Sunday, May 17, 2009

Defending the indefensible

(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 Government taxpayers' money and lobby the government to make it onto the list. It's very, very easy to stay off the fakecharities directory. Fill your boots, take our money, take the fees, provide the services. You can do all this and more, but once you start using government money to lobby the government, you are compromised. If you want to get into politics, stand for election.
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.

Okay?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

STOP THE PRESSES! Public sector profiteer defends public sector!

Tomorrow's headline: bear defecates in wood and pope confirmed to have fondness for choirboys.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I for one am against fakecharities.org. As a smoker and a drinker it nearly gave me an aneurism when I found out that I was actually funding through PAYE the organisations looking to take away the small pleasures I actually enjoy.
This is a very dangerous site and should banned for the amount of stokes and heart attacks it may cause.

BTW: I told the guy who knocked on my door collecting for The Red Cross that I already gave every month via PAYE and then through that to the Department of International Development. He had no answer.
(By my reckoning 50% of the British Red Cross funding comes from the DOID)

wv. vests ( or should that be vested interest)

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Fourthly, unless DK is quietly stashing it away for the Christmas party, I'm not aware of anyone ever contributing anything."Someone did give a tenner a little while back. Enough for a pint or two. Or to go towards my server costs...

DK

The Grim Reaper said...

I was slightly disappointed with that analysis. Not enough swear words aimed at Rob Permeable, who is clearly a cunt of Ed Balls proportions.

Frank Davis said...

Any plans to add CRUK, BHF, and RCP? They're charities too. And they're all cunts.

Verity said...

Anonymous 10:56 - your intention of derailing the agenda in order to serve your personal political obsession has failed.

Boom boom!

The Amazing Toad said...

"It's very, very easy to stay off the fakecharities directory"Too damned right it is. Simply name your "charity" "Common Purpose" and no matter how many people forward your case for inclusion on the site, you'll be safe as MPs houses.

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/SHOWCHARITY/RegisterOfCharities/SearchMatchList.aspx

Uncontestable proof Common Purpose are funded by the government, here;

Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative) | Hansard source
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was.
Anne McGuire (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Minister for Disabled People), Department for Work and Pensions; Stirling, Labour) | Hansard source
A number of DWP senior managers have attended leadership courses run by Common Purpose in the last five years. The total expenditure for each of the last five years is listed in the following table. The courses have helped improve leadership skills. Given the nature of these courses, they have also helped foster valuable partnerships in the local community which can be used to improve the service offered to our customers.
£
Total Spend( 1)
2002-03 43,452
2003-04 72,691
2004-05 48,980
2005-06 43,111
2006-07 31,161
(1) Rounded to nearest £1

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2007-07-26c.147601.h

...here;


Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much his Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was. [147593]
Gillian Merron: Payments made to Common Purpose between 2002-03 and 2005-06 can be found in the table as follows.
£
2002-03 5,523
2003-04 165
2004-05 0
2005-06 0

These payments were made in connection with Cabinet Office staff attending either training programmes or conferences run by Common Purpose.
Details of the outcome of the expenditure can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Details of any payments made to Common Purpose in 2006-07 will be available when the Department’s resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament. This is expected to be before the 2007 summer recess.
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070711/text/70711w0005.htm


...here;


Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative) | Hansard source
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was.
Gareth Thomas (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for International Development; Harrow West, Labour) | Hansard source
DFID has provided the following funding to Common Purpose in each of the last 5 years.
£
2002 35,792
2003 117,644
2004 27,897
2005 0
2006 0
This funding was provided through our Civil Society Challenge Fund in support of a three-year project in South Africa which ended in 2004.
This project provided training programmes designed to build the capacity of leaders from all sectors to undertake civic leadership and management roles more effectively.
An independent evaluation conducted in February 2005 found that the project met all its objectives.
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2007-07-05b.147605.h


...and here;


Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative) | Hansard source
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was.

Derek Twigg (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Veterans), Ministry of Defence; Halton, Labour) | Hansard source
Sums paid to Common Purpose UK in each of the last complete five financial years, inclusive of VAT, are as follows:
Amount (£)
2002-03 56,576.25
2003-04 66,716.50
2004-05 42,958.00
2005-06 58,456.27
2006-07 83,817.89
These payments covered the cost of participation by MOD staff in Common Purpose UK's training and education programmes. Programmes of this nature help to develop leadership skills, to gain understanding about broader aspects of government and to share experience with and learn from participants from both the private and public sectors.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2007-06-26c.145342.h


By their own accounts (http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/registeredcharities/SIR/ENDS84/0001023384_SIR_07_E.PDF) you can extrapolate that they received £3,229,716.40 of government money in 2007 alone.

Cue swearing.....

Letters From A Tory said...

Labour have corrupted our charity sector beyond belief and this idiot is not doing a good job of defending the government (assuming that it is even possible to do so in these circumstances).

Of course charities want extra funding, but they cannot claim to be wholly independent once they take state cash and can therefore no longer claim to be 100% charitable.

Bert Rodinsky said...

Permeable's article has been reposted on the Disability Message board bog where there is an interesting Editors note which contains everything I need to know about Rob Permeable :-

"Rob works as PR manager for Whizz-kids"

I realise that more and more charities are run like businesses but to me "charities" employing full time salaried PR Managers seems wrong. I always wonder how much of my donation goes to those in need and how much goes to pay salaries and perks for employees.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Toad,

The issue is that Common Purpose is delivering a service in return for the money.

Private conversations that I have had with those who have attended the training courses suggest that said courses are not particularly good, but we cannot empirically determine whether or not the services provided are worth the money.

This applies to other charities that have been submitted. As such, we concentrate on those charities that receive grants from government bodies -- and we try to indicate whether they are Unrestricted (general funding) or Restricted (supposed to be used for a specific project).

DK

Stop Common Purpose said...

Do me a favour, DK.

Common Purpose is a total fraud.

http://www.stopcp.com/index.php

The Amazing Toad said...

DK,

Thanks for your reply. I have heard tell of CP receiving grants from local government, but I don't have any concrete link presently. If and when it becomes available, I will re-submit.

Yours


Toad

Stan said...

Great post. Personally I don't believe that any government funding should be provided to charities - or that any "charity" which accepts government funding is a charity. All charity funding should be entirely voluntary.

ukipwebmaster said...

Good Post.
You wouldn't need a website about fake MP's........

Young Mr. Brown said...

I work for a charity, and have done for most of my adult life. In addition, I have been involved, in a voluntary capacity, in the administration of various charities not connected to my employer. Furthermore, I give my financial support to several charities that I have no other involvement in. I am completely committed to the charitable sector, and take a considerable interest in it.

With that declaration of interest out of the way, let me say that I have seen much in the charitable sector that I am very uncomfortable with, and I believe that fakecharities.org is long overdue. As the Filthy Smoker says, it is very difficult to actually get onto the list - so difficult, in fact, that there are a lot of dubious charities out there that will never get onto it.

Well done to DK and those involved. Keep up the good work. Don't worry about the critics. Of course you are going to be hated by a lot of people who are involved in these 'charities'. There is no way that it could be otherwise.

fewqwer said...

Labour's 'third sector' corruption makes MPs' expenses look like pin money.

fewqwer said...

Of course, all private and charity sector organisations in competition with the state are a threat to Parasite Sector sinecures, and must therefore be assimilated through funding, or destroyed through regulation.

Chalcedon said...

Damn fine article. Your definition of a fake charity is spot on. I support Action Aid. I think they do great work providing children in shitholes with education and training, so they can pull themselves out of the mire. Bit like teaching to fish rather than giving a fish. They take government moolah, but they don't seem to be pontificating about political bollox over here, just focusing on help and education in Africa, S America, SE Asia etc al.So It seems to me anyway so I wouldn't call them a fake charity, not in the league of ASH, Brake (sanctimoneous twats), Alcohol concern (users of false data and prohibitionist scumsuckers). I hate any organisation that simply wants to ban things that most of us find pleasurable in some way or otherwise useful.

Smidgeon said...

Rob Permeable's blog has disappeared. Perhaps you made him cry.

Flavious said...

How tragic, it's been deleted...

God they just don't have any staying power these days. Must be too much suckling on the government teat that weakens 'em so.

A fine fisk btw Mr filthy.