Leading Article: A big pot of money

POOH WOULD have been amused, Christopher Robin confused and AA Milne would have been appalled. He, poor author, wanted simply to leave something to the Garrick Club which he loved. The members of a club now dominated by the law and media felt they needed to do something under the full glare of media attention with a bequest which had suddenly become valuable. That something has turned out to be to give much of it to charity, which is certainly worthier than sharing it out among the members, as one former Chancellor of the Exchequer had suggested, and is certainly more satisfying to the committee charged with doling out the lolly.

But is it what Milne would have wanted? The fact that the whole debate could take place without ever considering that point is a sad comment on the way that we have lost our sense of what bequests to an institution actually mean, and that they apply as much to the future as to the present. If there had been some women present, they might have understood the distinction. But they can't be members.