Society diary: Batman the philanthropist and Katie Hopkins the accidental fundraiser

24 Apr 2015 Voices

Our weekly round-up of outlandish and interesting information collected from the corners of the charity sector.

Batman, 1966

Our weekly round-up of outlandish and interesting information collected from the corners of the charity sector.

But I like the pointy ears

Earlier this week, Diary came across a cartoon strip which held up Batman as archetypal of the problems with philanthropy. This is something which has been exercising Diary’s mind as well, to be honest, so it seems like we should examine this a bit more.

So Bruce Wayne’s a billionaire with a profound social conscience, right? He wants to reduce crime and improve living standards for ordinary citizens. Is it really the best use of his time to dress up in a bullet-proof bat suit and go around fighting individual muggers?

I mean, it’s obvious Batman’s not terribly well. It’s not the act of a rational man to dress up in a costume with ears and leap off rooftops. But unfortunately he’s behaving irrationally when it comes to the cost-benefit basis of his actions, too.

After all, how much did the Batmobile cost? And the Batplane? And all those flying lessons? How much did it cost to build the Batcave under Wayne Mansion? How much did he squander on the playboy lifestyle he uses as cover? It’s almost as if he knows nothing about impact measurement at all.

If he used all that cash to endow a programme designed to reduce recidivism, he could cut the crime rate far more. And he would attract rather generous tax breaks, too. Those tax breaks do not, so far as we are aware, accrue to the act of buying experimental military technology and painting it black.

The point is this. So long as the philanthropist is the sole arbiter of how the money is spent, we will continue to endure sub-optimal solutions to social problems imposed by outsiders with insufficient knowledge of the issue. We must gently but firmly encourage the generous millionaires of the world to think more seriously about letting us spend their cash instead.

Sorry to give her any screen time

While we’re on the subject of a waste of cash, it’s hard to look beyond Katie Hopkins, the Sun columnist who increasingly resembles nothing so much as a squeaky balloon animal inflated only by the oxygen of publicity, and recently inflated herself to the point of bursting on the subject of migrants, who she seems to think should be machine-gunned, or something. Diary did not exercise itself to find out why.

So Diary was rather taken with Chloe Madeley, this week. Madeley had already endeared herself to much of the Twitter-going public by posting countless pictures of her buff gym body while clad only in her smalls, but she endeared herself to many others when she said that you can automatically assume you’re doing okay if you think the opposite to Katie Hopkins.

But of course first prize in the Hopkins-baiting stakes must go to Izzy Saunders, who’s channelled our well-worn disgust at this bloated wind-up merchant into something worthwhile, and set up a JustGiving page in her name to raise cash to help migrants in the Mediterranean.

Finally, Katie Hopkins achieves something useful.

13km isn't far

Finally, in the lead-up to the London Marathon, we move on to those who are going the extra mile for charity. In the case of runners in the Bournemouth Bay Run, a 10k for the British Heart Foundation, it was actually 1.86411 miles, when a marshal went to the loo and left 300 folk without signage. All of them went the long way round.

The event sounds like utter chaos. Apparently at one point an elderly woman drove onto the course by mistake and started flashing her lights at runners.

Keep on scooting

Finally, on a similar subject, well done to Andy McIntosh from Strathaven near Glasgow, who’s planning to beat the record for driving from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a mobility scooter.

Diary is continually astonished at what people have already done before, but apparently there’s a record for this – 24 days and nine hours. It sounds like a colossally long waste of time, but it’s for a good cause, so we’re not allowed to complain too much.

McIntosh is a former corporal who developed a vascular condition after leaving the army. He is planning to drive a TGA Breeze scooter the length of Britain, according to a news item on Ssafa's website, the forces charity – one of five McIntosh is raising cash for.

Ssafa did tell us a lot of nerdy stuff about how good a scooter it is, but we haven’t included that here. We figure either the guys at Ssafa are really into their electric mobility vehicles, or TGA made them include that stuff in exchange for a free scooter. Either way, it has been excised to make this piece pithier. We do not like to extract the pith in this column.

Anyway, good luck Andy. And keep a look-out for marshals with dicky bladders.

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