The lobbyists fight back
charity, n. leniency, an act of kindness; tolerance of faults and offences; a foundation or institution for assisting the poor, the sick, or the helpless
It seems that various fake charities have taken umbrage at being called fake charities on fakecharities.org. Taking time out from
A new website, fakecharities.org, has been created to highlight those charities which receive state funding and which the site’s creator alleges support the government.
Alleging doesn't come into it. 35 charities have been listed so far. Between them they spend £55 million of taxpayers' money. It's an absolute ruddy disgrace.
Charities listed include Age Concern, which is described as "applauding government initiatives with £2m of public money",
They do, and the government gave them £1,954,000 last year (23.3% of all income from donations).
4Children, "a glorified quango",
They are, and the government gave them at least £2,378,257 last year.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), "the original fake charity, formed by the government in 1971".
They are, and they get less than 3% of their income from voluntary donations.
Other charities listed include RSPB, Christian Aid and Stonewall.
Whose combined income from the government was in excess of £38 million last year.
A spokesman for Age Concern denied that accepting money from government inhibits its ability to speak out for older people.
"This has been clearly demonstrated in our recent advocacy work criticising the Government's failure to address increasing fuel poverty and the scandalous state of the social care system."
But should we be forced to pay for your 'advocacy work'? That's the question.
Of course you criticise the government. You criticise them until they do something and when they finally do it you criticise them for not going far enough. That is the modus operandi of all lobbyists, which is why, whenever the government does anything, you can bet your last nugget that some twat from a fake charity will turn up on TV saying "we welcome this move but the government needs to go much further."
The government funds these groups because they help it create a fake compromise while bypassing public opinion. Here's how it works:
- The government feels like giving you a good kick in the bollocks.
- You don't want to be kicked in the bollocks. You just want to be left alone.
- A fake charity turns up wielding some bogus study and demands that you be kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds.
- The government conducts a bullshit consultation with some other fake charities and, in the spirit of compromise, concludes that you will be kicked in the bollocks but not pelted with turds.
Result: you get kicked in the bollocks. The government wins.
And if the charity is very good at its job, this will be quickly followed by the fake loophole:
- The fake charity produces a study showing that being pelted with turds is not as bad as taking one in the Jacob's. They say that the government is being inconsistent by allowing people to kick you in the plums but not pelt you with turds.
- The government agrees and, having set a precedent, it can't be seen to allow one and not the other.
Result: You get kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds. Democracy has prevailed.
A spokeswoman for the Internet Watch Foundation, which the website argues is using EU funds to encourage state regulation of the internet, said its EU funding is spent on a hotline for the public to report illegal online content.
"Over 75 per cent of our funding comes from the internet industry, as you would expect from a self-regulatory body."
"We don’t fundraise so we’re not a charity in that sense; the decision to apply for charitable status was more about making sure we are accountable."
So they don't fundraise and they don't assist "the poor, the sick, or the helpless". Am I missing something here? Perhaps I'm very old-fashioned but in what way is this 'self-regulatory body' a fucking charity? Is the Press Complaints Commission a charity? Is OFSTED a charity?
DK adds: the Internet Watch Foundation must be absolutely delighted. They registered as a charity in order to be "more accountable" and, sure enough, we are holding them to account. Job done.
A spokeswoman for Alcohol Concern said none of its government grant is used on its lobbying activities.
Really? How does that work then? Last year, Alcohol Concern's government grant was £515,000*. Its total income was just over £900,000, of which £517,515 was spent on staffing costs. Clearly then, some—and maybe all—of our money went on salaries for people who are overt lobbyists.
And lobbyists they most certainly are, as they declared in their year-end report:
"Our main focus during 2007/08 was ensuring, through our lobbying, campaigns and media work that national alcohol policy on tax, treatment and advertising reflected international evidence as the benchmark for policy decisions."
So their main focus is on lobbying and their main benefactor is the government, and yet no government money was spent on lobbying. Guess we'll just have to take your word for that, guys.
