Tens of thousands of people who became excited by the new government's 'Big Society' plans to run the country on volunteer labour are this week unsure what exactly it is they are meant to be doing, who they should be signing up with, and when it is they will be able to take over the running of the country.
"I was first in line for this whole volunteering to do stuff thing," said Valerie Plank of Surrey. "I even emailed Clegg to thank him for supporting Cameron in introducing it. I thought he needed some encouragement. But no one has got in contact with me about it. No one has told me what to do. I thought there would be a signing-up board, like when people signed up to the army to fight in the wars. But now I don't know. I'm not feeling so excited any more. I might join the local stitch'n'bitch instead."
Timothy Notts from Canterbury agrees. "I had plans for the local hospital," he said. "I thought we'd be running it within a few months. But no sign of movement yet. I'm still not even sure who does run the hospital but I know it isn't me."
Up and down the country there are signs of discontent among the once eager hordes of would-be volunteers. Gerald Johnson of the National Association for Patronising Volunteers says the government has got its strategy all wrong. "Once you get the volunteers on board you've got to make them feel wanted. You've got to make them feel they're doing something important. Instead we've got this situation where people who thought they would be in charge of their local streetworks department are still gazing in despair at the potholes outside their homes."
He went on to say that the government plans may well fail if the enthusiasm of volunteers can't be maintained. "It's hard enough getting people to do these jobs when you pay them," he said. "Frankly if they're offering to do it for free you shouldn't have them sitting around kicking their heels. Let them loose Prime Minister! Let them run free!"
A government spokesman had nothing at all to say on the matter.