The coalition government looks to be pushing forward with plans to get us Brits to donate to charity as we go about our daily lives of buying goods and services.
It seems we are to be given the chance to donate every time we hand our debit or credit card over for payment of anything from food to books to renewing our driving licence. An electronic collection box thrust and rattled under our noses at every turn. Not even those collectors at shop doorways are allowed to do that.
The government has already ring-fenced overseas aid in order that we (the politicians really that is) can get that warm glow of giving to those in need. It's easy to get a warm glow when it's other peoples' money you give away.
So not only do you now donate as you pay as you earn, you are now going to be asked if you wish to donate as you spend (I suppose it will soon be known as DAYS, then we'll have people demanding the end of DAYS).
Can you imagine the queues at supermarkets and cash-points as every one is asked if they wish to donate? Hopefully not, what is more likely is that you will set you card to donate on a round up to a pound basis and 'spend and forget'.
It also looks like those that give generously will get letters from ministers, well whoopdy-woo!
Why my cynicism? I do believe in charity. But charity begins in the heart and at a directly local level. It should be something the individual feels they really should be supporting with time and/or money. This scheme seems more about a sort of remote guilt reducing mechanism.
And how many of these 'ministers letters' of congratulation will be heartfelt? Probably a chore to sign the pre-prepared missives between meetings. And how will they know that the 2p that granny gave was her last 2p for the week but the Â£20,000 that Mr Rich Guy gave was just spare change to him? But who will get the letters and public seals of approval (plus an honour or two maybe)?
But my biggest dose of cynicism is aimed at the timing. Just as huge chunks are to bitten out of the public purse and so much help that government agencies provide look to be cut we have a mechanism proposed to us that could fill the gaps. In other words taxation by guilt.