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

A government gag, you say? I hope they tie the knots good and tight.

The Times reports:

Charity lobbying rules are ‘government gag’ say critics

Attempts to stop charities using taxpayers’ money to lobby ministers have been branded draconian and are an “attempt to gag organisations raising concerns about policies”, it was claimed today.

A clause has been inserted into new and renewed charity grant agreements, stipulating that money must be spent on improving people’s lives and on good causes rather than lobbying for changes to regulations or for more funding.

While the government insisted that the clause would not prevent charities from using privately-raised funds for lobbying campaigns, others were not convinced.

Matthew Hancock, cabinet office minister, said: “Taxpayers’ money must be spent in improving people’s lives and spreading opportunities, not wasted on the farce of government lobbying government.

“The public sector never lobbies for lower taxes and less state spending, and it’s a zero sum if Peter is robbed to pay Paul.

“These commonsense rules will protect freedom of speech – but taxpayers won’t be made to foot the bill for political campaigning and political lobbying.”

Good. This incestuous relationship between the government and what were once charities has corrupted both.

19 comments to A government gag, you say? I hope they tie the knots good and tight.

  • Why should money taken from me by force be used to fund speech I find offensive?

    (For the same reason I find the idea of government-financed political campaigns utterly offensive.)

  • Matt Moore

    Surely if their current lobbying spend is below total private donations this has no effect on behaviour?

  • RAB

    What? You want to stop us using Taxpayers money to lobby for more Taxpayers money? Outrageous!

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    Patrons should not be allowed to dictate the terms under which the entitlements will be spent! Charity-givers have no rights! Or, if they do have, they shouldn’t! There ought to be a law against it. For the kiddies, of course.

  • AngryTory

    Charities and unions have no place bribing MPs or civil servants.

    (For the same reason I find the idea of government-financed political campaigns utterly offensive.)

    Not just government-backed political campaigns, but also government-backed political parties.

  • Surely if their current lobbying spend is below total private donations this has no effect on behaviour?

    Money is fungible.

  • Mr Ed

    The sheer bloody effrontery of the hacks posing as charities is amazing. The BBC (Radio 4) had some Bishop on complaining about this, and he purported not to know what ‘sockpuppets’ are. The sheer nerve of these scoundrels purporting to know best what to tell the government has gone on for far too long, and this is far too little. A simple charity reform would be:

    1. Any advertisement or campaign of a political nature (other than £10 will buy a tent for a refugee etc.) would mean that the ‘charity’ loses its status, is subject to all taxation that a corporation faces, all donations by Will are deemed revoked and are to be returned barring specific provision in a will to the contrary.

    2. All charities must state in all adverts, and on letterheads, posters, official communications fundraising phone calls and all external emails etc. the CEO or equivalent’s salary and benefits package as declared to HMRC, or the highest paid worker’s package. A false declaration or a failure to make it has the same consequence.

    3. Trustees and managers of the charities surcharged with imprisonment for debt for any shortfall in monies due in case of abuse of charitable status.

    4. Church of England Bishops kicked out of the House of Lords, the Church of England is subject to ‘inheritance tax’ upon a change in the Archbishops of Canterbury and York (40% of assets) in respect of assets in each Province, so that we can pay for more welfare schemes.

    Sorted, even if one has to compromise one’s ideals a little.

  • Mr Ecks

    This illustrates the bizarre split-mind condition of BluLabour.

    The cultural Marxist crap that Camoron squeezes out of his every orifice is supported by exactly these NGO scumbags. These same “charity” con-artists –who support the CM shite that is Tory policy -are now to be defunded by the same people whose antics-in-govt they are supporting.

    While the cash-cut is certainly a positive for we good-guys, what is going on behind the scenes seems incomprehensible. Some sort of silent civil war? Or intense stupidity? Or yet actual mental illness on the job?

  • Stonyground

    It has always been my understanding that registered charities were not allowed to get involved in politics. I had always assumed that these charities were breaking the law with impunity because nobody bothered to enforce it.

  • NickM

    Mr Ed,
    I is with you. The amount charities spend on things that are not their “core” objectives is outrageous which includes lobbying for more money. The choir of the ENO is going on strike over cuts. I shall surely die!

    Now let me get this right. At some point the arts kinda self-funded. Now who was the greatest playwright of all? Oh, William Shakespeare. Did he get a an Art’s Council grant? I don’t think so. He put bums on seats (sort of – the poor stood and engaged in a whole load of boozing, whoring and gaming) and ran a business that made a profit.

  • “This illustrates the bizarre split-mind condition of BluLabour.” (Mr Ecks comment above).

    Buried underneath much wimpishness rationalised as “what is politically feasible / prudent”, and some mere careerism, I suspect a desire in some that you term BluLabour to feel free to be more Blu and less Labour. They would feel more free to utter (shyly, and with many qualifications) a common sense remark if they could stop funding attack dogs to punish them whenever they did. Sadly, I feel that “silent civil war” greatly exaggerates the vigour of this impulse. But I’m not at all surprised it is there. Precisely how they talk and act in public suggests great awareness (and fear) of the power of the attack dogs. It’s no surprise they therefore also don’t like them and will defang them if they see the opportunity.

    Now to see of this policy is enforced, or the attack dogs can reverse it, or an activist “judge” can gut it of effect, or the European Court of Human Wrongs act can preserve this particular wrong along with all the others.

  • Mr Ecks

    Neil Kilmartin: There is something in what you say–but you can’t seriously be suggesting that Mr Phig-Fook and his Cabinet gang are really secret Tories and only the fear of media criticism is what keeps them spewing out CM idiotic policies by the bucket load.

  • Paul Marks

    Either an organisation is independent or it is not – if it takes government money it is not an independent charity.

    Yes – they have been corrupted.

    The idea of professional paid “managers” (who answer the adverts in the Guardian and the Independent) is also corrupting.

    The two things (government money for charities and paid “managers”) are linked.

  • CaptDMO

    Of COURSE they are, you see, “We MUST pay such “managers” TOP DOLLAR, that we can attract the VERY BEST in (alleged and “appointed”)talent to …um….navigate the halls of the legislature. They’ll need the VERY BEST in assistants to properly fill in the blanks on the provided forms of course, that they not be bogged down with such trivial matters.”
    or something

  • AngryTory

    is subject to all taxation that a corporation faces

    Ideally in a democracy, a corporation should not be subject to any taxes.
    Charities, as a great drag on the economy, should be taxed good and hard.

    Any advertisement or campaign of a political nature (other than £10 will buy a tent for a refugee etc.) would mean that the ‘charity’ loses its status,

    NZ did this. Some big charities just split in two: a charitable arm and a terrorist arm which was not charitable.
    That’s why the real pressure shouldn’t be on charities, but on all economic- or other terrorist groups: yes pressure groups but also unions, leftist political parties, churches, etc.

  • monoi

    That still does not answer the question as to why the government should give any taxpayer money to any charity.

  • NickM

    monoi raises a point of interest. No,nyet! Da gubbermunt should not take from us and “give” to charity.

    Not evah! If I give to charity I do it of my own free will.

  • Laird

    If it isn’t given of your own free will it isn’t “charity”, it’s merely outsourced government spending.

  • Not so, I’m afraid. Abolishing the laws against charities lobbying was, IIRC, another one of G Brown’s triumphs.

    Charities are now allowed to lobby, but not for a particular political party.

    This iniquity was why I started Fake Charities in the first place. It has only taken seven years—and lots of IEA reports—to take effect…