Posts Tagged ‘third sector’

Volunteering’s a means, not an end. Charities should get elected or get stuffed.

15/02/2011, 09:13:48 AM

by Dan Hodges

Private Eye editor, Ian Hislop, was once asked for his view on  an upcoming libel case involving Mohammad Al Fayed and Neil Hamilton. “I hope they both lose”, was his response. I’ve got the same feeling about the unfolding debate about the “big society”.

There are times at the moment when attempting to analyse  British politics feels a bit like analysing the Mad Hatter’s tea party:

“’Have some wine’, the March Hare said in an encouraging tone. Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. ‘I don’t see any wine’, she remarked. ‘There isn’t any’, said the March Hare. ‘Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it’, said Alice angrily”.

Or, with apologies to Lewis Carroll:

“The prime minister announced, with a flourish, his ‘big idea’. ‘Our purse is empty. But do not worry. The voluntary sector will shoulder the burden’. The volunteers looked up with a start. ‘But we can’t. You’ve taken all our money as well’, they cried. ‘Taken your money’? replied the prime minister, ‘But I thought you were volunteers’? ‘We are’, they responded, ‘and we expect to be well paid for it’”.

Perhaps my analogy is a touch harsh. Our nation’s voluntary and charitable sectors are not the equivalent of Mohammed Al Fayed. And no one is the equivalent of Neil Hamilton. (more…)

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Nick Palmer says the sacred cow of income tax may be unwell

15/06/2010, 02:33:56 PM

One of the curious features of being a Labour MP in the last three elections was that we would often wake up and find out from the newspapers that we were irrevocably committed to something that we had not discussed, but which Tony or Gordon had decided was vital to our chances.

A hardy perennial was the recurrent commitment not to increase the standard rate of income tax. This was part of the New Labour deal: we were not unilateralists; we weren’t going to nationalise the commanding heights; and we wouldn’t put up your income tax.

This probably did help initially in refurbishing our image, but it has become a sacred cow. In these troubled times, we should re-examine the cow to find out how it’s getting on and if, in electoral terms, it is actually still alive. (more…)

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