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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

No sense of irony…

… in the Charity Commission report into how UK charities can be better harnessed to do the state’s work (dressed up as a survey of what they are already doing). It is called Stand and Deliver [pdf].

[Hat tip: Minette Marin in the Sunday Times]

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6 comments to No sense of irony…

  • Paul Marks

    Yes.

    Charity used to be defined as non (money) profit activity (for tax law purposes under a set of broad headings).

    However, the powers-that-be now intend to define it as serving the goals of the state – accept they use the word “society” instead of “state”.

    An obvious target will be independent schools. Unless they can prove they are serving “social objectives” they will lose charitable status.

    Of course this will not hit those schools that really are commercial enterprises (if they make a profit for owners schools are already taxed), but it will hit nonprofit schools.

    They will either accept the orders of the powers-that-be all lose charitable status.

    I have no axe to grind here. I went to a state school and have no children. It is just vile that the powers-that-be (not just the elected government, but the various “independent commissions” and other such) will not tolerate anything that is not under their control.

    No doubt the ruling will be applied to all sorts of things. For example, if someone wants to set up a charitable foundation to look after an historic house, or to support the arts, they will have to prove that such activity “serves society”, that the “right sorts of people” (in the correct proportion – by “income group”, race, “gender”, sexual preference, and so on) visit the house, or go to the performance.

    And (of course) that the building or activity teaches the “correct messages” – for example that the house contains information on how poor some people were in the period it was built (as if the poverty of some people is caused by the wealth of others), and the artistic performance teaches “progressive attitudes” – and so on.

  • It made me laugh!

    I’m the Treasurer (but not a Trustee) of a small society that is a registered charity. It carries out research into 20th Century popular entertainment and gets on by through publishing low volume specialist books.

    I gather that the Charity Commissioners occasionally attempt to question our Objects, however our Chairman is a noted academic and sends them off packing with very short shrift. Unfortunately, she is getting rather old and there is no obvious successor of her pedigree and calibre.

    These changes are rather pernicious as they open the doors to us having PC values thrust upon us. (As paul Marks also points out above).

    I was also a Trustee (and board Member) of a Professional Association for a few years. At the time, we looked into how we could stop being a Charity (as it causes difficulties with trading) and the answer was pretty much tthat any new non-charity association would have to start from scratch as there was no mechanism to transfer assets other than to another charity.

  • J

    Errr.. did you read the linked PDF?

    I quote:

    “Finally, it must be reiterated that it is not for the
    Commission either to encourage or to deter charities
    undertaking or considering public service delivery.”

    No where does it suggest that the state wishes to ‘harness’ charities. Indeed, a central theme of the report is concern that charities accepting money from the state start to lose independence. This is, IMO, as much the fault of the charity as the state.

    Charities are not required to accept state funding. I don’t see why my taxes are any worse disposed of via a charity than via a private company or a state department.

    The only thing the document suggests, is that it would like smaller charities to be able to accept state funding, and so allow (one presumes) the state to dispose of more of my taxes to such charities.

  • I have for some time been quietly (or not) fuming at the attempts by Miliband & Co to sequester, hijack, infiltrate, hook, net, Shanghai etc the Voluntary Sector on here and elsewhere.

    What stands out plainly is their utter incomprehension that anything could possibly happen on this earth without their oversight and interference.

    Maybe the only secure answer is to have a low flat tax with rule of law meaning no special cases even for charities. That way the state has no lever, no control. No arbiter on money means no traction for corruption.

    It is sad, very sad, as we have had decades upon decades with little or no meddling. Sadly, only now New Labour, as in so many places, drops itself, the turd, into the swimming pool, so polluting it with their malodorous memes, fetid mindset and toxic behaviours. Once they do that the water is not fit.

    The Sociofascists must erase all evidence that they are incapable of running the show.

    “Strike the name of Charity from all the pylons, from all the records…So it was groupthought, so it is memed, so it shall be spun”.

  • Paul Marks

    To J :

    It is standard practice for governments (and government commissions and what not) to say “we are not trying to…….” when they produce a policy that will do a certain thing.

    Two examples spring to mind:

    The 1911 National Insurance Act was said (again and again) to be not aimed at underming the “Friendly Societies” (the fraternal organisations that the great majority of industrial workers chose to belong to, which provided health care, unemployment pay and pensions). Lloyd-George and the other supporters of the Act said (endlessly) how the loved the Friendly Societies, how the Act would help them (they would help admister it) and so on.

    Of course the decline of the Friendly Societies can be dated to 1911 – and the supporters of the Act knew perfectly well that it would (in the long run) destroy them. Indeed Lloyd-George was an admirer of the Prussian system of government “insurance” (i.e. not “insurance” at all – but taxes called insurance), this is what the 1911 Act was all about.

    The other example is the American Civil Right Act of 1964. The supporters of the Act said (again endlessly) that the Act would not lead to quotas – indeed conservatives often talk of returning to the spirit of the 1964 Act (in their opposition to quotas),

    But, of course, there is no way to prove that one is not “discriminating” in employment unless one has a quota for the group in question. Then one can say (for example) “there are ten per cent of group X in the local area, and ten per cent of my employees are from group X – therefore I claim innocence”.

    Otherwise one can be sued to bits (one can still be sued even if one does have a de facto quota – but there is more of a chance of being found innocent). Of course, the Civil Rights Act does not operate under the beyond-all-reasonble-doubt measure for the “crime” of “discrimination” – it operates under the civil law balance of probability.

    It was inevitable that the Civil Rights Act (and later Acts) would be used to get de facto quotas and the key supporters of the Act (Senator H.H. and the rest) knew this (in private) perfectly well (unlike some stupid conservatives in America today – who talk about how the legislation has been “distorted”). Of course critics who tried to warn the public were branded “racialists” -for example Barry Goldwater (who did not have a racialist bone in his body).

    That the principle has nothing to do with race can be seen from the de facto quotas for women and (since President George Herbert Walker Bush’s absurd “Americans with Disablities Act”) for the disabled.

    Now a statutes that forbad “discrimination” against 41 year old bald men who are five feet eight inches in height and live in Kettering (Northamptonshire), would be a fine thing. I would like a nice job right now – or at least to be able to sue to bits someone who did not give me one.

    Trouble is that, as a libertarian, I believe such statutes are evil (just as the “Jim Crow” statutes are also evil) and therefore could not use one to my advantage.

    To get back to the specific subject:

    Of course the new regulations will be used to hit charities in the way Guy Herbert describes. It is not a question of being a Guy Herbert fan – it is a matter of looking at how governments operate, not how they say they are going to operate.