Society Diary: Ignorant men, banned charity cyclists and middle-class guilt

08 Mar 2019 Voices

Merry weekend eve, dear readers! This week Society Diary celebrates International ‘So When Is International Men’s Day?’ Day, the continuing internal battle of Telegraph readers with their conscience, and the right of porn stars to cycle for charity.

This week in middle-class guilt

Diary’s subscription to the Telegraph is worth it for the Moral Money column alone. With this week’s dilemma the Telegraph has, well, reached peak Telegraph. 

“'I give to a homeless charity. Am I wrong to ignore those who beg on the street?” asked a Telegraph reader.

So far so normal. Rich people giving to charity to assuage their own guilt, but not actually wanting to engage with, or even look at the problem, is fairly standard. 

It was the Telegraph’s response that irked Diary. 

"By donating to a charity you are paying for running costs such as staff salaries and office space, meaning less of your money goes directly to those in need. Though you may feel it is the more reliable use of your money, it may not be the most efficient.”

These are some fairly sweeping statements, and if you listen very carefully you can probably hear a few thousand charity workers screaming “I am not an admin cost” at their computer screens right about now. 

But the Telegraph continues: “The fact you give to charity will be little comfort to a rough sleeper who needs a bit of cash to get through the day and for whom the work of charities may seem distant and intangible.” 

To be fair, it doesn’t recommend readers stops their £5 a month donation, but suggests they might also drop some cash to rough sleepers or volunteering (presumably not with a charity that has any volunteer managers though). 

Roll on next week for the reader responses. There are already over 100 comments, which include:

“Best to just look the other way I find.” 

“Here's some advice: try to rein in your huge, virtue-signalling ego and accept that you cannot solve all the ills of the world.” 

“The day it is established that EVERY penny you give a charity does not go into salaries, admin, advertising etc is the day I will start to contribute again. It is absolutely bewildering how much money is 'lost' within the upper echelons of charities - The now defunct Kids charity from a couple of years ago, a prime example......” 

“Many charities are run by BMW driving suits. Wonder where your money goes? Much of it won't get where you think it will in a lot of cases.”

Porn star fundraisers banned from cycling

Further evidence emerged this week that Britain has in fact gone back to the 1970s when the Daily Star published an article headlined ‘Outrage as charity club Porn Pedallers STRIPPED of British Cycling affiliation’.

For those who have not heard of them, the London-based Porn Pedallers Cycling Club (PPCC) this week had its membership with British Cycling revoked after the organisation “discovered what the abbreviation stood for”.

Sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust expressed solidarity with the PPCC, who it said “have raised thousands by getting hot and sweaty on their bikes”.

But according to Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regulations, a team cannot be affiliated or sponsored with a "pornographic product".

Firstly, Diary is disappointed in the lack of basic due diligence conducted by British Cycling here. It can’t have required a huge number of person hours to ask the PPCC “We are pretty confident we know what the CC stands for but could you please help us out with the first two letters?”

Diary is also impressed by the PPCC for not voluntarily revealing its full club name to British Cycling, knowing as it did the UCI’s strict no-porn-in-cycling regulations.

While Diary can’t quite get its head around the link between adult entertainment and cycling, it is worried this is the sort of PC Gone Mad decision that led to Brexit. As the PPCC said, they are “just a cycling club, riding for fun and raising money for the Terrence Higgins Trust”.

Diary just hopes other sporting membership bodies are not so uptight. Perhaps the PPCC could try croquet, fell walking or biathlon, although that last one might be a bit chilly, if some of their pictures are anything to go by.

Charities still benefitting from male ignorance

This International Women’s Day, comedian Richard Herring is once again replying to ignorant men on Twitter who ask with outrage: “When’s International Men’s Day?”, by “polite trolling” them to say it is in fact 19 November.

He is collecting sponsorship via a GoFundMe page and will donate the money raised through this project to domestic violence charity, Refuge. Last year he raised a whopping £150,000 and as Diary writes, he has so far collected more than £50,000 this year.

Fundraisers may be interested to see how the digital age can enable people to circumvent 10km runs, cake sales, and other more traditional revenue activities in favour of sitting at a laptop, tapping away. It really does open up a host of new opportunities, from sponsored Tinder swipeathons to sponsored online banking. As long as it is for a good cause, of course.

While Diary is delighted to see money going to a good cause, it is a little depressed to see that Herring, by all accounts male, telling other men about International Men’s Day has once again become the social media focus of an annual international feminist celebration.


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