Monday, June 14, 2004

If charity begins at home, where oh where does it end?

I had an afternoon to myself today - twas rather lovely and all as it turned out. I usually have an assistant with me - many of whom are just fab - as without one I'm not that useful really, and my activity level is pretty low. But now and again a couple of hours pottering about suits me pretty darn well.

I had a good old wander about - did some un-shopping, and lurked about the market. I wanted to get a coffee. I'm not much of a coffee drinker really - which makes ethical refreshments somewhat easier. However today the temptation of an iced latte was overwhelming.

I don't live in a particularly accessible city - to put it another way when I meet other wheelchair users and tell them where I live they laugh at me. A lot.

So I ended up in Starbucks. With a Big Issue. I wonder if the two cancel each other out? My Best Woman, my best friend was up at the weekend. She's a business consultant working in ethical and social issues and tells me that Starbucks are working hard on making their coffee fairer. So I didn't feel too bad. However, they still come into shopping centres and force out all the competition, and they are American. Although, as far as I can tell, didn't back the bush campaign. But they were the only place where I could get a cold drink by going to the counter, and where I didn't need to pick it out of a high cooler. I do carrying, ish, but don't do picking up. Still after that it went OK despite an overfull drink - made me happy - i.e. free stuff - and I am sure it will eventually come out of my trousers......

So I enjoyed sitting there with my Big Issue. I love the Big Issue - its a good idea well executed and actually helps people. Plus - -its excellent to read. I get frustrated though with the amount of leaflets found within. I don't really see the point. I mean I do read them, and one of them has got my goat enough for this blog entry - does that mean they work? Actually no it doesn't - I've seen this particular advert elsewhere.

Anyway. I saw another advert for child sponsorship in the developing world. I'm quite keen - but there's so many issues with it though. I'm a bit uncomfortable with charities, for a start. I don't really think that they are necessary, I think a better strategy is just to have a government which doesn't mess up the rest of the world. And enables the people it governs not to either. I think everything currently funded by strategies should be funded by better fairer taxation.

BUT, and there's always a but, isn't there, that isn't the situation, and it isn't likely to be so at present. So shouldn't those of us with a little (and it is a little) spare cash help out?

But - here it is again - is child sponsorship a good thing? I suspect not, and that contributing to a general charity would be better. Its amazing how writing these things out focuses the mind.

Oh - and what's the appropriate term? developing world? Third World is patronising, but I'm not sure developing world is any better? After all, it suggests that they have catching up to do, and really in some ways, are we any better?
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