Happy Friday, dear readers. Another working week has come and, for the most part, gone. The icy winds of January are slowly leaching into the icier, windier days of February but at least it’s getting a little bit lighter. Imperceptibly, but still.
With the world’s great and good jetting into the pristine Swiss ski-resort of Davos for 2018's World Economic Forum this week, aid charity Oxfam has published a report showing that the world’s richest eight people hold roughly the same wealth as 3.7 billion of the world’s poorest people. Capitalism is a bitch, right? But then again, so is life. We'll get on to that in greater detail later.
This week in charity sector satire: Sharks the big winner, after tell-all interview by alleged Donald Trump lover (and porn star) Stormy Daniels reveals President’s fear of toothed fish; people are crowdfunding to turn Katie Hopkins’ house into a refugee centre and Daily Mail man pledges to no longer donate old books to Oxfam charity shops.
Jump the shark
As the world woke today to the nauseating spectacle of ITV-funded blowhard and sentient ham sandwich Piers Morgan sitting down for a televised tete-a-tete with the mini cheddar-in-chief in Davos; Diary’s stomach pains have been soothed somewhat by some Donald Trump news that broke earlier in the week.
To the BBC first-off this week, and this gem of a story: “Donald Trump's 'hatred of sharks' benefits conservation charities”.
Oh baby. If ever there was a story right in this column’s wheelhouse it’s probably this one. A bit of background, before we really sink our teeth into this story though, for those of you readers who have steered clear of the latest lurid details of Trump’s alleged hush-money-laced affair with an American pornographic performer.
Stormy Daniels, the 39-year-old star of such adult-film classics as Good Will Humping – according to the Daily Mail anyway – has become the centre of the latest Donald Trump scandal after she claimed to have had an affair with the now President of the United States in 2006. Trump was married to the current first lady Melania at the time, who was supposedly mit kindern at the time, as the Germans say.
In a tell all interview originally conducted in 2011, but only published a few weeks ago, Daniels went into fairly graphic detail about her tryst with Donny T. in which she explained the whens, wheres and, unfortunately, the hows of the whole thing. She also told a pal that Trump’s personal lawyer paid her $130,000 to “keep silent” once the real-estate magnate threw his oversized, red, #MAGA hat into the Presidential ring in 2015.
Anyway, we’re getting side-tracked. Amongst the more salacious details in the interview, one thing in particular rather stood out. That was the fact that the now President of the United States’ has a crippling fear of sharks.
As the BBC reports Trump reportedly spent much of his time with Daniels watching documentaries about sharks and reportedly told her “he would never give money to shark charities, adding: ‘I hope all sharks die’”.
This revelation has apparently lead to “an uptick in donations” for shark conservation groups in the US.
Cynthia Wilgran, chief executive of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, told the BBC: “It can certainly be a challenge to raise money for a species that most people fear. We have been receiving donations in Trump’s name since the story was published.”
Indeed, such is the worldwide amusement/genuine concern for sharks, even shark-related conservation charities in the UK have seen a spike in donations. The Shark Trust, based in Plymouth, says it has seen a “noticeable” boost to its income.
According to the BBC, a Shark Trust spokesman said many donations came attached with “passionate message” which were not fit for publication.
Diary can only say if you’ve got a few spare pennies lying around, maybe you should consider being a chum to the Shark Trust. This column really hopes there’s a veritable frenzy of donations. This story is really likely to get jaws wagging. Diary wants to see so many donations that the Shark Trust will be able to afford some sort of Trump-styled gill-ded lift.
Speaking of people who are afraid of things that tend to travel by water – Katie Hopkins news next and a GoFundMe page has been set up to crowdfund £950,000 to purchase the former Daily Mail and LBC provocateur's home in Devon and turn it into a refugee shelter.
Unfortunately, Hopkins was able to sell her home privately earlier this week and, to be fair, the page had only raised £8,713 at the time anyway. Having said that, Scott Walker, the man who set the page up has said he will donate all the money raised to “a charity which helps refugees in Katie Hopkins’ name – which will hopefully infuriate her!”
It’s hard to know though, given that Hopkins has been recently stripped of both her radio show and Daily Mail column for being an appalling and generally unsavoury human being. She’s still got her Twitter account though, if anyone fancies a deep dive down the far-right rabbit-hole that may make you lose the will to live.
While the campaign didn’t succeed in its stated objective, it’s good to see something come from all this. Unless of course the person running the page disappears with nearly £9,000 of other people’s money and then the whole things turns into a Charity Commission, regulatory cluster-flip…
Leaf it out!
Finally, Diary must turn once more on the Daily Mail, and its columnist Stephen Glover. We danced this dance last week – the dog whistles, the bizarre ramblings against “the PC brigade” and female suffrage – but hey, content is content.
This week, the Daily Mail and Glover in particular have turned against Oxfam, following its report highlighting the crippling financial disparity in the world. Glover has proudly and bravely set out his stall and said he will NO LONGER DONATE OLD BOOKS TO THE OXFAM CHARITY SHOP!
While Diary can only imagine Glover’s column has spurred Oxfam’s senior management team into a crisis budgetary meeting – “How will we survive without being able to sell on Stephen Glover’s paperback Richard Sharpe and Horatio Hornblower novels?” – it must also ask, seriously, what’s going on with the Daily Mail?
Are there no more scantily-clad pseudo-celebrities on package holidays in the Mediterranean left to photograph from the bushes and criticise for looking under/overweight? Has no-one from Coronation Street been caught smoking a cigarette and looking drunk at some ungodly hour outside of a nightclub? Kim Kardashian just had a kid, you know that right? They called it Chicago! That should be enough for at least three weeks of churn and burn content for the rabid sidebar consumers.
Can’t we just leave charities alone, for a bit? That way this column doesn’t have to read your columnists writing this nonsense and then regurgitate it back to its audience which pollutes their minds and the cycle of hurt continues, unbroken, around and around and around and…
Anyway, read Glover’s column or don’t. Personally Diary wouldn’t recommend it. It obviously manages to brazenly criticise Mark Goldring, the charity’s chief executive, for earning over £120,000 a year while somehow unquestionably defending free market capitalism; slams the charity for “subscribing” to a “leftist, Corbynista view of the world” and calls it hidebound and ideological. Something I’m sure Glover is more than qualified to say, given that ‘hidebound’ is likely his favourite form of interior decoration.
Oh, and ex-charities minister and man who briefly forgot his own name while driving an election 'Battle Van', Rob Wilson has been getting in on the act in the Telegraph as well. What is it with these Tories?