Friday 26 February 2016

Buy Me Once

Boots: yr humble author's daily kicks. Two years of solid wear so far.
A prime example of walking it like you talk it. 

I hope we all know the mantra by now. Choose Well, Buy Less, Spend More. It's a key tenet of sustainability, straight from Pier Crush Vivienne Westwood. This blog has a remit to cover clothes and fashion, and in particular the way fast fashion has changed the rules over what we wear and how and when we buy. But of course you can see that throwaway aesthetic in just about everything. If something is cheap, then it doesn't matter if it breaks. Just buy more. How many mobile phones have you bought in the last ten years? How many cheap pans that have lasted a year before the handle falls off? How many pens?

It's easy for me to roll my eyes at this Don't Think, Spend Less, Buy More way of life. But it's not easy to choose wisely. The internet is the great leveller, but with so much choice how on earth do you Choose Wisely?

Well, that was a question advertising creative Tara Button kept asking herself. So she went out and looked. Tara has spent the last year putting together a collection of the best in affordable homewear, accessories, kitchen goods and of course, clothes and shoes. It's not just about items that will go the distance, but classic, beautiful designs that simply shrug off the fickle wash of trend, staying true to themselves. The result: Buy Me Once. Tara gave us an idea of her mission:-
For some reason, we feel the need to change what we wear, what we use and what our homes look like – and we do this constantly. The fashion and home industries depend on us growing bored or ashamed of our old (often perfectly usable stuff) and throwing it away in favour of their shiny new offerings.
We're looking for the classic designs that will go the distance. They might not be 'bang on trend' but they won't be embarrassing next week either.
Buy Me Once is a fledgeling, but Tara's sharp eye for long-lasting classics shines through in the list of goodies she's gathered together. From LK Bennett and good old Doctor Marten's boots to La Creuset cookwear, I found myself nodding at the choices she's made. She's open to suggestions as well, so drop her a line if you know of a great sustainable brand that fits the remit. With hints and tips to help you take care of the things you love, Buy Me Once has the potential to become a great resource for those of us who don't mind spending a little more to get a lifetime's wear out of something great.

She has a long game too, and this is where things get interesting. Tara wants to change our whole culture, from "throwaway" to "keep or pass on", using the brand as a signifier of goods that will last and look good. She also wants to set up an ethical credit line, to help people spend wisely on goods that might otherwise be outside their budget, but would actively save them money in the long run. We can do no more than applaud. That, after all, is the Pier32 way.

Our View: keep an eye on Buy Me Once. It's an initiative that's been thought through sensibly, but has a real passion and urge to change our broken relationship with lifestyle products at its core. We're instant fans, and I urge you to check the site out, show Tara your support and hell, maybe even use it as an excuse to snag that pair of oxblood Docs you've always wanted.

Get your ass over to Buy Me Once. Take that first step to a more ethical home.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Support Shima

Have you watched The True Cost yet? The breakthrough fashion documentary of last year, it took a wide-ranging approach to the subject of ethical fashion, giving a strong picture of how far we've come, and how far we have left to go.

One of the stand-out figures in the film is Shima, a garment worker from Bangladesh. Her struggle to support her family and make sure her daughter Nadia gets a proper education became a symbol of the hardships suffered by the billions of people around the globe that make our clothes.

But Shima's life has touched people directly, and they want to help. So the makers of The True Cost have teamed up with fundraising organisation Creative Visions Foundation to do just that. They're aiming to raise $4,000 to help send Nadia to school. So far, they're just over three-quarters of the way to the target.

The team says:
We wanted to use this time as opportunity to make a gesture of kindness to Shima and let her know that her story matters.  We know there is a long way to go in fixing the global clothing industry, but we hope we can take a moment to show our support for the brave men and women who are trying to make their voice heard.  

If you'd like to support Shima and Nadia, then check out The True Cost's page at CVF: 

If you haven't seen The True Cost yet, it's available to buy or through video on demand, including Netflix. Find out more at The True Cost homepage. 

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Are H&M&S Failing In Their Ethical Promises?

Sometimes it feels like sustainable fashion has turned a corner, only to find a car barrelling directly at it. Take two of the most recognisable names on the high street–H&M and M&S (a pairing that just cries out for the acronym H&M&S). They regularly push their sustainable credentials, launching capsule collections and entering into collaborations with eco-fashionistas like Livia Firth.

