Why I feel for Guido


When we lived in Highgate (2000-2), we were rudely awoken one morning (at 6am!) by the government-run Charity Commission (CC), aided by the Met Police. Why? Because our landlady, who resided downstairs, ran a charity which was targeted by zealots from the CC.

Of course, they didn't find anything 'dodgy' but they made life hell for her and fellow trustees. If you run a small charity and play by the rules, then you're 'easy prey' for interfering government officials. If, on the other hand, you're a larger charity, then the Commission is all too willing to turn a 'blind eye' to misdemeanours (as seems the case with the Smith Institute). On another matter, just why is Greenpeace, a blatantly political organisation, a registered charity?

The CC should cut down on regulations and do its job better. It should also be independent of the government. In the meantime, Guido, you can expect an early morning wakeup call - and it won't be a Lib Dem delivering a "Good Morning" Focus!

PS. famous Spy, David Shayler, now occupies our old Highgate apartment!

4 comments:

David Allen said...

...and if I remember rightly, the charity of which your landlady was a trustee was working with refugees from a country the government of which Her Majesty's Government were trying to keep sweet at the time! No coincidence there, I'm sure. When you consider how many blatantly political charities there are (but which support the kinds of causes approved of by the New Labour elite)which never get touched by the CCs, one can be forgiven for imagining that the alacrity with which they are attempting to intimade Guido is also politically-motivated. It's also pretty disgusting that the Met will collude in political raids on a private home. Guido is hopefully well-enough known for these bovver boy tactics not to be used in his case. Not surprised to hear your old landlady is now giving a home to Shayler after her treatment...

Duncan Webster said...

How about the Conservatives register the Conservative Research Department as a Charity. Surely that's as independent as Greenpeace or the Smith Institute?

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Indeed, Duncan.

Matt Davis said...

Justin I'll tell you how Greenpeace get away with it:

They have completely seperate legal entities for different areas of their work. The British fundraising and scientific research bits are a undertaken here by a UK based registered charity, the political campaigning is actually done, legally, by a Dutch Stichting which, whilst under Dutch law does have a kind of charitable status, is technically allowed to engage in political activity since the Dutch allow charitable politics (perfect place for the FibDems really).The ships etc that do the international physical stuff are also owned by the Stichting. Greenpeace is a worldwide organisation which makes good use of the various legal options available to it across the world.

Good blog btw.