It’s the pomposity that grates

Oxfam said: “We can confirm that we reluctantly took the decision to withdraw the right to volunteer from four people from the Hay-on-Wye shop. We were disappointed that, despite extensive efforts by both Oxfam and the volunteers, including undertaking mediation, it has proved impossible to resolve the situation in any other way. The four volunteers felt that they were unable to accept the ways of working which are standard across our shop network or commit to fully uphold our values.”

The very worst of corporatespeak applied to volunteers in a charity shop.

And how do you withdraw a right anyway? Isn’t a right something that one simply has, not something that is granted?

Or is this a right as in Soviet, anyone has the right to stand for election as long as they’re a Party Member?

14 thoughts on “It’s the pomposity that grates”

  1. Something I’ve been saying for ages. There is no such thing as rights apart from in a strictly legal sense. There are only obligations. These people were free to volunteer to work for Oxfam. There’s no legal impediment to them doing so. Oxfam has no obligation to accept their offer as long as it didn’t contravene legislated equality rights

    ” Isn’t a right something that one simply has, not something that is granted?”
    Definitely not. It has to have been granted by legislation. Or how do you enforce the matching obligation? To be strictly accurate, it’s the obligations that are legislated.

  2. “Or how do you enforce the matching obligation? To be strictly accurate, it’s the obligations that are legislated.”

    I’m struggling to see how that applies to Human Rights. What obligations? Raping and stabbing people don’t seem to result in any loss of Human Rights despite the raping and stabbing most definitely taking away those of the victim.

  3. The Oxfam shop in Hay-on-Wye must be the epicentre of Guardian-reading smugness. Send lions. Or as it’s Wales I suppose that’s llions.

  4. The basis of English law is that rights exists regardless of legislation. Legislation can curtail of withdraw those rights but it is that way around. This is the opposite of the EU.

  5. “The basis of English law is that rights exists regardless of legislation. Legislation can curtail of withdraw those rights but it is that way around. This is the opposite of the EU.”

    If you stray onto my piece of land you may find yourself on the wrong end of a pump action shotgun loaded with triple A. Whether you become a messy hole surrounded by miscellaneous arms, legs & head depends on whether I decide to pull the trigger. The sole deterrent factor is the law obliges me not to. I personally don’t give a fuck. You don’t have any rights.

  6. For a pompous, and obviously silly, view of rights, I cite that scoundrel Tom Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men … are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

    See, if you wish to assert some proposition that makes no sense, just blame God. Especially if your attachment to Liberty is denoted by owning many slaves, and your attachment to the right to Life is marked by fomenting a war.

    I know it was just a tawdry advertising flyer he wrote, but still.

  7. It must have been twenty years ago, or more, that we learnt what shits Oxfam management were – and presumably still are. Is any national charity substantially better? I remember once saying here that my list of respectable national charities had shrunk to just one – the Salvation Army. I have a nasty feeling that someone corrected me even on that.

  8. I’m fascinated by the concept of volunteers getting fired. What? I’m working for nothing you prannet, it’s no skin off my nose, only yours.

  9. dearieme,

    “It must have been twenty years ago, or more, that we learnt what shits Oxfam management were – and presumably still are. Is any national charity substantially better? I remember once saying here that my list of respectable national charities had shrunk to just one – the Salvation Army. I have a nasty feeling that someone corrected me even on that.”

    I don’t think there’s much benefit to most national charities, and there are probably disadvantages. The main thing they use their size for is to dominate media channels, so that people give money to them, instead of other charities. And it has become an arms race, of charities spending just to get your money, even if a chugger takes 99% of it.

    And most of what they do has little scale advantage, lots of middle management and more opaqueness.

  10. @Dearieme

    As a volunteer for S.A. … It depends on what level you look at the organisation, and where you are.
    The local branches are relatively independent, and tend to look/work with the local situation. The overarching national organisation tends to be as …multicorporate.. as you can expect, with all the negatives attached. International it’s..even worse.

    The people “on the floor” are either volunteers, or professionals with at least some form of ideals (you definitely don’t work for S.A. to get wealthy in a pecuniary sense..).
    Higher up… Well, you get the peeps who are responsible for millions, if not tens of millions, and their sycophants staff. Ymmv there, but the amount of “salon chair Christians” does markedly increase at that level.

    Frankly, the best way to donate to S.A. is checking out with the local shelter and find out what they actually need. Because procuring anything smacking of “luxury” ( real or imagined) Through Channels generally requires a literal Act of God.

  11. I remember that sixty-ish years ago my mother had a standard quip “you can’t drive volunteers”.

    Oxfam corporates have no idea of real life – which is a bit worrying 🙁

  12. Theophrastus (2066)

    Rights exist only in a legal system. Human rights and natural rights don’t exist: they are metaphors, referring to legal rights. Rights-talk is simply a stilted version of our moral vacabulary.

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