Tuesday, 2 August 2011

What is it not?

Then they’re not charities, are they? Not for profit organisations, certainly. Quangos, probably. But charities, no.
A quarter of all charities receive funding from the state and for some groups – such as employment and training organisations – it can make up the bulk of their income.
*thud*               *thud*               *thud*               *thud*                  *thud*
That’s the sound of me hitting my head off the desk. Look, a charity is an organisation that an individual donates money or time to voluntarily. An organisation which takes money purloined from me under the threat of prison, without my having any say so is not a charity. It just isn’t. We already have employment and training organisations, they are called schools and colleges. Throwing money at organisations to right their wrongs is not the answer. Address the problems in the education system. This is a system that is little more than a stat generating organisation so politicians can throw brickbats at each other. Come on, why not really think about the children, instead of the next election or management ‘teaching’ post? As for organisations who get the bulk of their income from public funds, well, where’s the accountability? Where’s the democracy? If I’m not happy with the way the Home Office or FCO is being run, I at least get the chance to vote for someone else to have a go, with these ‘charities’, where is my say? It’s my bloody money.
Research for the False Economy website [. . .] found it was charities related to children and young people that were most affected, with more than 200 receiving cuts in funding.
Look, the party is over. I’m sure you’ve been doing very important work and I’m sure it’s made you feel very important. But the fact is that our national debt is running at £900 billion, we simply do not have the money. You may as well shriek that the sun isn’t green and that our rivers don’t run with ginger beer.
Voluntary Action South Leicestershire (VASL) has lost £20,939 state funding for its befriending service, which supports those those who are isolated and lonely.
And that is a scandal, not that the funding has been cut, but that people are isolated and lonely and relying on ‘support’, whatever form that takes, from perfect strangers. I find myself wondering how much support a group can provide. How often are these people visited or taken out? Once, twice a week?
The problem is not a lack of public funds. The problem is a system which squeezes so much out of people financially that they have to work and work and work to keep their heads above water. A system which has spent the last twenty years telling people there is no problem that cannot be solved by state funding and intervention, when the truth is that there isn’t a problem which cannot be made worse by state funding and intervention.
Successive governments have launched shocking and devastating attacks on the old bastions of family, friends, neighbours and community, and reduced them to rubble. They’ve told us for over a generation that only the state can provide your needs, desperate to make us reliant on them, and they simply cannot deliver the goods. Dave’s Big Society is a con, he wants people to provide the services for free, but I get the impression he’s wanting to make sure it is all carefully overseen and controlled. Governments don’t like people doing things for themselves.
These people aren’t isolated and lonely because of some nebulous ‘social decay’, they’re isolated and lonely because of a social vandalism that is nothing short of criminal.
Well, now they’ve run out of our money. Again. Giving people our cash to do stuff that has always been done by friends and family was never going to work, will never work and can never work.
The problem is, the system is so comprehensively destroyed, I don’t know if it can ever be repaired; looking after the people is now the job of the state and the state is incapable of love, tenderness or humanity – it will always be reduced to numbers on a sheet of paper.
How? How can you quantify compassion? It certainly can’t be expressed in pounds and pence and checklists.
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