Gissa job!

First I think think that the lack of experience Lady Stowell has makes her wholly unsuited for this task. If the supposed crisis at Oxfam suggests anything it is that the charity sector should no longer be the preserver of the enthusiastic but unskilled amateur and that appropriate skills are required. It is a failure of leadership to appoint someone without the required skills to the Charity Commission in that case.

Second, I do not believe that resigning your party membership when you have previously been appointed by that party to high political office breaks your association with a party or party politics and it is absolutely clear that party politics is not a part of UK charity activity. To have someone in charge of the sector who has been partisan to the date of their appointment and whose resignation is solely motivated by that appointment pushes the boundaries of credibility on this issue both for those who suspect that this is a political appointment and for those who want fair play to be seen to be done, as I do as someone who is very clearly interested in politics but who has very clearly not endorsed a party line and has been critical of all parties when I think it appropriate.

There is only one man with the skills necessary who has not been a member of a political party.

Step forward Richard Murphy, head of the Charity commission!

47 thoughts on “Gissa job!”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    He is right about one thing – pretending you are not a member of a political party doesn’t mean you ain’t and charities should be non-political unless explicitly defined otherwise.

    Let’s ask Shami Chakrabarti. Of Press Council fame. Of the inquiry into the Labour Party’s anti-semitism problem fame. Now a member of Parliament taking the Labour Party’s whip.

  2. So will the Spudster criticise all those appointments of Labour Party retreads to head quangos? No, thought not.

    As for Baroness Stowell, a Tory government will always struggle to fill quango appointments with right of centre candidates because most right of centre people can do other things, while former Labour politicians are fit for nothing – and so want to get on the public sector gravy train.

  3. I remember Murphy saying “we must reclaim the Party from the Blairites” which implies that he was part of “we”, implying that he was part of the *political party* that he wanted to reclaim – the Labour Representation Committee of the Trades Union Congress.
    Point two – it is possible, for people with integrity to act as an honest referee/umpire (that the rare unfair decision in sport – which might just have been an honest error – is remembered resentfully after half-a-century just shows rare they were) but those totally lacking in integrity may fail to understand this

  4. What is it with Murphy always seeming to be pitching himself for one job or the other? If his accounting firm was worth a shit, he’d have taken a pile with him when he sold his shares and left.

    Which then begs the question: Under what circumstances did he leave? If his shares didn’t amount to much, why would a sweaty, overweight, middle-aged ‘I have no other prospects’ nobody give them (and his career) up?

    Anybody know why he sold out?

  5. If the supposed crisis at Oxfam suggests anything it is that the charity sector should no longer be the preserver of the enthusiastic but unskilled amateur and that appropriate skills are required.

    I’m not sure being able to resist the temptation to hire locals for the odd blowjob counts as a skill.

  6. Deploying loyal cadres to highly-paid high-status positions in the humanitarian industry, to thank them for their support in leadership contests, is par for the course in politics. Seldom if ever do you get to the top by dedication, principles and skills.

  7. What exactly are the skills appropriate to sit on a Commission tasked with dropping other people’s earnings from helicopters and taking credit for any chance improvements?

    Or, as with most other of his pronouncements on qualifications and criteria, does it boil down to being in agreement with himself?

  8. “Murphy says: ‘I had wanted to move away from conventional accounting for a while. I’m working more as a business consultant these days.’”

  9. Andrew C

    The leverage you would get from a staff of ten (at least one presumably being non chargeable) with 3 partners is pathetically small in terms of profits.

  10. “What exactly are the skills appropriate to sit on a Commission tasked with dropping other people’s earnings from helicopters and taking credit for any chance improvements?”

    Pouring wine into cardboard boxes, apparently.

  11. Spike cf. David Miliband.

    CEO’s and other senior positions in charitable organisations are just sinecures for otherwise useless tossers.

  12. Murphy’s getting a bit of a hammering about his hypocritical approach to secrecy over on his blog.

    Worth a read for his absurd reasoning and double standards.

  13. @ Steve
    I got the impression that she did a pretty decent job as Speaker, albeit that may just have been in comparison with her successor. When I was young Sir Harry Hylton-Foster was Speaker and he had a reputation for being thoroughly just and fair.

  14. Um, Charity Commissioner needs training but bankers must be ordinary blokes and not have any training. Well, it worked with the Co-Op didn’t it? Oh, wait…

    That’s the thing with Lefties, they would rule by whimsy, whatever takes their fancy at any given moment.

