We all got an email last week from some do-gooder on the staff. She'd like us to donate to keep the nice little doggie-woggies warm this Christmas.
Now, I like puppies as much as the next man. Providing the next man prefers his canines casseroled. They bite your children and shit on your duvet. But I understand that some people find this kind of behaviour endearing. However, I'm far from convinced that the best thing the well-paid employees of a university could do to alleviate suffering this winter is to pamper some pooches.
I'm not sure if my kind colleague is aware that we're in the middle of an appalling recession. That the unemployment rate is currently over 8%. That the city has a food bank (one local MP Emma Reynolds has visited, but not Paul Uppal MP, who is the local representative of the political and economic forces responsible for its existence).
People are hungry and homeless in this town. Pets are cute, but they're not essential and they're not the prime victims of the recession or the government. The usual argument is that animals are speechless victims of human cruelty. Very true. But they're still not as important as vulnerable humans. Until everybody has a home and a decent meal inside them, or you want to help humans in other ways, I suggest you direct your cash to a food bank (I haven't located a non-religious one yet) or to any of these charities in the absence of any political parties prepared to fundamentally restructure the economy for the benefit of all.
National Literacy Trust
Liter of Light
North Staffordshire Special Adventure Playground
My siblings are all richer than me, so they'll be getting donations to these charities as Christmas presents… whether they like it or not.