Little at Large: The Shami Las or the Ed Mili Band? Join their club

How many friends have you got on social networking website Facebook?

Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband

If it's between zero and three, comfort yourself with the thought that you don't have any enemies - unlike Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, who has inspired the Facebook group 'Let's ban Shami Chakrabarti from being on TV' (members accuse her of being a "lefty do gooder"). Don't despair, Shami fans - you can join the 'Shami Chakrabarti fan club' (tagline: "if she was running the country, it would be a much better place") on the same website.

Chakrabarti isn't the only sector figure to feature on Facebook. Cabinet Office minister Ed Miliband has a large following. The 'Ed Miliband looks like Beaker off Sesame Street' group has 44 members, including Johann Hari, political columnist for The Independent. Who said political debate was being trivialised?

- Chakrabarti has become something of a cult figure. She must be the only charity chief executive to have a song written about and named after her. Sung by rock band the Dastards, it goes: "Speaking with such bravery/No one else would dare to be/Shami Chakrabarti". Other sector figures can't compete in the pop culture stakes, but charities themselves occasionally provide the muse for rock stars. Pulp urged us to Help the Aged, James namechecked Greenpeace and The Beatles donated to the National Trust. The YMCA probably wish the Village People hadn't bothered.

- Among the items in the imaginary civil society medicine cupboard pictured in the Carnegie Trust's report Inquiry Into the Future of Civil Society are 'learning balm', 'participation pills' and 'collaborative cream'. Has somebody stolen the 'anti-cooption tonic' and the 'independence juice'?

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer. mathew.little@haymarket.com

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