Little at Large: Compact's alter-ego would have Mussolini at the helm

Some may yearn for a Genghis Khan at the helm of the Compact, but it turns out that the people behind the 10-year-old agreement between the sector and the state have always been wary of any unfortunate associations with militaristic strongmen. Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, revealed last week that 'the Compact' was a last minute name change for the agreement. Until then, it was to be known as 'the Concordat'. But then someone pointed out that the most famous 'concordat' in history was the 1929 treaty between Fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and the Vatican. In 1998, New Labour was in the full flush of its 'third way' enthusiasm and any more linguistic resonances with Il Duce had to be stamped on. 'The Compact' had nice trans-Atlantic tones - the Mayflower Compact was the agreement between early settlers in America. But it's rumoured that agreement actually worked.

  • Were the Compact created today, it would have a different name. And that name would have the word 'builders' in it. One doesn't need to be Einstein to see a certain pattern in the naming of government programmes for the sector. First there was Futurebuilders, then Capacity-builders. The latest incarnation in this stunningly original series is Communitybuilders, the new grant programme for the community sector. Personally, I think they should all get together in 'Builders' House'.
  • Feed the Children UK thinks it might just have the oldest volunteer in the UK on its books. Ninety-nine-year-old Phyllis Donaldson has been a charity knitter for years and joined Feed the Children's circle of knitters in 2005, making blankets and jumpers for children in orphanages in Africa. Who said the Experience Corps was a failure?

 Mathew Little is a freelance writer. Email

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