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 .gov.uk 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.