Thursday, September 25, 2008

Switching Sides

This week I make my first appearance as a columnist in Third Sector. Unfortunately it has meant I have had to say goodbye to the excellent people at Social Enterprise Magazine for which I have written for two and a half years. Telling Tim West, the Editor, that I was leaving wasn't good. He's one of the good guys who gave me my first break as a writer and I felt I was letting him down by leaving. Which, of course, I am. My preference was to do both TS and SEM but Haymarket (who own TS), insist that I had to choose. Considering they don't pay their writer this is a big ask but I can also see their point. SEM is a rival, of sorts, and they don't want to share a contributor.

So why jump ship? Well, the main reason is that the readership of TS is very large indeed in the third sector and, indeed, in the social enterprise sector generally. The column will be longer, more prominent and will enable me to speak on a wider range of matters than those linked to social enterprise (not that Tim ever particularly restricted me if I am honest). The final reason is that I want to speak directly to the charitable sector about a lot of things I believe it is getting wrong. Badly wrong. My first piece talks about how the sector needs to act now if it is to avoid major trauma in 2-3 years as the economy sours and the public finances deteriorate. I have plenty of others lined up. I won't be popular with some people but I think the sector needs someone telling it how it is.

My only regret is to leave a fast-improving Social Enterprise Magazine. I am compiling a short-list of excellent writers to suggest to Tim who, I hope, will still want to speak to me. I have offered to write occasionally for him on any subject at any time and I hope he takes it up.

There will, I am sure, be the odd eyebrow raised at this `defection' from SEM to a magazine focussed more on the charitable sector but, for the record, no slight is intended. My reasons, I hope, are clear.

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