And yet, when it comes to promises around key ethical issues like a living wage for their foreign garment workers, both giant brands are failing. That is, according to activist group Labour Behind The Label, who have just published a report on the situation in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India.

The findings make grim reading for those who believe that H&M&S are making a difference in getting sustainability into the mainstream. Labour Behind The Label found that in eight factories scattered around the research area, workers were still living in abject poverty. In many cases, workers were bringing home less than half the money they needed to live in anything other than slum conditions. Forced to buy food on credit, they have a permanent place on the debt spiral.

Anna McMullen, lead author on the report, is damning in her conclusions. She says:

“Both brands have hung their ethical credentials around this key human rights issue, to great applause, but without reporting clearly on the outcomes of the schemes. While consumers are left to trust that what was said is being done, many are left wondering about the real impact of the promises that were made.”

M&S, meanwhile, have been robust in defending their policies and the rollout of wage increases since 2010. A spokesman reported:

“There’s always more to be done due to the complex nature of the clothing supply chain and we cannot determine the wages paid to supplier employees. However, we are committed to ensuring our cost prices remain high enough to pay a fair living wage, training workers in financial literacy and worker rights, and playing our part in collaborating with other brands and governments to improve the sector.”

That defence tells us a lot, and explains in part the difficulty in making a supply chain fair to all. The business is so bewilderingly complex that it's impossible to guarantee the changes you make will be properly implemented. Oversight on the changes is next to impossible when employees are paid cash in hand through a piecework model of compensation.

However, H&M are still at an early stage in their scheme to improve worker conditions. Their roadmap to change was only published in 2013, and the programme is due to run until 2020. Labour Behind The Label urges H&M to look at what M&S have accomplished, and learn from their mistakes. A particular problem: benchmarks, or rather the lack of them. Currently, H&M are setting wage rates at their workers' “own opinion of what a decent living wage is.” This is pretty meaningless, and gives no real figures for trade unions to negotiate with. Setting proper, researched benchmarks and keeping things transparent are, the report concludes, by far the best way to ensure that garment workers in South East Asia are treated and paid fairly.

Our View: frankly, we think it's unrealistic to expect root-and-branch change in in ground supply chain practices overnight. When a single item of clothing can have its material sourced on one continent, its accessories on a second before being assembled in yet a third, ensuring fairness and transparency is an incredibly difficult job. Nevertheless, it's good that groups like Labour Behind The Label are keeping the big brands on task, and making sure that the rhetoric doesn't outstrip the reality.

You can read the full report here.


Friday 19 February 2016

Our ExCel-Lent Friends - CTC

Last week, yr humble author and Guru Ian took a trip to London, visiting a big outdoor show in London's ExCel Centre. It gave them a chance to meet some of their pals, and find out a little more about what's going on in their world. This week, I'm opening up the blog to them.

Our last visit of the week is to CTC, a charity with a long and storied history. It began back in 1878 as the Bicycle Touring Club. Originally, the club was a gathering of like-minded types around the ever-increasingly popular pastime. But over the years the remit has expanded. Along with a name change to Cyclist's Touring Club, CTC has become an advocate for everyone that believes two wheels and your own effort are a great, safe and healthy way to get around. 

CTC are a big part of British cycling. They developed the first cycling proficiency test in 1936, one that has been officially adopted and is still in use today. CTC is still at the forefront of bike safety training and Bikeability. 

All of this becomes obvious and important when we realise just how popular cycling has become in the UK as a sport, a healthy pastime and a great mode of transportation. Studies indicate that the majority of rush hour traffic in the next couple of years will be cycles. For most urban journeys, the bike beats both bus and car for speed, efficiency and cost. 

It's worrying, therefore, to see the press, local government and even the courts appear to be actively against the notion of cycling on Britain's roads. The image of the lycra-clad lout is all-pervasive, and horribly inaccurate. CTC are working hard to change that. Recent CTC campaigns include Road Justice, which seeks a justice system that discourages bad driving, educates drivers to a higher standard and takes bad drivers off the roads, and Action On Lorries, pushing for an end to the slaughter on the roads that led to six cyclists dying under the wheels of lorries in just two weeks.  

Of course, CTC are there for the fun stuff as well, and can help you organise ride-outs, gatherings and even cycling holidays. In short, if you think two wheels good, CTC is the organisation for you. You can support through donations, but membership gives you access to all sorts of goodies, from the bi-monthly magazine to third-party insurance! 

