The British are some of the most charitable people on Earth — if you measure their charitableness according to how much money they fork out for good causes.
Today marks BBC Children in Need Day. There will be the customary telethon, razzmatazz, fevered fundraising, spinning figures and, if all goes to carefully-laid plan, ta-da, a record sum of money amassed.
Children in Need is the perfect good cause. It has all the attributes. Brits are sentimental — they can’t resist a tug at the heartstrings. They’re suckers for sensation (expect lots of oohs and aahs). They succumb to celebrity endorsement. They are bedazzled by glamour. It’s actually not all that difficult to whip up a lot of heightened emotion where sick children are concerned. Who could possibly doubt that this is an excellent cause?
Fundraising is a highly professionalised business. But fundraisers can only work their magic if a cause has all the magic ingredients: sentiment, sensation, celebrity and star quality. Compassion has its no-go areas. Where cancer is concerned, boobs will always trump balls.
What price, then, Oldies in Need Day?