Saturday 19 July 2008

and the winner is...

The winner of the caption competition ( see photo on blog below ) is the member of staff with the following ;

" Lovely meal Stephen , what exactly is sauteed Sparkles anyway ".

They have been sacked.

A close runner up however was ,

" Young , oh dear I can't remember what that was like ".

A Board member so they have not been sacked.

And now to serious matters ; The Charity Commission . They have ruled against the John Smith Institute on complaints about political neutrality . I have asked for the full transcript so we can review for our members .But the Guardian report this morning is worrying. It says the CC have criticised the charity for the number of events it held in No11 Downing St , because of the political nature of the venue .Come again? I thought No 11 was the seat of the Chancellor of the Exchequer .Of course then holder of that office is a politician . We live in a democracy . Any number of charities are proud to have events and receptions at No 11 and No 10 . it shows Government support for the sector . acevo was delighted when the Prime Minister hosted our 20th anniversary reception . Were we supposed to turn it down because the Prime Minister is also the Leader of the Labour Party?

They go on to say that charity trustees should ensure that all speakers are "politically neutral ". Now I would not expect Ed Miliband or Greg Clark to come to an acevo event and say " vote Labour /Tory " , but I sure would expect them to set out their views . And those views will be political . We are asking Nick Clegg to a lunch for acevo north members soon. I hope he speaks about more than just the weather. We have had a range of Tory speakers and Ministers . All are asked because my members want to know what their views are on matters that are the essence of politics . When we had Greg Clark at our recent conference he set out Tory plans for the sector and criticised government , that is what he should do and what members wanted . He was followed by Alan Milburn with his views on social exclusion and our role and that of government. It was entirely appropriate and useful for our CEOs.

The Vice Chair of the John Smith Institute says the Charity Commission are being naive . A healthy democracy requires both an effective civil society but also a fully functioning and lively political democracy . Much of what our sector does is political . If we are not engaged with , and contributing to political debate our democratic system will be the worst for it . This is not about party politics but a pluralistic society . I will have to look at this in more detail but I'm disappointed .

Lets hope the Guardian report turns out to be wrong . Andrew Hind comments please.

1 comment:

Guido Fawkes said...

A think tank is different to an educational charity. If you can't see something wrong with a party political educational charity then maybe you need to have a re-think.