Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Political Posturing is Not a Charities Job

The organisations listed below or their representatives have collaborated or even colluded in ‘Brexit politics’ at a sensitive time. They jointly signed a letter published in the Daily Telegraph on 31st December 2018 copy below.

Campaigning charities have the right or even obligation to speak out but only after due consideration. Such a considered policy needs to have full approval within the organisation and logically should relate to current circumstance  rather than matters that are still uncertain. Members of charitable organisations and donors have the right to expect balanced views from their charity or risk alienation of a significant proportion of the stakeholders. This particular letter is emotive and the conclusions drawn are by no means certain.

The Signatories

Mike Clarke RSPB     Stephanie Hilborne The Wildlife Trusts   Beccy Speight Woodland Trust     Shaun Spiers Green Alliance     Crispin Truman Campaign to Protect Rural England    John Sauven Greenpeace   Martin Spray Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust   Craig Bennett Friends of the Earth   James Thornton ClientEarth   Sandy Luk Marine Conservation Society   Nick Mabey E3G    Dr Michael Warhurst CHEM Trust   Helen Browning  Soil Association

SIR – No one who loves Britain’s beautiful countryside, or cares about our environment more generally, should be in any doubt about the disastrous impact of a no-deal Brexit.

We can expect traffic chaos, with the garden of England turning into the lorry park of England. Dangerous chemicals will go unmonitored. Farmers will face huge uncertainty, with high tariffs on exports and livestock stuck at borders. And we will immediately lose the institutions that have ensured cleaner rivers and beaches, and safeguarded important habitats for wildlife.

The Government has promised a “green Brexit”. That depends on continued cooperation with the EU and a mutual commitment to the highest environmental standards. No deal is not an option for a greener UK. (Our highlights)

Opinion and Action

  • I will not renew my membership of some of these organisations
  • I am actively reviewing my support for the other causes signed up to this letter. Those who emphasis ‘doing’ good will be favoured over those who talk an ill timed fight.
  • I will continue to advocate that charities avoid controversial involvement in politics even when I am sympathetic to the underlying issues.

Dealers in Drugs – Opioids for the Masses

Not all drug dealers have the negative connotations  one associates with street drug suppliers; consider the pharmaceutical based  Welcome Foundation or the Sackler family.

1128926 The Dr Mortimer And Theresa Sackler Foundation’s aims are  ‘the advancement of research and education in England and Wales and
elsewhere in the fields of art, science and medical research.’ The Sacklers funded the Medical Research Center at the University of Cambridge, our School of Clinical Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine at Tel-Aviv university as well as numerous other research programs and fellowships.

The wealth of the $multi-billion families of Raymond and Mortimer Sackler arises from Purdue Pharma a privately owned and operated global company which sells the opiate drug Oxycontin and Oxycodone.

Issues For Purdue Pharma

  • Major health concerns continue to surface about the use and abuse of synthetic opioid drugs. Increased mortality, reduction in life expectancy and more suicide & liver disease are cited.
  • Federal judges in Ohio are allowing public health organisations to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors.
  • In Connecticut the attorney general alleges that ‘the Purdue Pharma’s board and executives made huge financial gains by misleading doctors and patients about how addictive their prescription opioid medications were’.
  • ‘Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said the family that owns the drug company Purdue Pharma is personally responsible for the company’s role in the opioid crisis’   purdue-‘pharma-family-oxycontin-abuse
  • Back in 2007 fraudulent promotion of OxyCotin resulted in a $600million fine for Purdue plus personal fines for the executives responsible. Perhaps this will now be an outbreak of litigation addiction.

Concerns Beyond Charity

  • Other drugs in widespread use in the UK including fentanyl, tramadol and methadone are prone to causing addiction and other health problems.
  • The United States is in the midst of a drug crisis, with dramatic increases in the rate of opioid overdose deaths. Australia’s drug research center says ‘Powerful opioid fentanyl poses serious risk of fatal overdose’. Wake up UK it is also happening here!
  • Can charity and business mix?
  • Who has the ability to police and prevent corporate and personal abuse of such powerful narcotics. Charities are left to pick up the pieces.

War on Want Influence

WAR ON WANT 208724 is working in partnership with grassroots social movements, trade unions and workers’ organisations to empower people to fight for their rights. However they are being drawn into antisemitic issues dogging the labour party. Is this charity too political to be a real charity?

 Investigations into War on Want

There have been English charity commission investigations in the past:
  1. The former General Secretary, George Galloway was audited after claims he was living luxuriously at the charity’s expense.
  2. A War on Want investigation found accounting irregularities including  financial reports that were “materially misstated” from 1985 to 1989.
  3. War On Want was found to have been insolvent, subsequently dismissing all it’s staff and going into administration. It was rescued and relaunched in 1991.
  4. The Charity Commission has investigated War on Want, (formerly called Association For World Peace,) regarding campaign activities of a politicized boycott campaign against Israel but the commission did not take any regulatory action.

Previous War on Want Campaigns

War on Want is best remembered for it’s part in the 1970s helping to expose baby food companies aggressively marketing powdered milk infant formula as a healthier option than breast milk to mothers in the developing world. My daughter still will not buy Nestle products.

