Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Public Donations

Much has been written about Tony Blair’s motivation in giving the proceeds from the sale of his forthcoming autobiography to the British Legion. To me it seems quite simple. He had no choice. Many voices were being raised against him making money from his dubious decision to go to war, while the servicemen on the ground suffered the consequences. These voices would have grown stronger, and the likelihood of the book becoming an expensive and embarrassing flop was increasing. Tony Blair desperately needs the book to succeed, because what remains of his reputation depends on it.

It isn't often that a forced decision, where no other choices are available, can be seen as brilliant. And yet it's hard to avoid that description in this case. People can now order the book without any fear that in doing so they will be lining Tony Blair's pockets. Sales may go through the roof and the proceeds will benefit people who really deserve and need to benefit, as they will go towards a rehabilitation centre for injured veterans.

Could this set a precedent, with others being shamed into giving vast sums to charity? That might be nice for the charities concerned, but still I hope not. Someone told me that they came second in a quiz and team members won about ten pounds each. The winners were announced first and won double that amount. They gave their money publicly to charity. This put pressure on the second placed team that they could have done without it. It's nice to occasionally win something and to have the enjoyment of it, rather than feeling pressurized and guilty. Giving to charity is good, but it should be because that is what we want to do.

Change the World

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