Friday 1 January 2010

Great Dames and absurd Knights

Blogging after a satisfying romp on Clapham Common with the Hound., now gently dozing at my feet. I'm in London rather than Charlbury as yesterday the family celebrated my mother's 80th birthday ( photos to follow ).

Great to see Clare Tickell being Honoured in the New Year list. A Dame . And well deserved. I have known Clare for many years and she is one of the sector's finest chief executives ( and a former acevo trustee), and it is a crowded field ! Good also for Action for Children , the charity she leads so brilliantly. (Amusing to see dear Robin Bogg getting his plaudits in early ). Various other great sector leaders are honoured at differ net levels. It is good to see this as an antidote to the usual suspects . important the Honours recognise all sections of society .

I am also delighted to see a range of letters in the Times in support of our stance on the Hospital charity budget and accounts issue . I think the most telling was the letter which rather pithily stated , " If , as the DH asserts, this will make no difference , then why do it ? ". Indeed . I have had a very helpful email from one of the top firms of accountants in the sector which is clear that there is no actual justification for the proposal to consolidate budgets and accounts of the Hospitals and their charities as the charities cannot be properly said to be " controlled" by the parent hospital and so subject to this new accounting regulation . . We are now considering how to take this further . There may be steps we can take to frustrate this move if we cannot get the DH to rescind this advice . But essentially it is down to the Charity Commission to show its metal and instruct all registered hospital charities not to allow their accounts to be consolidated . And if any accounts are consolidated then an immediate review of the charity and its Independence must follow. Time for robust action Dame Suzi! I am sure we can rely on you!

But back to Knights . or one in particular ; a certain Angela Knight who runs the British Bankers Association . She has issued a New Year message to her members in which , I read , she attacks the Government for " irresponsibility ." . Er , sorry , run that one past us again Angela . Did you have a parallel universe Christmas? As we survey the wreckage of our economy at the end of 2009 and reflect on the damage to our communities and to the public purse the issue of irresponsibility rests fairly and squarely with the disgraceful antics of the bankers.

Just how difficult things are is made clear by the report from the great disability charity ,
Leonard Cheshire , which reveals that one in twenty disabled people have lost their jobs in the last 12 months and worst is expected. , with living standards to continue to fall and public spending cuts ( to bail out those banks ) soon to follow. It is a mark of a seemingly deep seated arrogance of the financial sector that , yet again , they fail to acknowledge their mistakes and expect the rest of us to put up with their continued whines about not getting their big fat bonuses. Well done to the Chancellor on his bonus tax say all right minded people. It is good however to see that not all those in the financial sector take the line of the BBA. I see the top financier , Guy Hands criticising the bonus culture and arguing time for change . That has to be the right approach ; we need a strong financial sector , but it must be one based on responsible banking .

Ms Knight might be best advised to suggest to her members that a period of quiet reflection might pay greater dividends than this distasteful public display . I was at Mass this morning at the local RC Church in Brixton , the rather grand Corpus Christi on Brixton Hill. One of the readings seemed a rather apposite New Year Message for all those in the British Bankers Association ,

" And the rich he sent empty away . "

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