"There’s no consideration in terms of being critical of government when thinking about funding."
I bet it never crosses your mind.
"We are primarily a lobbying charity…"
Indeed you are. You are a pressure group, and therein lies the whole problem. Why are we being forced to fund a pressure group? Why are we not forced to fund, for instance, the Pro-Life Alliance or the Salt Association? The answer lies, surely, in the fact that the organisations listed on fakecharities.org are, to a man, dedicated to expanding the power of the state, increasing regulation and, in most cases, jacking up taxes.
*DK adds: £115,000 of Alcohol Concern's grant was in restricted funds, i.e. was allocated to a particular project. £400,000 was in unrestricted funds, i.e. can be spent on whatever the fuck they like. In practice, of course, the grants all allow Alcohol Concern to operate and, since the fuckers are "primarily a lobbying charity", then this money is, presumably, primarily spent on... well... lobbying.
"…we don’t really do public awareness, and if the fact that we get a grant mattered to the work we do we wouldn’t be able to do it."
I put it to you, you disingenuous set of bastards, that the grant matters to you a great deal, seeing as how it represents 57% of your income. Or would you prefer to live off the £4,991 that you generated from individual donations last year? Face facts: without the government shovelling money at you, you'd be fucked.
It's funny how the charities that the government funds are always the ones that want to change the law, is it not? You never hear a peep from charities like the RNLI or the Donkey Sanctuary. You don't hear the Cats Protection League demanding a ban on dogs. You don't get the RNLI demanding a tax on dinghies. It's always the fake charities—the ones that no one gives money to—who think they can change the law of the land.
We don't play favourites at fakecharities.org. We agree with some of the charities' aims and disagree with others but their agenda is irrelevant. Some were born fake (e.g. ASH), others had fakeness thrust upon them when they started accepting millions from the government (e.g. Age Concern). Some are respectable charities that do good (e.g. RSPB, The Woodland Trust), others are mean-spirited bottom-feeders specifically created by the state to serve the state (e.g. ASH, Alcohol Concern). What they all have in common is our money, taken without our consent, and as my gracious host has said:
... any charity in receipt of any level of government funding is a fake.
It's bad enough that we have to pay the fat salaries of the avaricious shower of shitehawks who make up the House of Commons without having to support whining pressure groups as well. At least the politicos have to stand for election every four or five years.
Far from being, as the Internet Watch Foundation put it, "accountable" these fake charities are unelected, untouchable and, by and large, unspeakable.
So the third sector parasites can bitch and moan about being called fake charities. We can't come to an agreement on this because we fundamentally disagree on what charity means. They think they have a divine right to snatch our money and squander it on themselves and their own obsessions. We think that real charities rely on money that is freely given and use it to help those less fortunate.
So if they don't like being called fake charities, here's a suggestion. First, have a read of this very sensible proposal, then take a leaf out of the RNLI's book and throw the government's money back in its face.
Age Concern—give us that £2 million back and we'll take you seriously next time you say that being in the pay of the government doesn't compromise your relationship with the government. Maybe once you're truly independent, you might find the balls to admit that Harriet Harman's so-called Equality Bill—which you are currently supporting—is the most vile piece of legislation to be put before Parliament in living memory (y'know, seeing as how it will legalise racial discrimination.)
Internet Watch Foundation—either give us back the £467,000 you've taken from the EU in the last 2 years or give yourself a more appropriate name. The EU Department of Internet Regulation has a certain ring to it.
Alcohol Concern—you're not going to get far on five grand a year, are you? Let's have that £515,000 back and you get on the streets rattling tins. Let's see how many public donations you get when you haven't got the government there to swipe it from us under pain of arrest. I'm sure when you explain that you want to ban happy hour and raise tax on beer, the donations will come flooding in.
And to all readers of The Kitchen, please keep submitting the fake charities, and please give as many details as you can. There is still a long way to go.