I'm a really sentimental old sod, and have been watching the Comic Relief programme all night, and crying at the plight of the people who are being helped by our charity.
I was brought up to believe that the example of the Good Samaritan was the ultimate source of good ethics, but I have been moved to wonder whether this is right.
There was a statistic on the programme just now - that one in 8,000 women die in childbirth in the UK, versus one in eight in Mali. The plea was for some money to reduce post-partum deaths in Mali - it would cost us a fiver per mother.
I was tempted to contribute, but then thought - what will be the costs of saving that life? Not just now, but in the future? Do the Malians have the infrastructure to support all the extra children thus produced?
Are we, by our sentiment, storing up more charity cases for the future?
Let's get our own country in order first, and understand what we can afford - then we can worry about what we can afford in the long term for charity to our bretheren.
For charity is not charity at all if it will lead to future suffering.
Apologies if I offend anyone from the charity industry, but there I am - you may vilify me as you wish.