Society Diary: Pig wrestling and Parliamentary detectives

09 May 2014 Voices

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

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

Porcine pugilism prohibited


Ben Page, chief executive of pollsters Ipsos Mori, started the Acevo Gathering of Social Leaders this week in fine form. Assessing public trust in the sector, he remarked that charities had taken a beating in the press over salaries.

“But that doesn’t mean you should necessarily get defensive,” he said, reaching for a favourite George Bernard Shaw quote. “Arguing with the press is like wrestling a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

Hurd not seen


Regular readers of this column will know Nick Hurd has form for timing his arrival at a conference rather finely.

Hurd was due to speak in the late morning slot at the Gathering, with a panel of sector bigwigs lined up to respond. But at one stage he looked unlikely to arrive, and organisers frantically ordered the panel into the thankless task of responding in advance.

The first speaker, Michael O’Toole, who has the rather grandiose title of crown representative for the sector, and Hurd is not exactly his boss, but definitely somewhere directly above him in the pecking order. So he probably wasn’t lying when he stood up and said, “In some ways I’m glad the minister isn’t here.”

At which Hurd nipped in at the back of the room and quipped “Yes he is”.

He gives the impression he’s been arriving 30 seconds late his entire life. Perhaps during his days at Eton, the teacher would be lounging at his desk in his gown and mortarboard, calling out the register, like a posh version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

“Fanshaw?” Tick.

“Gregory.” Tick.

“Hurd? Hurd? Where is Hurd? Has anyone seen Hurd?”

At which point a nonchalant young proto-minister strolls into the room.

“Don’t worry sir, here.”

Elementary, my peer Watson


Earlier this week Labour announced that it was to consider how to replace the Lobbying Act, a piece of legislation which limits charities’ ability to campaign around election times.

Society Diary was rather taken by the appearance in its inbox of a press release titled “Sherlock to investigate lobbying act”.

It's good to see her on the case, as it were. One can only hope she asks her fellow Labour peer Lord Watson to assist her.

Philanthropists come in many varieties


Society Diary sees that philanthropists Sir Michael and Lady Hintze have made a £5m donation to the Natural History Museum, and has, as a result, had a room containing a Diplodocus skeleton named after him.

Or to put it another way: Hintze means bones.

Dippy on the move


Controversy continues, however. The skeleton – named Dippy, apparently – may not remain in its current location following a revamp of the museum. Museum director Michael Dixon hasn’t actually said so, mind you. But he’s dropped a few hintze.

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