Well, here we are again. The festive period is now nought but a hazy, hangover-inducing memory. There’s little left to show for any of that surfeit of Yuletide merriment but a four pack of M&S pants, a hardback book you’ll never read, and the lingering awkwardness left over from that fight you had about Brexit with your uncle – “oh it’s just about National Identity is it, Stanley?”
Most of us have now been back at work since Wednesday and as such have been forced once again to come to terms with the cold, harsh realities of living in a world dominated by increasingly populist, neoliberal, allegedly free-market conservatives.
We are but faceless drones, plugging into our meaningless nine to fives in order to earn our monetary stipends. All of us dutifully paying our taxes so that the government can squirrel it all away for no deal Brexit emergency medicine ferries and putting warships to sea off the coast of Dover to keep a handful of foreigners out. All this despite the fact that our healthcare, education and local council systems are being allowed to slowly disintegrate away to nothing before our eyes.
Welcome to 2019. It’s much the same as 2018, just slightly further along the road to our imminent plunge into collective squalor, despair and irrelevance.
Oh yeah, happy Christmas and all that too.
Anyway, this week in charity sector satire: Veganuary, the dedicated, registered charity, aimed at turning people vegan for the first month of the year has been depressingly silent on Greggs’s Piers Morgan rage-inducing vegan sausage roll; a “disgusting, sexist collage” placed in a charity shop window, and goodnight, sweet prince.
A meating of minds
Circling back to the topic of Christmas, this column doesn’t know about yours, but Diary’s was pretty heavy on the meat. Turkey; ham; duck fat potatoes; pigs in blankets, bacon in the sprouts and beef dripping in the tea. Grim.
The point is, for many of us, the festive period is one of excess and decadence. The fine people over at registered charity Veganuary know this and, as a result, have been lying in wait over December, smugly rubbing their unsullied and delicate hands together at the prospect of ensnaring more carnivores in their ever-expanding gossamer web of ethical, plant-based dietary choices.
Putting Veganuary to the side for a second, we must move on to the somewhat tangential, but still distinctly vegan-related news, that as of yesterday Greggs – the UK’s favourite everyman bakery chain – announced that it would now be selling vegan sausage rolls following an online petition which garnered over 20,000 signatures last year.
The marketing for this new product launch is essentially worth the admission price alone, in case you haven’t seen it.
Needless to say this news was met with a mixture of anaemic, millennial joy and sweaty, red-faced, gammony rage in equal parts.
Speaking as we are of sweaty, red-faced, gammony rage, here’s Piers Morgan’s reaction:
Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns. https://t.co/QEiqG9qx2G— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 2, 2019
Fair play for the turn of phrase "PC-ravaged clowns" though.
And so we return, full-circle, to Veganuary, where we started. The charity’s website newsfeed is filled to the brim with everything from vegan recipes, to announcements from major chains about new vegan-friendly products. And yet, on this most monumental of meat-free moments, Veganuary has been strangely, almost unforgivably, silent. The charity’s not even tweeted about it – although, Veganuary’s account has retweeted a single tweet about the vegan sausage roll, as of time of publishing.
“So, what?” Diary hears you ask. “Oh, Society Diarist,” this column hears you tut. “You spend too much time on the internet and Twitter. It’s turning your brain to tepid mush and completely rerouting all the dopamine receptors in your brain with blue light and bad thoughts."
That’s probably true but, frankly, Veganuary owes it to vegans everywhere to, at the very least, quote tweet Piers Morgan with some sort of salty and or downright rude reply. For too long charities have let mainstream media puffins like Morgan walk all over them. Enough is enough.
Diary’s not vegan, but it would gladly choke down a thousand vegan sausage rolls while standing astride the weeping form of Piers Morgan, than let one more Boomer with too much time and social media followers on his hands ruin something this pure.
Also, the impotent fury of men like Morgan, is very much the fuel which powers Diary.
Won’t somebody think of the children?
To Peterborough now, and the news that a “distasteful collage has sparked outrage after it mysteriously ended up in a charity shop window” over the holidays, “nestled next to the Christmas tree”.
Right, before we press on with this story, and draft in Scotland Yard, DCI Luther, the ghost of Sherlock Holmes and one of either John Malkovich or David Suchet’s iterations of Hercule Poirot to crack the case, Diary’s going to go full Cluedo here. J’accuse the volunteers!
The distasteful collage in question, described as “the work” by Cambridgeshire Live, was apparently “emblazoned with the words: ’30 Reasons Why a Beer is Better than a Woman’” and was discovered by “horrified onlookers in the window of registered homelessness charity Unite 4 Humanity” on 28 December.
Indeed the onlookers were so horrified they were described as such multiple times in the article. And, apparently, one didn’t even need to see the offending collage in person to be thoroughly horrified. As Cambridge Live itself pointed out: “It led one reader to contact Cambridgeshire Live from Australia to say she was "bloody disgusted".
And yes, that particular reader is right in the most Australian way possible. It is bloody disgusting.
The charity has now apologised and plans to “tighten security and protocols” in the shop in future. The shop manager Shaz Yousaf has even gone so far as to claim the “artwork” was placed there by a member of the public.
Oh… seems this detective stuff isn’t so easy after all.
Finally, and briefly, we must turn to a little self-referential farewell.
When this column was first conceived in 2014, the identity of the Society Diarist was intended to be kept a top priority secret in order to allow the columnist to rove amongst the good folk of the UK charity sector with impunity. Silently watching, waiting, and hearing all. Ready to strike from the shadows with its satirical eye and poison pen.
Then, along came a certain someone who took up the mantle and, instead of putting Diary to its intended ends, decided instead to write incredibly long, rambling, personal screeds against the state of the world, often barely bothering to link back to anything even remotely charity-related in the process. He then readily outed himself as the columnist on Twitter. For likes. Because, ultimately, his life is fairly hollow and meaningless.
Now that person is leaving. So let this diarist say, from the bottom of his cold, little heart, that it’s been a real pleasure churning out this nonsense for a handful of dedicated readers every week on a Friday. We've had some good times and some bad. There was also the incident with Jodie Marsh...
Fear not though because, much like Prometheus chained to his rock, or the Stig, this column will return with the dawning of another day; specifically next Friday.
Society Diary is dead. Long live Society Diary!