  15. @DtP – I heard he left due to a PI claim for some duff advice he gave. Hearsay of course, but given his *output* anything is possible.

  16. There’s a brilliant comment by the painter Jack Vettriano on Capt Potato’s absurd rant about Companies House

    Jack Vettriano says:
    February 19 2018 at 10:33 pm
    You keep banging this drum yet despite frequent challenges you have not exposed one single actual case where the system you are complaining about has led to fraud or tax evasion. Not one. Not one single case.

    Of course, you’d like an army of nosey civil servants cramping the economy. Money laundering checks on 3,500,000 companies. Repeated every 3 years? An average of a million a year! The vast vast vast majority of those checks would show nothing. A waste of everyone’s time and money. Have you costed this crackpot idea? How much it would cost busineeses? Course not.

    It’d be like having a roadblock on the M25 checking every single vehicle’s boot just in case there’s a body there.

    Surely even you could think of a better way to use those resources?

    No, this idea gets put along with all the others in the “totally unworkable” pile.

  17. Bwahahahaha….

    Richard Murphy says:
    February 20 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Why can’t EU reform be achiev3d?

    It’s been remarkably adaptable to date

  18. Does anyone else find that Captain Potato’s answer is a bizarre non sequitur?

    Nina Hartley says:
    February 21 2018 at 5:20 pm
    The Guardian report did not specify any particular skills, which is why I was curious whether you had any views on the skills required. If you were to ask me for my vision, I would suggest that any charity that receives more than 20% of its income from governments is not a charity but a government department and ought to be administered like a government department and subject to parliamentary scrutiny. I believe it should also pay corporation tax.

    The growth of behemoths such as Oxfam, Greenpeace and WWF has taken the concept of charities to absurd limits. The way that these bodies meddle with the internal affairs of other countries is inappropriate in this day and age. I thought the days of imperialism and colonialism were over.

    Richard Murphy says:
    February 21 2018 at 6:01 pm
    So how do you suggest aid should be delivered?

    And if the government does not interfere in RBS which it very largely owns why should it engage in charities it contracts with?

    Please explain?

  19. The Unused Testicle


    I kid you not that accountants have to perform money laundry checks on all their clients every year. So yes, every business in the country that has an accountant who is a member of a professional body, which must be close to your 3.500.000 as it includes unincorporated businesses and all the directors/partners of those businesses, is checked three times as much as you are concerned about already.

    Of course, there is a huge industry that has formed on the back of this bureaucracy that is paid for by the businesses which is passed on to Joe Public. Just wait for GPDR in a couple of months’s time, when people who hold your data on computer have to write to you every year to confirm it’s ok to hold your data. And yes, there’s a huge industry arisen on the back of that too.

    The Broken Window fallacy has been revisited in the 21st century and it has been decided it is not a fallacy at all, but a jolly good idea and it has been implemented a thousandfold.

  20. Much better to have someone from outside a sector heading its regulator.

    Lady Stowell’s lack of past involvement with the careerist ‘Third Sector’ should be an advantage. She might look at charities with the eye of a member of the public, rather than one of the gang.

    A restoration of amateurs might be what we need.

  21. “Richard Murphy says:
    February 21 2018 at 6:11 pm

    You can tell, I am really not big on porn actresses”

    Would Rocco like to confirm this shortcoming?

  22. 10 staff and 3 partners for the whole firm.

    Well, that explains everything right there. I probably make more as a sole practitioner than he ever has a “senior partner”. And who in their right mind would pay more than a pittance for an interest in a firm with that sort of staffing?

    Three partners and a staff of ten… What that tells me is that at least two of the partners weren’t worth a shit (or weren’t much more than a glorified in-charge). And I’m guessing I can name at least one of them.

  23. “The Unused Testicle

    I kid you not that accountants have to perform money laundry checks on all their clients every year.”

    You should tell the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales this.

    Their guidelines at 5.46 say no such thing, only that an existing relationship should be ‘monitored’ on an on-going basis.

    Once you’ve told the ICAEW, you should then tell HM Treasury, as they approved the guidelines.

  24. “the charity sector should no longer be the preserver [sic] of the enthusiastic but unskilled amateur and that appropriate skills are required.”

    But didn’t he argue that bank directors should be “enthusiastic but unskilled amateurs” and not people with relevant expertise of banking?

  25. Henry Crun – yes, useless except at asking donors for £50k donation. Or managing an organisation that may well have a mix of employed and voluntary staff. And that may be operating over multiple sites and dealing with multiple contracts.

