Money matters

Dear Auntie, I just learnt that my father, whom I haven't seen in years, plans to leave me a very large pile of dosh in his will. As this is the ill-gotten gains of his work as a Ministry of Defence fat-cat contractor, I know it was made at the expense of others' suffering. Does Auntie think I should keep or give it away? Almost filthy rich, London

January 30, 2008 · 2 min read

Dear Almost filthy rich,

Does money have a sense of history or shame or is it just a tangible commodity? Not a dilemma that appears to tweak the conscience of the Labour Party or many other political parties. It’s admirable that you might want to give it all away but in these days of pitiful pensions and financial insecurity you may live to regret it.

Auntie thinks that as the old man isn’t yet brown bread you have a bit of time to think about it, but her advice would be to first work out how much you need to be secure for the rest of you life and then invest this in ethical shares or in a savings account with a bank like Triodos. You could then pay of tithe of your father’s ill-gotten gains to the charitable or political causes of your choice

If what’s left after this is at least £250,000 and you can commit to donating at least £3,000 a year, then why not join the Network for Social Change? This network of the ethical rich funds non-charitable projects working for social and ecological change. As a member you would be involved in assessing, selecting and recommending projects for funding, so it’s not a passive process and may suit your politics and philosophy.

And of course, Red Pepper would appreciate a bit of help too, while Auntie will settle for a pie and a pint (or six).

Email your questions to:

The crack pipe of peace

Dear Auntie _ War, famine, economic depression and global warming - the idea that 'another world is possible' seems remoter than ever. Will we ever have a just and peaceful world? _ Desperate for peace, Preston

Learning by number

Dear Auntie _ At one of the Gaza protests in London, Stop the War put the number of protesters at around 100,000 but the police insisted it was only 20,000. Can Auntie reassure me that the Met has a scientific methodology for estimating crowd numbers? _ Numberless in London

No hope

Dear Auntie, All my left-wing friends seem to be overjoyed about Obama winning the US election, holding real hope that he will bring change, that he'll stop the wars, and that he'll somehow make America all cuddly and nice. But haven't we been here before? I'm getting flashbacks to the expectations people had of politicians like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, and how quickly they betrayed us. Is it terrible that I think Obama will be just more of the same? Hopeless, London

Both feet not in the grave

Dear Auntie, Having reached 50, I've become invisible. It's the only explanation of why people look right through me. I'm ignored in shops and at bus stops; and getting served at the bar is an endurance test, as men and younger women always take priority. I have a lifetime of experience as an activist, but these days there's always a 'Darren' or 'Ryan' whose opinion matters more. I'd go as far as saying they don't even hear me speak! It seems white hair and wrinkles are taken as an early indication of Alzheimer's. But I'm not ready to go gently into the night and as Auntie looks of a similar age, does she have any advice? The invisible woman, London

Do what I say, not what I inhale

Dear Auntie, _ My daughter is starting to ask awkward questions such as 'Mum, did you take drugs when you were young?' I don't want to lie but I don't want her to venture down the same route. What do I tell her? _ Amy in London

Nice smelling poo

Dear Auntie, _ I'm a vegetarian who is fed up having to justify why I don't eat anything with a face on it. And it's the environmentalists who are also meat eaters who seem the most personally affronted by my choices. Do you have any suggestions how I can deal with this? _ Chickpea not chicken lover, Totnes

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