I have just sent this e-mail to Rate Setter.
I’ve never really got into Ratesetter, so I’d like to close everything down, or at least withdraw the money that has not been lent.
It’s just that the concept of the site requires a lot of managing and as Zopa now has their Safeguard product, which gives me a reasonable rate and quite a bit of security, I might just as well have the use of the money or give it to charity.
Yesterday, I dropped my pen on the way to Clapham Junction station.
So I thought, I’d buy one there!
But I couldn’t, despte trying about six of the many kiosks in the station.
I got no luck!
In fact, I don’t think I’ve managed to buy a nice standard-issue Bic biro in a station in perhaps the last ten years.
In the end, I bought two in a small general store in Bognor.
But that’s a long way to go for a pen!
I did ask the ticket collector on the train and he said he’d had to buy one himself before he started work. He certainly didn’t think that they were ever used for attacks on staff or other passengers.
I think the solution is to have pen dispensers on stations, where say for a pound or two, you can get a suitable pen. All profits could go to a charity like Railway Children.
There seems to have been a lot of criticism of Katherine Jenkins at the London Marathon. It’s reported here on the BBC. This is an extract, containing comments from a Daily Mail columnist.
She then criticised the singer’s appearance, describing her £200 Prada sunglasses, full make-up, “immaculate” ponytail and “raisin-sized” diamond earrings.
So what! She wouldn’t be the first runner, who wanted to look her best.
I actually saw her perform once at a private party and she was definitely worth whatever the organisers paid.
Is this just another case of Tall Poppy Syndrome?
If I was a celebrity treated in this way in these circumstances by a columnist, I’d challenge them to a race, with the loser paying several thousand to a charity of the winner’s choice.
I mentioned in this post, that my Aunt Gladys paid for our marriage licence, as I was totally skint, on condition that I passed it on.
Some years later in Ipswich in about 180, a young guy wrote to me asking for sponsorship for Operation Raleigh. I passed the loan from my Aunt on, adding a bit more, and I received a series of letters as he traversed the globe. I did say, that if he ever was a success to pass the loan on to another person, who’d make use of it.
then about seven or eight years ago, he found me on the Internet and said that the loan had been passed on again with the same conditions.
I should say, this is not the only chain I’ve started, but none have kept going so long.
We may be in the depth of a recession, but you wouldn’t suss this from the magnificent response of the public to Comic Relief, as reported here on the BBC.
There has been a lot of discussion in the last day or so about foreign aid and whether it is worth it.
A few years ago, I went to a presentation by a senior manager in Unicef.
They said, one of the biggest problem, was checking that aid was spent correctly. Ask the government if the £2million had been spent on say measles immunisation and you would get the answer the government wanted you to hear.
So Unicef always asked an independent organisation, such as a University to check. Even in some of the poorest and less academic countries, academic standards usually ensured that Unicef got an honest answer, they could trust.
The British government should use similar methods to check all aid is correctly spent on what it was intended.
This story about Irish ‘nuns’ caught drinking illegally in Ireland is the most read on the BBC’s web site today.
I suppose the behaviour could be explained as they were Sisters of Charity and the local priest gave his blessing.
I sometimes get involved in helping research projects at Liverpool University and I will also lob small amounts of funding towards projects I think are worthwhile.
I also look into innovative ways of raising funding for individuals and businesses, like Zopa and Funding Circle. I also loan money to the Developing World using Kiva.
So can their methods be used to raise funding for research projects.
Let’s take a researcher interested in how patients manage with the gluten-free diet, they need for coeliac disease. They perhaps want to interview as many patients as possible and produce a report that highlights both the problems and the successes, possibly on a regional basis.
So they have two needs.
A small amount of money is probably required, the size of which would depend on the size and scape of the project.
The second thing, that many projects, like the mythical one I outlined, often need subjects for the research.
Surely, a properly designed system could do both.
Similar things have been done under the general heading of crowd funding. There’s more here on Wikipedia.
The on-line system would be uploaded with suitable research projects, which borrowing from Zopa’s methods, would be checked as to the veracity of the researcher.
Prospective funders and participants would join and then search for projects, they might like to support, just like you search for suitable borrowers on Kiva.
Obviously, you could also rate researchers, just as you rate buyers and sellers on eBay.
There are some obvious winners, if this could be made to work!
I know from those in Universities, I’ve talked with, that getting funding for small projects is difficult and a lot of time and money is wasted.
Are there going to be any losers? Not directly, but I suspect some charities and their inefficient structures might be by-passed.
I will probably not develop the system, but someone will! On the other hand, if anybody wants to, I’ll be happy to advise.
A former minister, Paul Burstow is suggesting that winter fuel payments be means-tested. It’s here on the BBC.
I’m over 65 and get a state pension, winter fuel payments, free travel in London through my Freedom Pass and discounts in lot of places including on National Rail through my Senior Railcard.
I would like to get a statement each year, as to how much I’ve received. I could then give an equivalent amount to charities of my choice. Probably, I’d to that on my birthday to celebrate cheating the Devil for another year.
If the government didn’t pay me, they’d only blow in on some ridiculous project.
I know it’s only a newspaper poll on this page in Her Majesty’s Daily Telegraph, but it does give a definite result. On the subject of chuggers, where 641 have voted, 621 voted to say that a crackdown on chuggers was necessary and only 20, has said their tactics were sometimes necessary. This means that 96.88% are in favour of a crackdown.
So I think that this animosity, doesn’t do charities any good!
As I’ve said before, I never support any charity that I see chugging.
These days too, I usually have a few pound coins in my pocket for coffee, good buskers and worthy tins waved in front of me