Happy New Year, dear readers! Society Diary hopes Santa delivered everything you wanted in the correct size and your festive celebrations were full of good cheer, delicious food and the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special. Diary also hopes the first week back at work hasn’t been too painful, and that you’ve given up any vague attempts at New Years resolutions. But for us heroic folk in the charity sector, the season of goodwill is all year round.
This week, we travel to the United States for the first charity story that’s caught Diary’s eye. American football quarterback Andy Dalton has received over $315,000 (£233,000) in donations to a foundation run by him and his wife, Jordan, from Buffalo Bills fans after Dalton indirectly helped the team qualify for a playoff place on New Year’s Eve.
Update: 14,000 donors, over $315,000. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/uKHgF6uqS1— Andy Dalton (@andydalton14) 5 January 2018
Dalton delivered a last-minute 49-yard touchdown pass (whatever that means) for the Cincinnati Bengals to secure victory over the Bills’ rivals for the playoff spot, the Baltimore Ravens. As well as the money donated to the Daltons’ charity, which provides services for kids who are ill or have special needs, Buffalo restaurant chain Duff’s is sending 1,440 chicken wings to the Bengals as a thank you. Diary just hopes the Bengals aren’t doing Veganuary or, if they are, that the wings are redistributed to local charities to avoid them becoming food waste.
No charity, no likey
Someone who’s had a less positive start to the year is the nation’s favourite dating show host, Paddy McGuinness. Back in September, McGuinness successfully bid £600 on eBay for a dinner with former Coronation Street actor and children’s TV star, Derek Griffiths, believing that the money would go to an autism charity. However, this week McGuinness tweeted that he had been scammed by a fake twitter account for the actor and was reporting the person behind it to Greater Manchester police. Diary is charmed both by McGuinness’s initial genuine delight at winning the dinner with his hero and is touched by the pathos-laden realisation.
Morning not a good start to 2018. I paid over £600 to a supposed Autism charity for the below. Turns out this sack of shit @LewisCHumphreys has been scamming money off people under the guise of charity for a long time. Next stop for me is @gmpolice to report this scum bag. https://t.co/4fUIxDHXrs— Paddy McGuinness (@PaddyMcGuinness) 2 January 2018
Twitter and eBay have suspended the relevant accounts.
One civil society figure who’s caused a stir this week is Toby Young, director of free schools charity the New Schools Network.
Young, who made his name as a journalist, was appointed on Monday as one of 15 non-executive directors of the Department for Education’s newly-created Office for Students, a new regulator of higher education institutions intended to champion students’ interests.
Many commentators were outraged by Young’s appointment, arguing that he was underqualified for the role and that some of his publicly-shared views made him unsuitable.
In 2012, Young shared many of his thoughts about the education system in an article for the Spectator, including this charming passage:
“Inclusive. It’s one of those ghastly, politically correct words that have survived the demise of New Labour. Schools have got to be ‘inclusive’ these days. That means wheelchair ramps, the complete works of Alice Walker in the school library (though no Mark Twain) and a Special Educational Needs Department that can cope with everything from dyslexia to Münchausen syndrome by proxy. If Gove is serious about wanting to bring back O-levels, the government will have to repeal the Equalities Act because any exam that isn’t ‘accessible’ to a functionally illiterate troglodyte with a mental age of six will be judged to be ‘elitist’ and therefore forbidden by Harman’s Law.”
Lefty milquetoast snowflake George Osborne even posted an editorial column from his London Evening Standard, which questioned whether Young’s appointment was wise, considering his comments.
However the article says Young’s charity work means questions about his lack of qualifications should be dismissed.
“We want people with a range of experience on the boards of our public bodies”, it says, seeming to imply the range should include none. It is not surprising the Standard has this recruitment policy considering its appointment of Osborne as editor last year.
Diary’s breath remains bated as it waits to see what level of experience is required to be the Charity Commission chair, with William Shawcross’s successor yet to be announced.
But Shawcross is not gone just yet. He turned up on the Today programme guest-edited by Prince Harry to talk about the crucial role the royal family has played in the charity sector... Diary thinks. The details are a bit fuzzy though as like most people Diary spent twixmas shuffling between the sofa and the kitchen in strange zombie-like state that can only be induced by overconsumption of cheese, mince pies and the odd glass of red wine.