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

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

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy