(nb. I am not the Devil's Kitchen)
Fakecharities.org continues to get a reaction, sometimes positive, sometimes not so positive. Funnily enough, all the negative reviews have come from people working in the 'third sector' (fancy that). One such chopper is a chap who blogs under the name Rob Permeable. Under the rather desperate heading 'Work with us, not against us', Mr Permeable misses the point by a country mile.
It is a mixture of incredulity and depression that I feel reading the same tired, naive, and reactionary opinion I have encountered many times working almost nine years in the third sector – in new hate-blog fakecharities.org.
If you've been hearing the same opinions for nine years, how long is it going to take before you get the fucking message?
The site sets itself up as a name-and-shame roll call of UK and international charities (yes, bona fide Charities Commission-registered non-profits) that *shock, horror* sometimes accept grants and funding streams from Government.
Funding streams? Funding rivers, more like. £3.26 billion at the last count.
The self-styled (and predictably anonymous) judge-and-jury bloggers
Rob Permeable's your real name, is it?
– so sickenengly echoing The Daily Mail editorial line that I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if was Paul Dacre in full Guido Fawkes mode – decide that any charity that accepts Government money – or indeed lobbies for change to alleviate inequalities in society – are not *real* charities.
Well, sort of, but its not either/or. In fact, they must accept
Well thanks for making that clear for us. I bow to your blind optimism that the national health service and state provision is adequately taking care of everything tickedy boo like.
Your hilarious sarcasm is misplaced, Permeable. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the site and its editor will be aware that we are very fucking far from being optimistic about the capability of the state to provide anything adequately.
Even if we were, it would have no bearing on fakecharities' hall of shame because, with a few exceptions, the NGOs featured there do not provide services. They certainly don't help people. Some are pressure groups, some are think tanks. All of them, in some way, are lobby groups and - yes - I do object to being forced to fund lobby groups, even if I agreed with their politics. And since these bastards have grown fat on 12 years' patronage from a government I despise, it will come as no surprise that I absolutely do not agree with their politics.
The second, and quite revealing, claim made on the site is that charities should all be run by volunteers and should serve only to “assist the poor, the sick, or the helpless".
Not our words, Mr Permeable. They come from the dictionary. Perhaps you should read it. Under 'charity, noun' it says:
"a foundation or institution for assisting the poor, the sick, or the helpless".
And we have never said that all charities should be run by volunteers, you straw-man building butt-monkey. What we actually say is:
People tend to assume that charities are primarily funded by voluntary donations and are primarily staffed by volunteers. Because we assume them to be essentially altruistic, we give their views more weight than we would a politician or an industrialist.
Spot the difference? Professionalism is not the issue. We have never claimed that charities should be run by volunteers (although they should certainly be funded by voluntary donations). But if you've got a charity that does nothing to help anybody, that nobody wants to volunteer for and nobody wants to donate to, then why in the name of Greek buggery should everybody be forced to fund it?
I’m sorry to break it to you but charities literally bridge the gap between over-stretched and underfunded NHS services, and damn right they should be subsidised or contributed to by these services and central Government in order to help more people. And to affect sustainable change to make sure more people are generally better off and living as independently as possible.
Again, the provision of services isn't the issue. If a charity is best placed to provide a service then the government is wise to pay them to do so. We have never had a problem with charities being paid for services or training, which is why Common Purpose, for example, has never made it onto the directory, despite numerous requests for us to do so.
Take it from me, your money is not being wasted by employing talent to help more people, or paying the ‘leccy bills so that details of databases or valuable donors don’t get lost.
And take it from me, you condescending cunt, that my money is most certainly being wasted on Alcohol Concern's war on drinkers, Brake's campaign to reduce speed limits, ASH's vendetta's against smokers, the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health's lobby fund to push quack medicine and by War on Want's campaign to overthrow capitalism.
Why the fuck should I be compelled to pay for a bunch of twats to go marching against free trade? Why do I have to finance neo-prohibitionists? It's not just that we can do without these people, we would actually be much better off without the bastards.
