Our government, in the shape (if geometry permits the existence of such a shape) of Frankie Maudlin, evidently believes that the word 'philanthropy' means 'emotional blackmail'.
The astoundingly idiotic idea of guilt-tripping us into giving to the generic term 'charity' whenever we engage in any financial transaction and pretending the money will really go to charity rather than Frankie Maudlin's expense account has already been covered by Snowolf, AlJahom, Subrosa and others.
So all I can add is a future conversation at a till somewhere.
Till operator (Drone): Would you like to give your change to charity?
Leg-iron (for it is me): Which one?
LI: Which charity? Some I support, some I don't. So which one are you collecting for?
Drone: Well... no. It just goes to charity.
LI: Charity? You mean it goes to some woman named Charity? What am I paying her for? I hope she's good at it, whatever it is.
Drone (with silly giggle): No, it goes to charity. Good causes. You know.
LI: If I knew, I wouldn't be asking. So, specifically, which good causes are you collecting for?
Drone: I'm not collecting, I'm just asking.
LI: You are asking for money for some nebulous entity called charity. That's collecting.
Drone (getting properly sullen): Look, if you don't want to...
LI (who is not going to let this game end so easily): I didn't say I didn't want to. I'm only trying to clarify what I'm supporting before I part with the cash.
Drone: I don't know. The government gets the money.
LI: Right. So it's a tax then and nothing to do with charity at all. You're a tax collecter looking for voluntary tax payments.
Drone: No, it's for charity.
LI: Who told you that? The government?
Drone: um.... yes.
LI: And who gets the money? The government?
Drone: (blushes and stares at till)
LI: So you are a sucker who thinks you are collecting for a mysterious thing called 'charity' but doesn't know what it is you're asking me to support, on the word of the people who have asked you to collect the money but who haven't told you why they want it. Is that a fair assessment of the situation?
Drone: Here's your change.
LI: Thank you. Have a nice day.
I do give to charity. Every November I actively seek out poppy sellers because I want to give them money. That is a good cause. I always put money in the RNLI box. That is a good cause. I have a monthly direct-debit to the cancer charity that helped my niece when she went through leukaemia treatment. She survived, if anyone is interested, and will be declared 'clear' next March. I feel my small monthly contribution is not enough repayment, but can't currently afford to increase it.
What I will not do is give money to a government department calling itself 'charity' with no actual definition of what they plan to fund. For all I know I'd be funding ASH or that hideous Shenker bloke or the Salty Men or the Fatbusters or the Climatologists or more likely, Frankie Maudlin's retirement fund.
Every time I am asked I will say 'NO' and I will say it without a trace of guilt, but with immense pride. I am proud to deny funding to the scum who want to control my life and at the same time, I will continue to be philanthropic (as funds allow) towards causes I believe in and trust.
So if you are ever behind me in a supermarket queue, expect a delay. I will either take the time to count out the exact change, to the penny, or some variant of that conversation above will take place.
Charity used to mean something, It used to be about people helping people.
When my last boss took early retirement (like he had a choice, the whole department was made redundant) he said this in his goodbye speech:
"When I started in science, we were chasing knowledge. Now it feels as if we are just chasing money."
Many charities could say the same. Many are no longer concerned with their original objectives to anything like the extent they are concerned with chief executive pay and perks. They are businesses with a mission statement and corporate policy, hiding from the taxman under 'We are charity' pleas. I am already paying for this shit through my taxes. I am not paying more.
I leave you with an appropriate Alan Price tune, which has more connection with the real soul of charity than filth like ASH or the RSPCA could ever understand.
This man should be hailed as a prophet.