Demonstrating an appalling lack of understanding, empathy, tact and, indeed, common sense, appeal chairman Edward Trevor first called the police to try to prevent an Aids charity from collecting money at the same time as appeal volunteers and then compounded that action by making highly inappropriate remarks about those carrying the HIV virus.
Moreover, as well as telling a radio audience that they should think twice before giving to the Aids charity because those suffering from the condition are responsible for their own misfortune by virtue of their sexuality or lifestyle, Mr Trevor has since chosen to stand by his assertion and his recommendation.
There is, alas, only one reasonable course of action now available to him: he must resign immediately, not only because his views are unacceptable but also because they threaten to prejudice attitudes to the important business of raising as much cash as possible for those Islanders for whom Christmas is not automatically a time of peace and plenty.
Senator Philip Ozouf, who makes no secret of his own sexual orientation and can therefore regard himself as an object of Mr Trevor’s scorn, has been quick to call for a change at the top of the Christmas Appeal hierarchy. That call will doubtless be echoed by many others with and without direct personal reasons for being outraged by what has been said.
This furore surrounding the launch of the appeal cannot by any stretch of imagination be called an ideal start for what is one of the most important fund-raising drives of the year. That said, Islanders must not let it divert them from the path of generosity which has been so evident in the past. We must all remember that the appeal itself has nothing whatsoever to do with Mr Trevor’s illiberal sentiments.
There are, in fact, very good reasons why the well-off in our community should dig even deeper into their pockets this year than ever before. Jersey might have fared better than other places in the global economic downturn, but it has not been immune.
There is always hardship, but in the present circumstances it will be deeper and more widespread than is ordinarily the case. Therefore, let those with the means to do so take every step to give as generously as possible.