country. A Tory suggesting that people should volunteer was bound to send people scuttling for their slippers and the Radio Times.

Anything Flashman tells me to do, I shall have great pleasure in refusing to do.

Edward Spalton said...

Hello Tris,
(a touch off topic, this)

My friend Rodney Atkinson and the late Norris McWhirter (of Guinness Book of Records fame) laid evidence against Francis Maude and Douglas Hurd in both the English and Scottish courts on charges of treason, arising from their negotiation of the Maastricht treaty.

They wrote it up in a book called "Treason at Maastricht" and there is no doubt that the charges were well-founded under several Acts of Parliament and long-established precedents. A far tighter case than that against William Joyce, for instance.

Although questions were asked in Parliament, the authorities' response was not to respond. They waited until Parliament had passed the Maastricht Treaty Bill into law and said that that made everything right retrospectively under a doctrine called "implied repeal". (i.e. a later Act of Parliament trumps an earlier one, even if it does not specifically repeal it)

It would have been an interesting case if it had come to court as the death penalty for treason was still in force - "pour encourager les autres".

RMcGeddon said...

He left that 'job' with the Big Society SR as he found he wouldn't get paid.
Was 'penniless' so had to leave apparently.
Surprisingly despite being 'penniless' he joined 'Community Foundation Network' as a volunteer instead.
It's self appointed role is to change society for the better. Not sure who asked them to.
58 branches throughout the UK and spreading like a virus.
looks very much like an offshoot of 'Common Purpose' and the 'third way'. A creepy blight on our country. Trying to undermine our democratic system and get their own people into positions of influence in society.
All for the 'greater good' of course.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

SR, My mother is in a care home and the amount of bureaucracy is beyond anyone's comprehension.

While the staff there are absolutely superb (the shortest term of employment is approx 15 years) even they complain they could so much more if they weren't so constrained.

When you get the mentality that requires a notice over a hot tap which states "Warning this tap may contain got water" (and that is in the staff kitchen) one begins to wonder about management's state of mind.

As chair of a very small charity (our village minibus) I know only too well the amount of "red tape" that one get involved in. As an example, at present when reaching the age of 70, to retain the D and D1 classification on one's licence it is necessary to have a full medical - local cost £105. As from April 2013 (due EU directive) anyone of 45 and over will require a medical. I know of one minibus charity in Oxfordshire with 29 drivers on its books, all of whom will be affected.

As a result I have written to David Cameron (my MP) to suggest that this additional fee, which for some will be 'crippling' financially should be funded by central government on the basis he wants a Big Society then he can fund it.

Joe Public said...

@ 21:55 6/7 tris said...

" The Tories want everyone to do something for nothing. "

Whereas Labour want to do something with everyone else's money.

subrosa said...

There are plenty who feel the same as you Tris.

subrosa said...

I read that RM and wondered why he worked for nothing. Perhaps though it would result in a highly paid job?

Oh it certainly has a whiff of the CP about it these National Service programmes and their authors.

subrosa said...

The paperwork is a nightmare everywhere WfW. With one charity I worked with for some time, I found completing the paper work took longer than the actual work process. Many threw in the towel because of that. I was one of them.

I hope your MP agrees with your suggestion. There's a similar scheme here and we were discussing the same thing just the other week. The charge will certainly hit quite a few of the volunteer drivers. (I don't drive minibuses these days. Hate the things).

subrosa said...

We cannae win can we Joe?

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