Charities are the winners as political rivals reach for chequebooks
14 June, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
Andy Ruiz Palma with the cheque from Stephen Southam
TWO charities have been delighted to receive donations – as a result of a political debate conducted through the Tribune’s letters pages.
The argument between the Lib Dems’ Nick Wakeling and regular Tribune contributor Stephen Southam proved that political spats can still be settled in a polite and respectful way.
Mr Southam wrote on May 17 that he would donate £25 to a charity of Mr Wakeling’s choice if the Lib Dems were to win a single seat at the European elections.
After the Lib Dems picked up 16 MEP seats at the elections, with three in London, Mr Southam, of Mildmay Grove North, Canonbury, turned up at the Tribune offices to deliver a £25 cheque for the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants.
Mr Wakeling matched this with his own donation to Islington Mind as a show of good sportsmanship.
Mr Southam said: “Yeah, I have lost badly, but it could have been worse. I could have said I would give £25 for every MEP they got.
“It was a fair toing and froing and I appreciate Nick taking it in good humour.”
Mr Wakeling said: “Politics is becoming so tribal and polarised, so winner-takes-all, not just here but across the world.
“It can be hard to remember that we are still individuals, with individual values and voices, and we owe each other respect and compassion – especially when we don’t agree.
“Plus there’s nothing like well-intended humour to break those barriers down.”
Andy Ruiz Palma, who has worked at Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants for almost 20 years, was grateful for the cheque.
“This will help us support some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” he said.
“Maybe if all people started settling their political arguments with a donation it would defuse some tempers.”