To find out more about CTC and how they can help your cycling life, just check out the website

Thursday 18 February 2016

Our Excel-lent Friends: Bite-Back

Last week, yr humble author and Guru Ian took a trip to London, visiting a big outdoor show in London's ExCel Centre. It gave them a chance to meet some of their pals, and find out a little more about what's going on in their world. This week, I'm opening up the blog to them.


Today, we're chatting to a long-running friend of the blog, UK-based shark and marine conservation charity Bite-Back. They celebrated ten years in the business of keeping the seas safe last year. But that doesn't mean they're resting on their laurels. If anything, Bite-Back are angrier than ever.

Consider the shark. Nature's deadliest predator, right? A cunning and clever foe, who likes nothing better than to sneak up on scantily-clad girls on surfboards for a quick snack. They must kill hundreds of people every year.

Well, not quite. Shark attacks make for great headlines, but they're amongst the least likely things to happen to you if you decide to frolic in the waves. The genocide happening on the high seas is all one-way, and the victim is shark-kind. Our taste for shark fins and meat, as well as the thrill sports-fishing types get from landing their very own Jaws, means that we take 100 million sharks from the sea every year. If you want to do the maths, that's roughly two every second. That rate is simply unsustainable. Sharks, unlike most fish, don't reach maturity until the age of seven, and even then only birth a few pups a year. We're killing them faster than they can reproduce. At the last count, twenty different breeds of shark are on the endangered list.

This is where Bite-Back comes in. They actively campaign on behalf on our finned friends, aiming to slow and even halt the trade in shark products. There's hardly any restriction. For example, look at the limits on fresh produce that can be brought without charge into the UK. There are tightly controlled limits on almost everything. But shark fins? The limit for one trip is 20 kilograms. The Bite-Back stall at the London International Dive Show helpfully had a hold-all loaded to that weight limit. I could barely lift it. With no controls on how shark products are imported, it's not surprising that they are on the endangered list. Peter Benchley has a lot to answer for.

Bite-Back's latest campaign aims to redress the balance, urging us to think a little more about the creatures who have possibly the worst press on the planet. Over-consumption is the big problem. If we stop eating shark, there's no reason to trawl for them.


Thanks as ever to Team Bite-Back, who made us very welcome and even persuaded me to buy one of their cool new luggage tags. I'm convinced about the danger we pose to sharks. If you need a little more info, set your sails towards


Tuesday 16 February 2016

Our ExCel-lent Friends: Sea Shepherd

Last week, yr humble author and Guru Ian took a trip to London, visiting a big outdoor show in London's ExCel Centre. It gave them a chance to meet some of their pals, and find out a little more about what's going on in their world. This week, I'm opening up the blog to them.

Let's start with one of the major marine conservation charities out there. With a swashbuckling, piratical image and their own fleet of ships, these guys are serious about taking care of the ocean and its inhabitants. Let's have a chat with Sea Shepherd...

Sea Shepherd are a direct-action group who take the fight straight to the illegal poachers threatening protected environments and species. With a fleet of four ships, and a large number of inflatables and other smaller vehicles, Sea Shepherd are well equipped to ensure that justice is best served salty. They're not called Neptune's Navy without reason...

For 2016, two major campaigns are running. Operation Sleppid Grindini is a continuation of last year's successful action, aiming to prevent the systematic slaughter of over 1,000 pilot whales by Faroe Island fishermen. The whales are trapped in a narrow channel before being beached and butchered, a process that can take up to four agonising minutes. The Islanders claim that the grindadráp is a traditional way for the Faroese to feed their families–despite their own government's warning that, due to pollution, the whale meat is unsafe for human consumption. For the most part, it's simply left on the beach to rot.

Entire pods are eradicated as part of the grind, leading many conservationists to question the legality of the event under the Berne Convention which Denmark, of which the Faroes are territory, have signed. Sea Shepherd aims to be back at the Islands this summer, to help prevent this meaningless and illegal slaughter.


Meanwhile Operation Icefish is already underway. Sea Shepherd's flagship, the MV Steve Irwin, has headed out from Perth in Western Australia towards the Antarctic. The job: to prevent illegal toothfish poachers from plying their bloody trade in the cold Southern waters.

