Here's a great idea from a local 'community campaigner' for raising funds for a charity. Instead of asking for money, tell people to go and buy something, anything, so that a supermarket chain can make a big fat profit on it, and then donate what you have bought to the charity of your choice. Does that make sense? Think maybe it might be simpler to just give to the charity directly? No?
Let me run it by you again. Let's say you think you ought to give a fiver to a charity. Instead of giving a fiver to the charity, you take it with you in your wallet to a supermarket, pick up an item or two of food when you go shopping at random - that way it can be much less than the value of a fiver but you can feel less guilty - take it to the check-out, hand over your fiver to the supermarket, keep the change and then take what you have bought to the charity and give it to them. Still not making sense? Don't understand the symbolism of table scraps? I thought maybe you wouldn't. Still sounds a bit pointless?
Hmm, let me more think about that one for a moment. This does work, I promise. Here's how it works: you need a compliant crowd no-one can criticise. You round up a load of schoolkids and a photographer, possibly someone from the local Yellow Advertiser. You take some kids out of school -with or without their parent's consent - and get them to come with you to the supermarket. Someone buys a load of random items, puts them in the hands of the school children and then you stand outside and have your photo taken. Still not making sense? No?
Well, here it is. I shall lay it out nice and simply and you tell me if it is a good idea. You want to get elected for Parliament. You don't want to admit that straight up, for some silly legal reasons to do with the papers having to be fair to other parties and you want to be on the front page but keep them off it. So, you call yourself a 'community campaigner' (despite the generously paid job as a spin doctor). You don't mention what party you are standing for, or indeed, that you intend, as everyone well knows, to stand for Parliament.
You also actually have no ideas of your own, not even about how to get yourself in the paper doing something intelligent. So, you round up a load of children who won't ask you whether what you are doing makes any kind of sense at all - you encourage people to buy a load of random items in the supermarket and everyone wins. The paper tells people who you are without actually saying who you are and you can promise to be there at the shopping centre in a couple of days time to glad hand everyone and encourage sales. (There will be a stall but no threats of prosecution). The supermarkets make a profit, the charity gets a load of random items which it then has to do something with - maybe give away or just eat at their staff meetings - and you get your picture in the paper looking as if you have done something involving intelligence and leadership of uncritical children in their uniforms. Maybe the charity can use a load of tins of something to beat flat and make a shanty town out of - it is a homeless charity after all. Or they can go back to the supermarket and ask them to convert all these useless items into cash. Who knows?
What no-one actually needs to know is just what these items need to be to be of any direct practical use. All they need to know is that Stella Creasy is the name and using uncritical children to get elected is still the game. After all, there are no policy implications here - no discussions of what actually happens to the homelesss, no discussion of reforms to the 1996 Housing Acts required, no answers from the Labour Party about why there are so many homeless in our midst despite their being in Government all these years. (Or why the Housing lists in this borough increased by 48% in the last year alone). No thought is required on Ms Creasy's part as to whether homeless people actually want what is being offered to them, or whether it works. Beggars can't be choosers after all, not like voters.
No what is wanted here is just a warm, unthinking, Lady Bountiful feeling for all - the deserving poor will be put up for the night out of sight, hopefully with some improving prayers and a bite of something to eat - sturdy or ungrateful vagabonds and beggars can always be patronised (whipping them over the parish boundary has been banned, at least officially). They are usually, (but not exclusively) men, after all, they don't have children who they can exploit, and nor, crucially, do they have the vote.