Little at large

Volunteering slogans: very lack. Very daft as brush

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

- Ever tried to capture the spirit of volunteering? I mean in a literary way, rather than by pulling a bag over its head, bundling it into a car and sending a ransom note (I'm not sure how much of it you'd get like that, anyway, and they'd send Julia Neuberger after you).

Anyway, 2011 is European Year of Volunteering and the European Commission is seeking a slogan to express the essence of the activity. An alliance of European volunteering organisations has solicited entries and the results go a long way towards explaining why charities spend thousands on marketing agencies.

So far we have: "That's Wowlunteering!"; "Hey, Turn the VOLUMTEERING up!"; the lost-in-translation "Very Volunteering. Very Value"; the existential "Less you and less me is more we"; the suggestive "Close to you"; the unfathomable "The Ever-Handing Story"; and the confused "365 days to volunteer. Do it today!" The public will eventually be invited to vote for a winner.

- Talking of volunteering, Sarah Brown has applied to volunteering charity CSV for an information pack on its new drive to recruit volunteers to save the hedgehog. A bit of escapism is clearly the order of the day in 10 Downing Street - perhaps she's building a hedgehog house in the garden.

- New Labour flirted briefly with Britpop before ruining its youth culture cred. But one Labour politician does have some kudos in the music business.

"He's a great guy," says former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown of his mate Kevin Brennan in an interview on The Quietus website. (Remember Kev? Once the third sector minister.) The two apparently bonded when they met on a plane five years ago. It must have been music - Brennan is a guitarist with parliamentary rock band MP4 - because I'm sure it wasn't politics. Brennan is a confirmed (Gordon) Brownite, whereas the simian Brown says in the interview that Labour is no longer the voice of the people and advocates turning Buckingham Palace into apartments for the homeless. For some reason I can't fathom, the interview features prominently on Kev's home page.

- So Campbell Robb, director-general of the Office of the Third Sector, is leaving to head Shelter. I'm not saying the Tories are definitely going to win next year's election; what I am saying is that Robb was an adviser to Labour politicians Chris Smith and David Blunkett before the election in 1997 ...

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

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