Operation Icefish has two specific targets. Icefish poaching vessels Viking and Kunlun are the only remaining ships trawling in protecting waters, after last year's mission targeted and shut down most of the so-called 'Bandit 6' boats. These last two are wanted by Interpol. They're a juicy target. The objective for 2016 is to chase down Viking and Kunlun, and end icefish poaching in Antarctic waters for good.

It looks like another exciting year ahead for Sea Shepherd. Ian and I would like to thank the team at the London International Dive Show for making us welcome and sharing their plans for the coming year with us.

Get to the boats!




All pics: © Rob Wickings 2016


Friday 12 February 2016

A Grand Day Out

Yesterday was a rare opportunity for me to see daylight and sniff fresh air. Guru Ian unlocked the keys to my writing shack, urging me to bring my camera and notebook. We were off to That London, to visit some chums.

To be precise, we were away to the ExCel Centre in Docklands, home for the next few days to an interlocking set of shows based around getting out and about. The Telegraph Outdoor Adventure And Travel Show, The London International Dive Show, The Triathlon Show and the London Bike Show were all in one place–an ideal opportunity to check out what's new in the outdoorsy world and meet up with some pals of the blog.

Next week will be exclusively dedicated to our adventures, but I can exclusively share a few pics I took while we were there. If you're at all interested in getting fit in the outdoors, and especially if you're a fan of cycling, there's lots to see and do. Speaking personally, I had to keep my hands well away from my wallet. Difficult when there are beauties like this steampunk velocipede from Boxer Cycles available...


Meanwhile, Guru Ian, ever the petrolhead, had his eyes on something a little more low-slung and high-spec. Like this Lambo. Note the bike rack on the top, though. I bet that cuts through the MPG figures...


We were both impressed and amazed by this little caravan. Doesn't look like much? It's made completely from Lego, and took a team of twelve over three months to build.


And it isn't an empty shell, either. Check out the detail on the inside! Breakfast is served...



Ian and I had a blast, so I hope you'll join us next week when you can find out more about our friends at Bite-Back, Sea Shepherd and CTC, and why they were at the show. For now, though, it's back to the shack for me. I need a sit down after all that walking about...


(All photos © Rob Wickings 2016)


Thursday 11 February 2016

Livia Firth and Marks And Spencer - Together At Last!

Good old M&S has quietly become the most sustainable fashion brand on the UK High Street. Since I started writing this blog they've launched ideas like shwopping, where you can bring in old clothes for discounts on new items in store (an initiative that's now partnered with Oxfam) and the root-to-branch review of every aspect of the business to bring in eco-friendly measures called Plan A.

Now, in a further bump to the brand's sustainability creds, they've partnered with EcoAge founder and all-round ethicalista Livia Firth to bring her first clothing and accessories collection to the store. The two have form, as Livia curated a capsule range of M&S items that highlighted the best in sustainability. But the new range, launching today, is a step change.

In an interview with Vogue, Livia outlined what we can expect to see from the new collection:
"These are classic, timeless pieces that anyone, regardless of shape and age, can wear and keep forever. Transcending seasons and also occasions - going from work to a party for example and changing the look with different accessories. I have always admired women such as Jackie Onassis, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn: wearing simple chic clothes and being elegant anytime anywhere, without trying too much."
Livia's commitment to making sure that the items matched her stringent ethical standards sent her all the way to Brazil to check on the leather that would be used to make the bags in her collections. She says:
"I spent time on the ground with rancheros on giant ranches in the state of Mato Grosso where the majority of Brazil's 200 million cows are raised. This might sound like an odd place for someone who is designing a fashion collection to hang out, but for me it's key to get to grips with the supply chain. Many consumers want to wear leather, but I wanted to source from as sustainable and accessible a supply chain as possible - and this one addresses deforestation and sustainability on ranches through a groundbreaking programme that basically teaches ranchers to be green... It's a great thrill to give M&S customers the chance to access that supply chain."
Our View: although it's a shame Livia's range isn't getting a nationwide roll-out in stores, her support can only help M&S's ethical credentials. Who knows, if it's popular we could see the collection on a hanger near you.

 Livia's range is showcased at the flagship M&S Pantheon store from today until Valentine's Day, and is available online now.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Anaïs Gallagher and PETA Launch Cruelty-Free Sneaker Drive

There's a real trend towards cruelty-free fashion at the moment, sparked by leading lights like Stella McCartney and the work of activist groups like PETA. This isn't so surprising when you look at the poor environmental record of the leather industry. Toxins from tanneries are known to pollute local water supplies. Then there's the cruelty inherent in the industry. When a recent PETA campaign exposed a thriving trade in China that exports dog leather under the guise of other hides, it's not surprising that people are looking for animal-free alternatives.

