Tony Blair’s amazing charitable donation
Hm. I hate to be cynical, and I hate to think that I’m being unduly influenced by my dislike of Tony Blair, but…I don’t altogether share the awe quite a lot of Labour members seem to feel about his donation to the Royal British Legion. I don’t in the least doubt it’s A Good Thing as far as it goes, in that it’s all going to a Good Cause, etc, etc, but I view his motives as a little less philanthropic than others do.
To begin with – his wealth’s been estimated as being between £20 million and £60 million. A man with that much money can afford to spare a few million. It’s the equivalent of normal people taking out a direct debit to a charity, or making a one-off donation of a £1000, say. Still a good thing, but I’d be far more impressed if, in following with his supposedly Christian principles, he took nearly all his money and gave it away, leaving him with…say…£1 million? I’m sure he could scrape by.
Secondly, the whole thing smacks of a publicity stunt. I can’t help feeling that more people will buy the book if they feel their money is going to a worthy cause than if it’s going into Tony Blair’s pockets. So his sales will be right up, too. Why is he making such a big thing about the donation? Once again, going back to his Christianity, the whole gesture sounds a bit like praying on street corners, or that pharisee who cast his eyes to heaven and asked why he was so much better than everyone else. (Sorry to harp on about his religion, but it’s something that means a lot to me. I mean…I’m C of E myself, but still.)
Then there’s the whole stuff (covered admirably in the Telegraph today; I won’t go deeply into it) about the tax breaks he might get from a large charitable donation. Truly, philanthropy is a wonderful thing.
Despite all this, I’m obviously glad that the money is going somewhere worthwhile rather than Blair’s bank account. But still. Let’s not idolize him. I thought the Labour party was over that.
(By the way, I’m going away for a few days; this will be the last post until Friday/Saturday. …just so people know.)