According to the Volunteers Week website, more than 21 million people volunteer at least one day of their time each year, contributing approximately £24 billion to the UK economy. The clear message being sold is that individual volunteering makes a huge difference to the state of the nation, the environment we live in, and to the lives of the vulnerable and the lonely.
On the surface, this seems like a good thing. Yet when we look a little deeper, we find a less altruistic agenda at work.
The Volunteers Week “celebration” is run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). It is an annual event which takes place at the start of June, according to their website, and is run by NCVO in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.
NCVO was founded in 1919 as the National Council of Social Services and since then they have helped spawn such illustrious organisations as Age Concern, Citizens Advice Bureau and Community Matters.
They claim to have “a diverse community of over 12,000 member organisations – a third of the voluntary sector workforce in England. We help them thrive in what they do: by providing expert support and advice, by saving them time and money, and by keeping them up to date with the news and developments that affect them.”
The ex-ITN/BBC newscaster Martyn Lewis is their chairman. Martyn Lewis is one of these people with almost magical powers; able to run a host of jobs concurrently. Aside from his chairmanship of NCVO he is vice-president of Hospice UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Macmillan Cancer Support, East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH) and Demelza Children’s Hospice, president of United Response, chairman of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. He was chairman of Families of the Fallen 2010-15 and is currently deputy chair of the Lord Mayor of London's Dragon Awards.
He is “Founder at Large” of Youthnet, now called “The Mix”. He chaired that organisation until the middle of 2014, and still serves in an advisory capacity.
And while all this was going on, he was also founder and co-chair of a video conferencing business. Oh, and between 2001 and 2010 he was trustee of the Windsor Leadership Trust.
The Windsor Leadership Trust
Windsor Castle is home of the Windsor Leadership Trust. St George’s House College states that:
Through a unique portfolio of programmes and consultations, held at St George’s House, Windsor Castle, we provide opportunities for leaders to develop their own leadership wisdom and insight. Leaders from all sectors take part, including business, government, military, religion, and not-for-profit.
St George’s House was founded in 1966 by H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh and the then Dean of Windsor, Robin Woods, as a place where people of influence and responsibility in every area of society can come together to explore and communicate their views and analysis of contemporary issues.
The website of the World Bank hosts a pdf dedicated to a ‘Leadership Program: Windsor Meeting, July 2007’. It reads:
Following consultations on the establishment of a Global Leadership Initiative (GLI) to generate support – globally - for leadership development interventions, a second meeting of the core group for the Initiative (GLI) took place in Windsor, UK, from July 8 to 10 2007. Organisations represented at this meeting were UNDP, DfID, CIDA, the Windsor Leadership Trust, and the World Bank (PRMPS and WBIGP).
All meetings at the Windsor Leadership Trust are naturally held under the Chatham House Rule.
Volunteering and Leadership
So Martyn Lewis, as chair of NCVO is driving volunteering, and as past chair of the Windsor Leadership Trust has a keen interest in leadership. Could there be a connection between the two?
One clue comes in the “Review of Skills & Leadership in the VCSE Sector”, published in May 2013. The reports author, Dame Mary Marsh, begins the report by stating that the “forward thinking review was set up to examine the social sector’s most vital needs around attracting and developing a skilled workforce and leadership.”
Supported by the Cabinet Office, the report is full of the language of behavioural change, collaboration and leadership. Leadership, the report says, “is learnt at every stage of the journey through the sector from young leaders (eg Dare2Lead, Uprising, Leap) through to aspiring and emerging leaders. Employers, funders and individuals themselves should encourage, help to develop and enable the take up of opportunities for leadership development and reflective learning through peer support, mentoring, coaching and action learning. At the right stage, opportunities should be made for access to more in depth development programmes, as is common for the identified ‘talent pool’ in the public and private sectors, (eg ACEVO, SSE - School for Social Entrepreneurs, NAVCA, NCVO, Common Purpose, Leadership Trust, Windsor Leadership Trust, Clore Social Leadership Programme).”
The manner in which the world is being governed is changing. Everywhere that we look the mantra is “change”. Nowhere that we look do we ever have the word “change” defined. What are we changing? What are we changing it into, whatever “it” is?
To answer these questions we have to look to the development of the “Third Sector” of which the volunteer sector is a large part.
In Britain the term “Third Sector” really began to be used under the premiership of Tony Blair.
In September 2008, David Blunkett who served in Blair’s cabinet from 1997-2005, wrote a paper for the Fabian Society entitled “Mutual Action, Common Purpose.”
“The Third Sector forms a crucial part of Labour’s mission to build a fairer society”, said the summary. “In this Fabian Freethinking paper, David Blunkett argues that the voluntary, community and not for profit sector have an increasingly important role in supporting people in an uncertain world, and supporting government in enabling people to help themselves.”
In the main body of the paper, Blunkett says this:
This is the “change” that is talked about constantly by modern politicians. This is the “change” we see being implemented right around the world in lockstep, or should that be goose-step, with the development of “leadership” and “behavioural change”.
This is the change which has resulted in various regime changes via the mechanism of NGO inspired colour revolutions. It is the change which is resulting in the demolition of national borders to be replaced with regional parliaments and the Parliaments of Mayors.
This is the change which is ushering in “free trade” agreements such as TTIP, TPP and TISA, which reverse the traditional relationship between people, governments and corporations. To explain: in Common Law countries such as ours, the centuries long established position is that flesh and blood human beings, being alive, have unlimited, unalienable, God given rights. Humans, therefore, have the right to do anything except where it is prohibited by law. Corporations, on the other hand, being dead, have the right to do nothing, unless it is permitted by law. This position is in the process of being reversed, and corporations are being given unlimited rights, while humans have their rights limited: no longer God given, but human given via a blank piece of paper with the words “Human Rights” at the top.
This global “change” process is only possible because the majority of people are kept in the dark about the nature of the change, while a newly selected “elite” are given a good reprogramming, having been “chosen” for Common Purpose style “leadership” training. These chosen were clearly described in a paper by the Centre for Policy Studies, published in early 2000. “The Prime Minister [Tony Blair]”, it said, “has a vision of a New Britain. Central to this vision is the creation of a ‘New Class’, a new elite placed in positions of authority, who will propagate the new spirit of the age and spread the principles of the Third Way across Britain.”
Volunteering, then, for the likes of the Tony Blair, David Blunkett, the Cabinet Office, NCVO and Volunteer’s Week is not about the celebration of individuals donating their time to help solve some of society’s problems. It is about celebrating a vast source of potential “talent” for their “New Class” of global future leaders, placed in positions of authority. If the implications of this aren’t obvious at first, we need to understand the Common Purpose Effect and the changing systems of governance being imposed on an unsuspecting global population.