Society Diary: Exclusively revealing that there will ‘very shortly’ be charity news

04 Sep 2020 Voices

Summer is over, schools are back (for now), and Diary desperately needs a nap, even though it has only been a four-day week. 

Breaking news: There will be news 

Regular readers will know that Diary has developed an obsession with uncovering what is in Danny Kruger’s recommendations for the future role of charities in society.  

From the start the review has been a bit on the, let’s say, unconventional side of policy-making – someone who was not the minister for civil society was asked to find out what charities needed. Charities wearily lined up to say the same things they have been saying for months (“pandemic = no fundraising and trading = charities going bust”) and some things they have been saying for years (“please fixing commissioning” and “when can we have the £1bn in dormant assets we were promised, it would be massively helpful”). 

The deadline came and went and not a peep from the government. Then, there was a bizarre interview with Times Radio where Danny K seemed to forget he hand already handed in his homework. 

While Diary was complaining about these events and, let’s face it, not getting very far in finding out when the review will be made public, one of our more diligent colleagues filed a freedom of information request. 

With no respect for journalistic etiquette, Diary can reveal that the government will in fact publish the report “very shortly”.

Indeed, the government has declined to release the report in response to the FoI request because it will publish it anyway. “The report you have requested is due to be published very shortly on” 

Obviously, it would be irresponsible to share a copy of the report now, the response adds: “It is our view that, whilst there may be an interest in early sight of this report, there is also a strong public interest to ensure that any information released has been thoroughly reviewed by a number of parties to ensure it fully meets its intended objectives in the interest of the public, prior to publication.” 
Of course, in government speak “very shortly” is quite a commitment. Diary is naturally holding its breath. 

Here’s Diary’s handy guide to government timescales: 

  • “In due course” means “this will be months away while we hash things out”. 
  • “Shortly” means “maybe within a month”. 
  • “Imminently” means “Sometime this week, probably”.
  • “At pace” is meaningless.

Strops and fundraising 

Elsewhere, we are fairly used to our colleagues complaining loudly and throwing public strops here at Civil Society Towers, so it was nice to see the best footballer in the world following our lead.

Lionel Messi has spent the summer looking very sad about being paid squillions of Euros a week by Barcelona, and is busy raising his eyebrows suggestively at other football clubs, who might pay him a similar sum of squillions to play in a different city wearing a slightly differently-coloured top.

So where might Little Lionel make his new home?

The best suggestion so far has come from Germany, where a Stuttgart FC fan called Tim Artmann has set up a GoFundMe page, in the hope that his fellow fans will pitch in generously and attract Lionel to play for them.

Diary will be deeply disappointed if this does not become a bidding war. Fundraising platforms could take a short break from sending rude press releases about each other and force through an unlikely transfer. Our Stuttgart fan is looking to raise €800m but why aim for something so modest? 

Maybe €1bn will get Messi to Millwall? What about €1.2bn to get him turning out for Doncaster next year?

The good news is that, should the Stuttgart fundraising attempt somehow fail, the cash committed will end up with water and sanitation charity Viva Con Agua.

Anyway, by this morning the intrepid Mr Artmann had raised just under €6,500. This is not a bad effort, but Diary always listened carefully during maths GCSE and can confirm that the figure is less than €800m. That water charity should wait by their phone.