Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Charity begins at home

donation_can_hands_1600_wht_5539Not strictly true any more is it. Although you are encouraged to contribute to charities from the comfort of your own home via telephone or even an app.

There’s some talk about “charity fatigue” this year. Well we’re just coming out of a recession (allegedly) but most of us aren’t see any change in our standard of living. Except of course for the very rich like Chief Executives who on average last year were paid £4.5 million (up 21% from the previous year), top premier league footballers who earn that much in a week. OK I exaggerate, they only get paid half of what CEOs get (plus image rights and other perks), and popular entertainers.

One thing these three groups have in common is that most of them don’t like paying their taxes and many footballers and entertainers have been involved in aggressive tax avoidance schemes. Remember Gary Barlow?

So why should we listen to these entertainers when they come on TV asking us to donate to charities such as Children in Need (which raised £30+ million) or buy the updated Band Aid 30 single?

It seems that all the people involved in these events are promoting themselves. I want to know if they got paid to appear on Children in Need and if they contributed themselves (and if they did how much)? Maybe they didn’t get paid and it was just a way to promote themselves and get a tax write-off.

As for Band Aid 30, these are all very rich people and could all afford to donate a million pounds and not bother the rest of us. But they probably want to hang on to their money (I still don’t understand how Bob Geldof got so rich on the basis of one hit single with the Boomtown Rats and how he can afford to go globetrotting – unless the charities are paying for it).

But whatever these self-publicists are doing or not doing, the truth is that we are a generous nation. More than 28 million Britons make charitable donations every year, raising an annual total of about £10 billion, according to the Charities Aid Foundation, but the economic downturn took its toll and almost one in five Britons say they gave less to charity after the recession in 2008.

It all leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Children in Need raises money for disadvantaged children but they usually aren’t starving as in other parts of the world and I’d rather see it go to medical research.

As for the Banda Aid 30 single raising money for Ebola; it’s a terrible disease but let’s put it in perspective.

It’s killed just over 5,000 people in 6 African countries. In three of those -Nigeria, Senegal and the Congo – the outbreaks have been controlled an eliminated.

In the UK 60,000 people die each year from the direct effects of dementia (and it’s the leading killer of women in the UK).

Cancer killed 162,000 people in the UK in 2012

Malaria killed 627,000 people world-wide in 2012.

Given the scale of the disease and the fact that the government has sent teams to build hospitals and train medical & nursing staff over there ask yourself why they chose Ebola over these other more wide-spread causes of death. As Virginia Blackburn said today in the Daily Express, these are muslim countries that don’t recognise Xmas anyway.

Finally I’m with the Sky News reporter who asked Geldof a simple question about the wealthy people in the studio. viz if they all paid their taxes in the right way would we need to have a fundraising single? Geldof’s swearing led to the interview being pulled. Was that deliberate obfuscation? We’ll never know because of the wimps at Sky.