Editor-At-Large: Charities should just say no

Using their unearned wealth to back worthy causes made the Rausings feel useful

Share

Eva Rausing's death has led to a series of eulogies from charities offering sympathy, and tributes to her generosity. Through the Eva and Hans K Rausing Trust, she and her husband funded a range of worthy causes from the Prince's Foundation for Building Community, to Greenhouse, a charity helping disadvantaged young people through sport and dance, as well as the National Portrait Gallery. One project involved funding prisoners who had given up drugs to train as counsellors to support fellow inmates. She helped to found the anti-drug charity Mentor UK and was a patron of Action on Addiction. Prince Charles has called her husband (who has been arrested on suspicion of her murder) "a very special philanthropist".

Addicts live in a permanent state of denial – I know, I've driven several to rehab. They only seek treatment when they are at rock bottom. Four years ago, an emaciated Eva Rausing was caught entering a function at the American Embassy in London with cocaine and heroin in her handbag – that shows just how tenuous her grip on reality had become. Her husband was arrested when police found class A drugs at their home. After protracted legal negotiations, the couple apologised publicly and said they would seek treatment. Astonishingly, Hans was only cautioned, so that, by not prosecuting Mr and Mrs Rausing, the Crown Prosecution Service enabled a pair of junkies to avoid confronting their problem, do nothing and retreat into their own world. Using their unearned wealth to support worthy causes made them feel they were doing something positive, but the act of giving was a distraction which allowed them to continue taking drugs without focusing on their problems. I don't think charities should take money from people they know are still using. The message that it sends to the vulnerable is that with enough cash you can buy your way out of anything. I don't think charities should take money from tax avoiders or crooks either, but that's another story.

Get tough, girls

Clare Balding exchanged tweets with Lily Allen last week, complaining she was quoted out of context by The Daily Telegraph following her chat on the Mumsnet website. The newspaper headline read "being a lesbian helps me be a better sports presenter". When asked on Mumsnet if she and her partner newsreader Alice Arnold attracted attention in public because they were gay, Clare seemed to agree, but joked saying "such is life … it's changed as people have got used to the idea". Precisely – so why did Clare and Alice tip up to the ludicrous Tatler women-only dinner the other night, which claimed to be "celebrating" lesbians? Lesbians in the UK haven't got a lot to cheer about while David Cameron shows signs of wobbling on same-sex marriage. As for equal rights, the Church of England has once again shoved the issue of female bishops on the back burner. Why aren't smart prominent lesbians such as Clare and Mary Portas following the example set by their sisters on the other side of the Atlantic and forming a pressure group to force politicians to listen? LPAC is backed by Billie Jean King and Glee cheerleader Jane Lynch, and is raising $1m to promote its point of view on a range of issues, including women's health, during the presidential election campaign. Although President Obama recently endorsed gay marriage, Mitt Romney says he does not support it, and 30 states don't allow it. But ABC news ran a poll showing 53 per cent of Americans think gay marriage should be legal, up from 36 per cent in 2006. Clare's Mumsnet chat was super-cosy. Isn't it time to get tough, girls?

Cruel sea

Today is St Swithin's day and, according to myth, the weather will set the pattern for the next 40 days. This dank and dreary summer has played havoc with my plan to swim in the sea whenever possible. My hero is my friend the author Philip Hoare, who swims in the Solent near his home in Southampton every day of the year. Last year, I started in May in Whitstable and thoroughly enjoyed it. So far this summer I have swum just four times in freezing winds and nasty choppy water for about 30 minutes a dip. The sea itself is a reasonably tolerable temperature – the secret is to dash straight in with no dithering. I read somewhere that you burn calories getting warm afterwards. Last weekend it took two hours to do that, and I eventually went back to bed in sweat pants. I have banned the weather forecast in our house, and anyone telling me about how the gulf stream has "moved". Now, we're told that the wet weather has brought another problem apart from flooding – a plague of rats, flushed out of sewers by the downpours. My lettuces are doing well, though.

This race isn't on

When the Spanish bank Santander held a swanky party last month to announce it would be sponsoring a London Grand Prix, few thought that the race would become a reality because of the massive costs and the inevitable protests the event would attract from environmentalists. The proposed route takes in Piccadilly, the Mall and Leicester Square and would cause huge disruption to the city, not to mention noise pollution. Now, Formula One rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has revealed to a journalist that he is planning to waive the £35m fee host cities normally pay to stage the race, and his organisation is even prepared to cover the running costs. Bernie is said to be dedicated to making it happen. What Londoners don't need now is Boris on board, bellowing about the "benefits" a bunch of petrolheads would bring to London. We must start manning the barricades and making the placards – he can't be eulogising about sustainability and the environment one minute and planning a massive act of egomaniacal pollution the next.

Minister cowed?

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice might not know the price of milk (because his wife usually buys it), but he's only following a long tradition of agriculture ministers who seem ill-qualified for the job. Labour appointed Jim Fitzpatrick in 2009, a vegetarian who opposed hunting. He reported to Environment Minister Hilary Benn, another non-meat-eater. Mr Paice is being lobbied by irate dairy farmers, who say they are being forced to sell their milk to middlemen (who supply supermarkets) at a loss. He met them at the Great Yorkshire Show last week, and they aired their grievances again at a mass rally in Central Hall Westminster. The dairy farmers have a strong case, but will Mr Paice take their side? This government likes cosying up to supermarket chains, encouraging them to open surgeries and opticians on their premises and fund education projects. I don't see the Tories siding with the protesters, even if Mr Paice part owns a farm.

React Now

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

Maths Teacher - from October half term

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Long term Math Post - potentiall...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is currently recruitin...

SECONDARY SUPPLY TEACHERS NEEDED IN AND AROUND DARTFORD

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Description Randstad Education i...

SECONDARY SUPPLY TEACHERS NEEDED IN AND AROUND SWALE

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Description Randstad Education i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The campaigning is over. So now we wait...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
In this handout provided by NASA from the the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida in space. The robotic arm of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System or Canadarm2 is seen at upper right. According to reports, Arthur has begun moving steadily northward at around 5 kt. and the tropical storm is expected to strike the North Carolina Outer Banks  

Thanks to government investment, commercial space travel is becoming a reality

Richard Branson
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week