ANOTHER VIEW : Meanness after the heroism

Share
Related Topics
It is unpleasant to have to accuse British business of meanness. After all, our companies often give very generously to charities, sport and the arts. But my experience this year, the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, leads me to ask whether corporate bodies have the right priorities.

In March, I launched Tribute and Promise, an alliance of more than 100 charities with the aim of raising awareness of the wartime generation and the help that is available to them. We must never forget the courage of those who fought, and the work and the sacrifices of the Home Front. The men and women of the 1930s and 1940s are no longer young, and old age is too often a time of ill health, loneliness and hardship. We want to ensure that there is care and comfort available for them, so that this country can never be said to have let down those that did so much for all of us who value freedom from tyranny.

Fund-raising is not the only purpose of the appeal, as will be obvious in the coming weeks with the commemorations of the end of the war. Our plans include an ecumenical service outside Buckingham Palace, followed by a parade of military and civilian veterans representing the whole of their generation. Communities and families will be holding Sunday lunches on 20 August with members of the wartime generation as their guests of honour.

But we also want money as a mark of respect to try and ensure that charities have the funds to help them keep their promise to care in every way possible for our veterans. I appealed for every individual to donate a minimum 50p - just one penny for every year of peace since 1945. If every individual in Britain responded, we would have pounds 25m. Donations have flooded in from the public. But our business community has not been so generous.

There have been notable exceptions. Taxi-drivers have given us free advertising space on the side of their cabs. Bentalls department store sent us 50p for every one of their employees. Other companies have donated gifts in kind or advertising space. But in general they have ignored our approaches. Their response has been lamentable. I can hardly believe that corporate Britain finds it so easy to ignore the very people who fought against the evil forces who threatened to engulf us.

Businesses are quick to give to causes that will grab the headlines - or sponsor arts and sporting events that provide them with free tickets for corporate hospitality. In the weeks leading up to the commemoration of VJ Day, our businesses have the chance to show that they will be as generous to a less glamorous cause. After all, the freedom in which they operate was bought at a price paid by our older generation.

The writer is patron of the Tribute and Promise trust fund.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month  

General Election 2015: Politics is the messy art of compromise, unpopular as it may be

David Blunkett
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Vote Tory and you’re voting for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer

Mark Steel
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'