In the 1980s, War on Want campaigned on the role of women in the developing world, and supported liberation movements in Africa & the Middle East.

In 2010, War on Want’s campaign “Help win justice for the Palestinian people at Christmas” accused Israel of “illegal occupation,” “daily human rights abuses,” and “the siege on Gaza and the Apartheid Wall.”  in order to “launch a sustained campaign against UK companies that are profiting from the Occupation” and to “secure compensation for those who have lost land due to construction of the Apartheid Wall.”

The main purpose of War on Want and the 20 staff is to ‘challenge the root causes of global poverty and oppression.’

There are worse socially divisive things happening within charities than worrying about political motives.

 

Burma Looking for Salvation

The United Nations Security Council met on 30 August 2017 to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, Burma (Mayanmar). Nothing new about conflicts in Mayanmar. This latest crisis follows a  military offensive against civilians in Rakhine State. This time it is not The Salvation Army we know and love but an armed group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who are involved in the unrest.

Various UK charities are trying to ‘do their bit’ for Burma.

1. CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY INTERNATIONAL 281836
‘This charity is ‘working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.’ Christian Solidarity is calling for international action to tackle the crisis in Mayanmar, including measures such as targeted sanctions and the suspension of British training for the Burmese Army.
2. PENNY APPEAL 1128341
According to their latest funding appeal ‘close to 75,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following violence in Mayanmar.  The number is rising. They need your help, fast.

Treated worse than animals, this dehumanisation of the Rohingya people has become ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Human rights violations and destruction are rife, with women raped, children abused and villages burned to the ground. There is a mass exodus from the country as people flee for their lives, facing perilous journeys to do so. Dozens of refugees, including children, are missing and presumed dead, as Rohingya Muslims were forced to risk everything to escape this brutal persecution.’

3. KIDZ IN KAMPZ 1096118
Kidz in Kampz is still helping another oppressed minority from Mayanmar, the Karen people. Traditionally Karen people practised Animism (spirit worship) and  Buddhism. This smaller charity provides hands on service delivery on  projects such as  ′The School of Hope′ a school for children with special needs  located in Nupo camp. This refugee camp is  on the Thai border where the Committee for Coordination of Services to Displaced Persons in Thailand (CCSDPT)   focus on working with displaced persons from Burma.

 Comment

The above illustrations show three ways UK charities make an impact, via advocacy, by fund raising and providing service delivery. Choose your preferred method of helping those causes close to your own aspirations.

Dissing the National Trust Again

Gosh Ghosh is going! We wait to see what pension and final payments she receives. With her new role as Master of Balliol College Oxford  she should still be able to afford her National Trust Membership.

Six months ago I was sticking up for the National Trust when they got egg on their face over messing with Easter. Enough is enough and damaging headlines are again catching out this so called national treasure.

National trust rainbow badge –                       additional   material Mail Online

Telling volunteers they must wear a rainbow badge at Felbrigg Hall Norfolk in support of the 50th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality was heavy handed in the extreme. It has caused such ripples that the trust backed down and now say they only request that the gay pride badge be worn. These weasley words were issued after volunteers and members complained leaving in droves in protest.

LGBT is a community of people whose sexual or gender identities can create shared political and social concerns. Writing in the Daily Telegraph   Dame Helen Ghosh currently chief executive said those who did not wish to wear gay pride lanyards could ‘step back’ from volunteering or take a backroom role. But just hours later, the National Trust issued a statement saying: ‘We are aware that some volunteers had conflicting, personal opinions about wearing the rainbow lanyards and badges. We are therefore making it clear that the wearing of the badges is optional and a personal decision.’ What was not optional was the Trusts decision to ‘out’ Felbrigg Hall’s former owner, the poet Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, as gay.

 ‘Betrayal of Trust: how the National Trust is Losing its Way’.

This is the title of a presentation by journalist and historian Harry Mount  author of ‘How England Made the English: From Why We Drive on the Left to Why We Don’t Talk to Our Neighbours’ In a  public lecture he highlighted many issues for the National Trust including:

  • An organisation that was once the pride of Britain has been hijacked by a lethal combination of catastrophic dumbing down, social engineering, rampant politicisation and intolerance of opposing views under its last two director generals, former civil servants Dame Fiona Reynolds and Dame Helen Ghosh.
  • The Trust has sacrificed its original aims on the altar of political correctness and as a result we and future generations are all losers.
  • The mindset at the top of the organisation is alienating members and the volunteers who are the Trust’s lifeblood.
  • Headlines generated by this latest row have done nothing to help the Trust’s reputation for getting involved in areas it has no business to.
  • According to the National Trust Act of 1937, the Trust’s twin duties are the preservation of buildings of national interest and of beautiful landscapes.
  • Forget beautiful buildings and landscapes; what now matters is imposing modern political claptrap on our greatest country houses. It is symptomatic of an organisation that no longer cares for history.
  • A litany of further minor issues are raised in Henry Mount’s full article that make you question the management and politics of our National Trust. You may also be interested in his Spectator article on a similar theme ‘ How The National Trust is spoiling its treasures’.