Sock Puppets

Christopher Snowdon has penned a report for the IEA that exposes what many of us who were paying attention already knew, but which comes as a surprise to much of the population.

The paper is  Sock Puppets: How the government lobbies itself and why.  It is a study of state-funded activism with a particular eye on those charities who lobby the government whilst in receipt of government money.

That said, the level of this corruption is staggering even to those of us who regularly use the term “fake charity” to describe these thieves, charlatans, mountebanks and scoundrels.

In response, Phil Taylor comes up with a proposal to resolve this iniquity.

Could I suggest a rule of thirds? The Charity Commission should insist on the use of some designation such as “Government sponsored body” for any organisation that accepts more than one third of its income from government sources of all kinds but still wishes to be treated as a charity. Once a body exceeds two thirds of its income from government sources it should cease to be a charity and should formally become an agency of the relevant department. It could then be monitored by the NAO and use a web address, etc. Then we would all know what we are dealing with.

This is all fine and dandy, but it misses an essential point –  we, the taxpayer, should not be expected to fund this stuff at all. Therefore, I have a simpler more easily managed solution; no state funding for charities at all. Those that are worthy causes will continue to attract voluntary donations (the RNLI manages perfectly well, for example). Those that are not, that are merely the political wing of the puritanical extremists who wish to micromanage our lives and lobby government to that effect will find themselves starved of funds –  and that is a good thing. We, the individual donors will get to keep more of our money and will be able to decide for ourselves which causes are deserving of it. So, win, win all round, I think.

5 comments for “Sock Puppets

  1. June 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Classic case of the bad eggs ruining it for everyone. It’s also a bit like tourists flocking to what was previously an unspoilt island. A bit here and there never attracted much attention but this out and out corruption brings the whole thing crashing down and so no one gets anything any more.

    And always it’s driven by greed.

  2. John
    June 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Just imagine if ASH had to survive on funding it received just from public donations?

    They wouldn’t be able to pay anyone. In fact they’d probably need to ration the milk and coffee…

    • June 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      That’s a feature, not a bug 😉

  3. June 18, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Too many organisations are rats nests of political lobbyists posing as a ‘charity’. It’s high time the legal definition of charity was enforced more rigorously.

    Make the buggers pay their full whack of taxes as well. That should please UK Uncut.

  4. June 18, 2012 at 8:05 am

    The socks are holding-tanks (to hopelessly mix my metaphors) for political wannabes. They aren’t employable in the normal sense and are selected from about age 18 as disciples so they need a place where they can be fed and watered until they are ready to place in public life, where they will dutifully sign-off public money back to their tank.

    The IEA show this does not have to be the case; they deliberately will not accept government grants.

    @Bill Stickers

    Alas, you underestimate the difficulty of defining a charity in legal terms. The legislation – which had been in place since Elizabeth I – was updated in 2006 and then again in 2011.

    See how you get on with the opening paragraphs. You may wish to sit down and have a cold flannel handy before you attempt it.

    The Charities Commission provide a skeleton history of the development of the law:

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