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Society Diary: Superhero pets, disappointed footy fans and drugs (again)

12 Jul 2019 Voices

An enthusiastic participant at this year's #PAWmicon

Photo credit: Helen Woodward, Animal Center

Happy Friday, readers. What a weekend lies ahead of us - the sun is shining and England are on the verge of winning their first ever Cricket World Cup. After the Lionesses’ near-miss a few weeks ago, this could be the tournament that finally brings this country together, heals this divided country and alienates further the other nations that make up our United Kingdom. Before that fun on Sunday, treat yourself to Society Diary’s charity highlights.


Diary has been across the pond with the yanks, showing off our darling little cockapoo in superhero garb at PAWmicon 2019.

Helen Woodward Animal Center were the geniuses behind PAWmicon, which rivals non-profit comic convention San Diego Comic-Con International for the not-so-cute two-legged pups on the West Coast. 

Our fur baby loves everything “pup culture” and came first in every prize category – Super Heroes, Super Villains, Cartoon Canines, Pop Culture Pups and Diary’s favourite win, Dynamic Duos.

If we missed you at the convention, or your pooch is still out saving the world along with you charity superheroes, Tweet us your photos to @CivilSocietyUK. 

Diary is giving out more doggy treats to the reader with the best costume.

That’s not my name

As a diehard football fan, this odd-numbered summer had been a challenge for Diary, with the England men’s national team’s lacklustre performance in the damp squid tournament the European Nations League hardly matching last year’s World Cup excitement.

Thank Maradona’s hand we’ve had the Women’s World Cup, Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations to tide us over before the Premier League restarts next month.

But the Africa Cup of Nations has led to one charity having an unexpected new band of followers. Fans wishing to connect with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on social media have mistakenly been contacting the Charities Aid Foundation (also CAF). As the charity’s head of policy Rhodri Davies complained this week: “During every year's African Cup of Nations @cafonline's social media team spend a LOT of time politely informing enraged football supporters that we aren't in fact the Confederation of African Football.”

This Twitter post led the humanitarian charity Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to share a similar grievance that it is often mistaken for the Manchester Airport Group (MAG), getting calls intended for the other organisation daily. To be fair, the charity does not help differentiate itself from the airport by being itself based in Manchester. Diary appreciates the difficulty facing charities in moving premises, but perhaps if an opportunity to move to a city not beginning with M were to arise they should consider it.

The classic charity abbreviation mix-up is of course WWF being confused with America’s largest wresting entertainment company. It must be a blessing for the charity that the wrestling firm changed its name to WWE before social media took off.

Meanwhile, Diary’s Civil Society Media colleagues sometimes, perhaps understandably, get confused with the Office for Civil Society and find themselves having to disappoint callers that think it has any governing power.

War on drugs is bad, says charity* 

A press release from a charity that really caught Diary’s attention this week: a warning from Christian Aid against the “war on drugs” which is apparently having “potentially disastrous consequences for some of the world’s poorest”. 

This was music to Diary’s ears, especially as our prime reason for eschewing the media trope of journalists being a coke-addled drunks are concerns about some fairly shady practices in the supply chain. 

Christian Aid’s report warns against eradicating croplands and criminalising people involved, because for some people they are the only means of survival. 

Karol Balfe, who leads Christian Aid’s peacebuilding work, said: “We need a clearer, more rounded picture of how illicit economies really work, and the costs and benefits, before we can meaningfully explore ways in which drugs policy and development policy could be brought together in a complementary way to tackle these issues and accelerate our progress towards the SDGs.”

We’re looking forward to a time when, after securing global legalisation across the board, Christian Aid launches its own range of fairly traded magic mushrooms.  

*Editors have asked Diary to point out that it is possible that there is some wishful thinking in our interpretation of an important and serious contribution to a difficult subject.

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