If The Cap Fits …

Nichiren DaishoninWith an increasing feeling of dismay, I see the gap between the have’s and have not’s of this world continually growing.

The very concept of fairness in our societies seems to have been completely forgotten.

With that in mind, I can think of a whole bunch of people who would do well to listen to the following advice …

If you wish to attain Buddhahood, you have only to lower the banner of your arrogance, cast aside the staff of your anger, and devote yourself exclusively to the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra.

Worldly fame and profit are mere baubles of your present existence, and arrogance and prejudice are ties that will fetter you in a next one.

~ Nichiren Daishonin

Charity Open Season

Charity Calendar?Being stuck indoors all weekend, still trying to shift this cold, I have to admit that I have watched more TV than is good for me. I must say that those old X Files still make for good viewing and that Gillian Anderson is rather more appealing as Dana Scully than she is as Miss Havisham in the recent BBC version of Great Expectations.

Anyway, I digress. What really struck me was the propensity of adverts promoting charities. Here in the UK, we seem to have an unwritten rule, that there are no adverts for summer holidays until after Christmas Day.

Clearly no such rule exists for charity adverts. Everything from Save the Children telling me that 20,000 children die every day, to the World Wildlife Fund saying that the equivalent of two football fields of the Leopard’s habitat is felled each hour. The strange thing is, that £2 a month will fix both of these sad situations.

Now I like to think I am as generous as the next person when it comes to donating to charity, but being bombarded by these unconvincing messages really isn’t going to persuade me to give more. With money being tight for everyone at the moment, I really feel we need to be shown the truth, not just peppered with emotive images and fed heart-rending sob stories.

We all know that there are deserving causes out there, and that our charities are seeing reducing donations as a result of the recent economic downturn. It may well be, that research has found that £2 a month is the optimal amount to ask for, when analysing conversion figures, but it all sounds so hollow and I just find I don’t believe their message.

Just to put the lid on the argument, I am told that the 2013 Countryfile Calendar costs £9, £4 of which will be donated to the BBC Children In Need charity. That means that £5 will not be donated. Now that is fine, but they put such an emphasis on the charity side of it, whereas, actually, it’s just another BBC product. To my mind, charity and advertising just do not mix, so please don’t try to pull the wool over our eyes.

Pick Of The Weak

Will Self For PMThe recent changes in tax allowances and other social benefits have highlighted the Government’s intention to increase the strain on the weaker members of society whilst putting yet more money back into the hands of the strong.

The change to the higher tax rate, from 50 to 45%, whilst being an understandable change if it actually brings more money into the Treasury, is a huge slap in the face for the less well off members of society. What ever happened to the ‘we’re all in this together’ way of looking at things.

In an economy that is struggling to offer any further employment, it beggars belief that the payment of Income Supplements should now be based on working 24 hours a week rather than the current 16. Companies are finding it hard to provide enough work for the employees they have now, let alone finding an effective increase of 50% for those most needy of the work.

I’m all in favour of making the Benefits System fair and just. We hear about the alleged scroungers who are milking the system. We never seem to hear about those who are living on or below the ‘bread-line’ and having real difficulties in making ends meet.

How can we expect a bunch of millionaire ministers to have the vaguest idea of how ‘the other half’ live? They are more concerned with lining their own pockets, and those of their cronies, with little or no regard to the millions of people who have no real voice in how the country is run.

Come on Cameron and Co. Let’s see a little more Wisdom, Courage and Compassion from you guys. We are paying your wages, and yet you are picking on the oldest and weakest in society. It’s high time we had a government made up of more people like Billy Bragg, Will Self and others who, although wealthy in their own right, at least have the gumption to stand up for the working and middle classes.

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