The picture we see, with the striking exception of Reform, is of secrecy among the rightwing groups, creating a powerful impression that they have something to hide. Shockingly, this absence of accountability – and the influence-peddling it doubtless obscures – does not affect their charitable status.
The funding of these groups should not be a matter of voluntary disclosure.
The \”right wing\” think tanks do not disclose who are those who volunteer funds. The \”left wing\” gropuscules are more open about it.
Now of course I am biased here. Some part of my income (not a large part I assure you, beer money no more) comes from one of those think tanks which told George to bugger off about who supports them, the ASI.
So are we seeing double standards here? Yup, we certainly are and damn right too. The \”right wing\” tankies are funded by people doing as they wish with their own money. The lefties, as a quick perusal of their accounts at the Charities Commission will show, are largely funded by government itself. That we know that our tax money is spent on people clamouring for there to be more tax money, more State intervention, is important is it not?
So, yes, I\’m entirely happy with entirely voluntary disclosure on such matters: what individuals do with their money is up to them, just as what brand or style of bread you buy is private to you. What the money which has been raised from us at gunpoint gets spent on is rightly a matter of public record.
That Friends of the Earth Europe gets more than 50% of its funding from the EU, funding supplied so that it can lobby the EU, is important information. That Alcohol Concern gains some 90% (these numbers are from memory, do check them at Fake Charities if you wish) of its money from government, that the salt puritans, the smoking bansturbators, are similarly funded is equally important.
And I\’ll even make a deal. When Deborah Arnott\’s screen and radio appearances, public utterances, are accompanied by a \”this wanker is paid for out of your taxes\” warning then I\’ll make sure that my income, and thus my funding, is similarly disclosed. Until then you\’re all cordially invited to fornicate and travel.