A "very kind, generous and public-spirited gesture". That's how George Osborne acknowledged one pensioner's decision to pay back their Winter Fuel Payment. The benefit, worth between £100 and £300, is paid to around 12 million pensioners each year to help them meet the cost of heating their homes over the winter months.
We are suffering from a lack of leadership, something the Victorians had in spades. By failing to give significantly, the new rich are failing to set an example and inspire those who will follow them. Government makes noises about encouraging more philanthropy but most politicians follow focus groups rather offer leadership...
When I'm asked - as I regularly am - what my favourite part of my job is, I always smile and recall the Tardos that I've enjoyed a bit of verbal sparring with. They're the exception rather than the rule this lot, but when you come across one it's like finding an extra veggie sausage hiding under your free-range, corn-fed, organic poached egg at breakfast. They really do brighten up my day.
The tennis this weekend caused quite a stir. In the big Murray VS Federer debate, loyalties across the country were torn between supporting a Brit and supporting a tennis favourite. Of course, if you admitted you were supporting anyone other than Murray, the aftermath was almost as bad as telling an avid football supporter that 'it's just a game'.
In these tough economic times we need to convince the wealthy that they have a responsibility to give. This country is seeing a growing divide where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The professors I meet don't earn as much as a banker's secretary and yet they are passionate, committed and totally immersed in their journey of discovery. I want to change the rich's mentality toward philanthropy so that they give more. Perhaps new models of giving such as venture philanthropy are a way of convincing the wealthy to give more.