Now everyone has a chance to get in on the action. Leading vegan shoe label Bourgeois Boheme, in association with PETA, are launching a search for the best new animal-free unisex sneaker. The competition is open to anyone with a passion for cruelty-free fashion. Bourgeois Boheme will shortlist the top 10. Celebrity judge and teen model Anaïs Gallagher will then choose the winning design, which will go into production and hit the market in time for autumn/winter 2016.

Anaïs says:

"I love fashion and I love animals – so this competition is a win-win. I'm happy to join PETA in celebrating new designers who are leading the way in cruelty-free fashion and cannot wait to strut around town in the winning pair of shoes!"

Modern, high quality synthetics, canvas and even quirky materials like banana and pineapple leather have a much better environmental score than leather (although we should note that the longevity of animal hide does add to its sustainability - if you must, make sure the items use properly sourced and responsibly gathered materials). If you'd rather your kicks didn't involve cruelty, then there are an increasing number of options. It's good to see Bourgeois Boheme opening the discussion to a wider audience. Brands like Stella McCartney, H&M, ASOS and of course Vivienne Westwood already offer cruelty-free bags, purses, belts and shoes. Let's see more like that on the high street.

The competition is open until March 7th, so there's still time to get your designs in. Visit for more details.

Friday 5 February 2016

Detox Outdoor

Greenpeace have always been good at pricking the bubble of PR that many clothing companies inflate around themselves. Their claims to be greener-than-the-other-guy are easily popped as new data comes out around a new environmental abuse.

Over the past few years, the activist group has been concentrating their attention on the toxins left in our clothes after the manufacturing process–nasties that washing just won't remove. Of particular concern are PFCs or poly-flourinated chemicals. These are a cocktail of compounds with a number of side-effects–they're potentially carcinogenic, for example. Not found in nature, these complex materials have nevertheless found their way to the remotest parts of the globe. How did they get there? Pretty simple: we brought them with us in our clothes.

All of which has led to the latest strand of Greenpeace's Detox Project, Detox Outdoor. The group examined clothing from forty well-known outdoor brands including several, like Patagonia and The North Face, that have a reputation for sustainability and eco-friendliness.

The results were shocking. Of the sample group, only four were found to be free of PFCs, and eighteen contained long-chain variants of the compounds, which are especially hazardous. The chemicals, used in waterproofing, were found in everything from jackets to sleeping bags.

Most of the brands tested claim publicly that they no longer use long-chain PFCs in their manufacturing process. Greenpeace beg to differ. Mirjam Kopp, project leader for Detox Outdoor said:

“We found high levels of PFOA, a long-chain PFC that is linked to a number of health effects, including cancer, in some products from The North Face and Mammut. This substance is already restricted in Norway. These are disappointing results for outdoor lovers who want their clothes to be as sustainable and clean as the places they explore“.

As a result of the publicity, which was accompanied by four days of global protest outside North Face stores, the brand has pledged to stop using PFCs by 2020. Meanwhile, UK brand Paramo Directional Clothing has signed up to the full Detox pledge. As the first outdoor clothing line never to use PFCs, they've already come a long way, but have committed to banning all toxic chemicals from their production process and supply chain.

The. Focus now turns to Mammut, who have stated that they are committing to reduction in the use of PFCs, but at a much slower rate. Greenpeace thinks they can and should do better. Here at The Pier, we tend to agree.

For more info, check out, Greenpeace's dedicated campaign site. While you're there, why not drop Mammut a line?


Wednesday 3 February 2016

The Shoe That Grows

The trouble with kids is that they're expensive to clothe. They just won't stop growing. Which means there's a constant outlay on new shirts, trousers, dresses, school uniforms.

And shoes. Good grief, kids get through footwear like it's going out of fashion. It seems like five minutes after you've bought a pair, their toes are coming through the pointy end again. Which is a financial issue, of course, but also a sustainability nightmare. There are sacks of clothes in most family's wardrobes that are simply unwearable by the persons for which they were bought. You can donate or remake, but for the most part little Johnny's nine-month old trainers are going straight to landfill.

The problem becomes more painful when you consider the billions of children worldwide who can't afford that constant upgrade path. For many, there is no choice. Once you grow out of a pair of shoes, you don't wear shoes anymore. This opens up a whole new word of injury risk and infection by soil-borne disease.