    CEO position in a charity requires a number of skills. Often someone who has already had a career and made their fortune takes it on as a way of giving something to society.
    Some do rise through the ranks in charities to become CEO though takes considerable dedication to gain the skills.

  26. he was peddling this fiction of not being a member of the labour party 8 + years ago at an event i attended organised by the labour party at a labour party office where the other speakers were all members of the labour party. When asked why he didnt join the labour party he said if he didn’t then he could pretend to be independent – though he made perfectly clear this was a fiction/device. The mans a lying sleazebag.

  27. Martin, any organization that has a CEO on a six figure salary plus pension is NOT a charity or can be considered a charitable organization. It is a business and should be treated as such from a tax and regulatory perspective.

    I do know from first hand experience working with the ATC that there are good people working in Trusts and other charities that work voluntarily giving up their valuable time to support those organisations sans compensation.

    It is the likes of Oxfam, WWF, Greenpeace, Cancer Research and Miliband’s Thunderbirds et al that seem to attract those who, if they worked in the private sector would find themselves out on their ears in pretty short order, are completely incompetent, money grabbing, self-righteous half-wits.

  28. Does anyone remember Spud’s outrage back in 2006, when Quango Queen Suzi Leather’s appointment to the Charity Commission post more-or-less coincided with her joining the Labour Party at age 49?

  29. Mind you, Spud’s views on Aid are obviously the product of an obsessive: it seems to be about helping under-developed countries to collect more tax. I am really not sure how he thinks the UK aid programme helps this although he is clearly a supporter. As far as I can tell, we spend most of the money lecturing African countries on the dangers of climate change but I doubt that the heroic potato is open for questions on this topic

  30. Henry – a charity is a legal entity. Nowhere does it have CEO salary or pension into the requirements to set one up or run one.
    Much as you may want charities to be treated differently than they are now the UK governments of the past decades have disagreed with you.
    Yes they are indeed businesses or have to act like one. Many of the same rules that apply to other businesses apply to charities too.

    Now as for your list of groups, you are aware some are NOT charities in any sense of the word?
    Greenpeace for example is not a charity and could not operate as they do if they became a charity.

    Yes there are plenty in charities who are there because they believe in a cause. Can be petty, self serving, selfish, ignorant gits but they believe in what they are doing.
    Pretty much like in any organisation.
    I daresay there are prison guards, tax inspectors, nurses, police, gardeners, shop assistants etc who believe in what they are doing too.
    If you were CEO of a charity you could get rid of the worst people working there. Until you are in a position of authority and able to make such decisions you cannot interfere with the internal workings of a charity any more than you can interfere in the internal workings of a company.

  31. Diogenes:

    DtP as I recall he was married to one of his partners in Murphy Deeks Nolan.

    I thought his wife (and 1% partner in his LLP) was a GP – or is she the second Mrs Murphy? Hard to believe the spudster could find two women who would put up with him, isn’t it?

  32. dcardno – its strange to think of him putting up with anyone else.
    If his online rants, censorship and replies to others are anything to go on his ability to have anyone else get on with him is extremely limited.
    I can imagine a very small echo chamber but to find 2 or more people that he’s willing to communicate politely with is stretching the ability of the planet to supply.

  33. @Martin
    “Now as for your list of groups, you are aware some are NOT charities in any sense of the word?
    Greenpeace for example is not a charity and could not operate as they do if they became a charity.”
    “The Greenpeace Environmental Trust is a registered charity (284934)”

    Well, one of you must be wrong.

  34. @ Andrew C
    If you look at the Greepeace Environmental Trust website you will find that it says “as part of the wider Greepeace movement …”.

    Martin is correct. Greenpeace claims tax breaks for the little bit of its activity that can be claimed to be charitable and carries on its criminal activities under a different name from that of the “charity”.

  35. Further to Greenpeace as a charity… The Canadian authorities (Canada Revenue Agency, although under a different name at the time) revoked Greenpeace Canada’s charitable status in 1990 (or so). They tried the same dodge, of setting up a separate “Greenpeace Fund” that would remain a charitable operation while the main group would continue as before.
    This was denied, with the CRA stating that it was merely a fund-raising conduit for the (non-charity) Greenpeace Canada. After a losing appeal on this ruling, Greenpeace tried a second time with a separate charitable arm, which was also not given charitable status, and Greenpeace Canada gave up on operating a Canadian charity. They have adopted similar arrangements elsewhere, with a separate ‘charitable’ operation, some of which have been accepted, and some of which have not.

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