One of the things we hear all too little about is the way in which charities, which like to refer to themselves as non governmental organisations (NGOs) are in fact becoming governmental. They\’re, to be fairly simple about it, being bought.
Being bought with our tax money. We all know that Friends of the Earth Europe gets 50% of its money from the EU to, erm, advise the EU on environmental matters (no hassles over conflicts of interest there then, eh?).
The latest little taster is Shelter being paid to puff government policies.
Shelter, one of the few organisations backing the plan to build new towns in the English countryside, said it had been given £100,000 by the Government to publish a series of 13 pamphlets, one for each proposed eco-town site.
Called "Eco-town – the facts", the publications are branded with the Shelter logo and claim to assess the impact the new homes will have in the different areas. Each one begins: "Shelter has written a series of leaflets to help clarify the facts."
But each 20-page leaflet focuses largely on the need for more affordable housing, with only one paragraph addressing such concerns as traffic levels, flood risks and pressure on public serices.
Opponents called the leaflets "Government propaganda" and accused ministers of trying to mislead the public into thinking the information came from an independent source.
This is the problem with government subventions to such organisations: they stop being independent.