Aid-worker Kenton Lee thinks he's found a solution. The Shoe That Grows is... Well, exactly that. Made from durable materials, the sandal-like construction is designed to expand by up to five shoe sizes. As the child's foot grows, you simply let out the snaps and hey bingo, the shoe fits again. Kenton believes The Shoe That Grows could last a child through most of their school life, with a single change needed from Small (Kindergarten to 4th Grade) to Large (5th to 9th Grade). Easy to clean and easy to use, The Shoe That Grows solves an awful lot of problems in one neat (and frankly rather stylish) idea.

One pair of shoes that will last for five years? That's every parent's dream! You can buy a pair via and the organisation will donate two pairs to kids in need. Or you can help partner charities to fill a duffle with shoes for kids in need worldwide. $15 (that's about £10 in proper money) is all it costs to get one pair of Shoes That Grow on its way to help a kid walk tall.

In fact, we feel so strongly about The Shoe That Grows that we've bought a pair to help fill a duffel. That's what you call putting your foot in it.


Allowing a child to be a child with one less worry is one of the greatest gifts someone could give. cc: Gloria Feinstein, Uganda 🌍

A photo posted by Because International (@becauseinternational) on

Tuesday 2 February 2016

'Catastrophic': Kid's Company Failures Come To Light

Image: NHS Foundation via CC 2.0/Wikimedia Commons


A report by MPs into collapsed charity Kid's Company doesn't pull any punches, pointing blame at trustees, government ministers, regulators and even auditors for their part in the failure of a tentpole of David Cameron's Big Society.

The Commons Public Administration Committee opened fire in particular at the trustees of Kid's Company, with a special focus on the head of the board, ex-BBC executive Alan Yentob. They were found to have no experience in youth services, and were therefore unwilling to rein in the profligate spending of charity head Camila Batmanghelidjh. Her claims that the rocketing budgets were essential for clinical reasons were waved through unchallenged. Without experience, the board relied on a mix of "false optimism" and "wishful thinking", leading to a culture at the charity of "negligent financial management".

That culture, with a chosen group known as "Camila's kids" being treated to luxury items and spa days, saw the charity run up against the financial buffers over and over again. Kid's Company was awarded £4.2 million in July 2015. Six weeks later, Batmanghelidjh was back at Westminster asking for more cash. An extra £3million was granted despite an investigation into financial mismanagement at Kid's Company already being underway.

It's already clear that Batmanghelidjh had friends in high places. The report asks serious questions of Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin–not least, what he was doing signing off on huge charity grants in the first place, something that was very much outside his remit. It was his signature that allowed that last £3million to go to Kid's Company, days before it shuttered for good. We should note that the Cabinet Office is the government department most under the direct control of the Prime Minister, and that Batmanghelidjh was described as the 'poster girl' of his Big Society initiative.

This lack of oversight is a common theme in the report. Kid's Company facilities were rarely inspected, despite concerns from the Charity Commission regarding a facility in Bristol, and reports of an unregulated school in South London run under the Kid's Company banner. New powers awarded to the Commission may go some way to preventing further collapses on this scale, but for thousands of vulnerable kids who have been chucked back onto the street with no coping mechanisms in place, the damage is already done.

So what are we to make of the whole mess? No-one, it seems, gets away clean from the CPAC report. From the Cabinet Office to regulators to auditors, no-one was able to say no to Camila Batmanghelidjh. The simple conclusion to make is that Kid's Company represented a keystone of The Big Society, a meeting of private entrepreneurship and public money–a keystone that could not be allowed to fail, whatever the cost. That cost, at least £15million of taxpayer's cash, can hardly be described as money well spent.

Kid's Company see things differently, and have furiously denounced the CPAC report as dangerously one-sided. They point out that the charity has been cleared of all potential abuse charges by the Metropolitan Police–charges that triggered its final catastrophic collapse. They also accuse the Committee of ignoring or sidelining the evidence Kid's Company produced to support its case. Meanwhile, the full Charity Commission investigation is ongoing. That'll make for an interesting read.

What of the charismatic Ms. Batmanghelidjh? Recent reports associate her with the Oasis Charitable Trust in South London, after she helped run their Christmas party. Regardless of the toxic blowback from the Kid's Company failure, there's no denying that the lady knows how to fundraise...