Third sector at large - You can go and talk to the strawberries ... or you can email

Sir Stephen Bubb, the OSCR and Sir Ronald Cohen are on our minds this week

Sir Stephen Bubb rehearsed infront of his strawberries
Sir Stephen Bubb rehearsed infront of his strawberries

* Sir Stephen Bubb's participation in the government's Future Forum has been lovingly chronicled in his blog, and next week he will be rigorously debriefed by Third Sector. Bubbles blogged about how he rehearsed his allotted two minutes in front of the Cabinet at 7am in his dressing gown in the garden, "declaiming to the strawberries". Even more alarming is his revelation that he's "a cousin five times removed" of the Chancellor, George Osborne - "My Anglo-Irish great uncle x4, Osborne Limrick's, mother was an Osborne." Our resident anorak contends that this is actually a fifth cousin, but don't take this as definitive.

* An extreme example of the ever-growing tendency to use email as a substitute for speech came last week from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, which responded by email to an (emailed) question without actually answering it. Third Sector: "Can we speak to someone about this?" OSCR: "Can you put that in an email?" But this was trumped next day when we phoned someone to ask her job title: "Can you put that in an email?" she said. Isn't it all getting a bit out of hand?

* Sir Ronald Cohen, the prime mover in the Big Society Bank, always wanted it to be called the Social Investment Bank (even though it's not actually a bank). So he was less than enthusiastic when MPs on the Public Administration Committee asked him about the name last week.

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," came the cool response. "It's workable." Faint praise indeed.

* Which charity got the most media coverage in the UK in May? Well, it was Unicef. And why was that, you might ask. Because of that hat, of course. The latest Charity Radar report from the monitoring outfit Metrica shows three peaks during the month related to stories about the hat - strangely reminiscent of a stag's antlers - that Princess Beatrice wore to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April. First came the news that it was to be sold, then that bidding on eBay had reached £18,000 in a week, and finally that it had been bought for the, er, princely sum of £81,100, with half of the proceeds going to Unicef.

It only serves to underline the continuing importance to the charity world of our soap-opera royal family.

* A slightly barbed tweet from the social entrepreneur Robert Ashton this week: "You know that a charity board is truly connected with poverty and disadvantage when one trustee pockets the uneaten biscuits as she leaves." Who is he talking about?

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