And before you say it, yes, I also resent having to pay the wages of politicians with whom I utterly disagree, but at least I can vote to kick them out of office. And at least you know where you stand with politicians, who are widely, and quite justifiably, viewed as the scum of the earth. Charities, on the other hand, are viewed as being - for want of a much better word - nice, which is why unelected NGOs and state-funded lobby groups revel in the halo of respectability that the word charity bestows.
And this is the real point. These NGOs/quangos/arms of government are charities for PR purposes only. They are, as Raedwald put it, the state in disguise. If anybody should be getting upset about the corruption of the notion of charity, it should be people who work for genuine charities like Rob Permeable. So why don't you, Rob, 'work with with us, not against us'?
Neither is it a waste to motivate grass-roots movements – within the one resounding and powerful voice of a charity – to lobby for change, groom MPs to do something altruistic with their vote for a change, or persuade heads of corporate companies to offer pro bono support or staff volunteers for a local project.
Which grass-roots movements would these be, then? Where are these people who want 20 mph speed limits and more tax on beer? Maybe I move in the wrong circles, but I haven't noticed many round my neck of the woods.
Of course, that could all change once Alcohol Concern and Brake have finished their systematic, state-funded propaganda campaigns, using dodgy statistics, fraudulent studies, bent consultations and rigged surveys. And therein lies the problem. These so-called charities exist because there is no grass-roots support for the hare-brained schemes of the political elite. They are funded by the state to create the illusion of a grass-roots movement to raise taxes and push political agendas that most people couldn't give a flying fuck about. Good God, man, can't you see any problem with the government financing groups to "groom MPs" and "lobby for change"?
I don’t entirely buy the argument that by accepting a stream of money from one Department or lottery-stream deems it impossible to remain a critical friend or outright lobbyist to that and other Departments – and that somehow this ‘blood money’ buys charities’ silence.
Really? You seriously believe that these people won't further the agenda of their paymasters? Then let me ask you something. If a charity that is whipping up panic over the obesity 'crisis' turned out to be almost exclusively funded by pharmaceutical companies who make weight-loss drugs - would you have misgivings about them? (Yes, National Obesity Forum, I'm talking about you.) If an anti-motoring charity turned out to be funded by bus and train companies (hello, Transport 2000) - would you say that there was a conflict of interests?
I would, and I suspect, Rob, you would too. They are quite plainly lobbyists with a vested interest. What magic process turns evil lobby groups into friendly charities when the money comes from the state rather than from industry? Or is it just that industry is always evil and government is always benign?
It's really quite simple. If you're in a charity that receives money from the government, you keep your fucking mouth shut when it comes to politics. You are a servant of the state, you owe your job to politicians and every word you say is suspect. You've taken filthy lucre from people who have no choice but to give it, you are a thieving bunch of parasites and if you had any sense of decency you would count your lucky stars and shut the fuck up.
And then comes what Permeable obviously believes to be his killer blow:
The final irony of fakecharities.org is that it contains a ‘donate’ button accepting all major credit cards…..You mean the bloggers aren’t providing their services on a strictly voluntary basis?? Heavens…let’s hope they don’t accept cash from any MPs…Could screw their independence.
If anything confirms that the charity industry has become so hooked on taxpayers' money that it can no longer tell the difference between voluntary and involuntary giving, it is this idiotic comment. They just don't get it. They cannot see the difference between private donations and public funding. Still, I'll spell it out one more time:
Firstly, we are not a charity, nor do we claim to be.
Secondly, we are not trying to change the law, raise taxes or get anything banned.
Thirdly, we think that voluntary giving is a good thing. In fact we think that voluntary donations distinguish 'a good cause' from a fake charity.
Fourthly, unless DK is quietly stashing it away for the Christmas party, I'm not aware of anyone ever contributing anything. The fact that the donate button was added with the words 'more in hope than expectation' should give you an idea that we fully expected it to be clicked on even less often than the 'I am under 18' button on youporn.com.
Fifthly, if hell freezes over and an MP decides to give us some money, we would tell them to shove it up their arse.