I Really Don't Like Mondays

Not too long ago the news came out that the BBC had apologised to Sir Bob Geldof.
Why, you may ask! Was it for not giving airtime to the Boomtown Rats
re-release of ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ in the mid nineties? Or for not
forcing him to visit the hair and makeup department before appearing on
Parkinson a several years ago?

No! This recent apology was for alleging that a good proportion of money
raised through his various Live Aide projects had not reached the intended
victims of famine. In fact they claimed that some of the funds had been
used to buy weapons.

The original piece, given by BBC World Service Africa editor Martin Plaut,
was first broadcast back in March and then followed up with a discussion on
Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning programme.

I am sad to hear the news of these editorial failings for a number of
reasons, not least because the BBC directly benefited from the Boomtown
Rat’s efforts by having hours and hours of live music footage that all but
guaranteed them huge audience figures.

Who can forget Status Quo’s opening rendition of their hit ‘Rocking All
Over The World’ or Freddie Mercury’s Queen getting the crowds to respond
with ‘We Will Rock You’. Or even Sir Bob passionately shouting ‘Give us yer

All these years later perhaps my greatest disquiet is the fact that such
allegations only feed the growing feeling of disconnection felt by the
British public and our long history of generosity.

I often hear people declare that they didn’t give to a particular cause
because they were unsure whether the funds would reach their intended
target. Giving then becomes secondary exercise and we all too easily find
an excuse for our lack of generosity.

For sure charities need to act responsibly but scare story headlines like
the one offered by the BBC are hard to argue against for all but the
largest charities meaning that there remains in the public consciousness a
nagging doubt about the validity of any future requests for help.

The regular phrase trotted out by people wishing to avoid helping those in
greater need is ‘charity begins at home’ and one cant help feel that in the
present credit crunch crisis we are going to hear it a lot more.

If you take it to it’s logically conclusion it would mean that families
would just end up giving money to themselves; which is not charity. When
our four daughters were teenagers you could be forgiven for thinking that
they saw my bank account as a form of charity but I hardly think that

There are thousands of good causes in this country and they represent
something of the DNA of this great nation. The money raised Sir Bob, Midge,
and the Live Aid team changed real lives in foreign places and, in an
almost unseen way, changed real hearts in this land. At a time where market
forces were being seen as the great driver of everything, ordinary people
made a small stand for something bigger than their own personal gain.

If I could meet Sir Geldof I would want to thank him for two things;
firstly that I can accompany my morning blues with few lines from ‘I don’t
like Mondays’ and thus realise I am not alone. Secondly, for waking us up
to the need in far off countries and to our collective ability to make a