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News and Current Affairs. / Re: BBC, disability, poverty
« Last post by Sunny Clouds on 21 Jun 2019 08:50PM »
"Apart from anything else 76% of charities are run by people unqualified to do so, so aren't able to provide the support they claim effectively."

Could you provide a source for this statistic, preferably broken down by type of charity, e.g. schools, charities whose sole activity is making grants etc?

What are the criteria for being qualified to run a charity and who do you regard as running them?  The trustees or those, if any, that they employ to do so?

Most of the charities I've been involved in have had people running them who were eminently qualified to do so, be that small charities (such as one I was a trustee of that had very little funding and was a vehicle for helping women to engage in community regeneration) or much larger ones.

For example, I'd have thought most educational charities have an experienced teacher as chief executive.  There are a lot of problems with some of the charities providing healthcare, but I see no evidence that either their CEOs or chairs are significantly differently qualified from their NHS counterparts. 

My two nearest hospices function as charities.  Neither has been embroiled in any scandals and they have an excellent reputation as to the healthcare they provide.  Their deficiency, from my perspective, is not how they function but that they should be needed.

As for vulnerable relatives, I think if you look at the statistics, most of us eventually have vulnerable relatives simply by virtue of age, but I'd have thought it relevant to only a small proportion of charities. 

I don't see where you're coming from on the Queen and medals thing.  Do you really think that any but a very, very small proportion of those that set up and/or run charities ever get any sort of medal or other official recognition for it?

I struggle with your reference to the charity not vetting those wishing to set up a charity.  Our state doesn't vet those wishing to take advantage of other formal structures and tax arrangements in terms of what they are able to do, except insofar as some people may be barred individually from certain activities.

A charity does not have to be nice or decent or efficient.  That is not what a charity is.  It is what some charities like to sell themselves as, but it is not, per se, a legal requirement.  Insofar as there is any regulation as to services provided, that is carried out by regulators, where such exist, relating to specific areas of activity. 

Insofar as some are incorporated, they have additional reporting requirements, the same as all companies.

I think that you judge charities in terms of what you think they should be, rather in terms of what the law requires that they be.

However, I do not think that you can have it both ways.  You seem to think that charities should be required to operate as if they are functioning as part of the welfare state whilst objecting to any expectation that they should.

I have a lot of problems with how some charities, mainly big well-known ones operate, but I draw a distinction between what they do and what charities in general do.

My biggest problem is where charities attempt to function as political campaigning organisations.  That is not the function of a charity as the law established them, and we are long overdue for a new legal structure for campaigning organisations that would be fit for purpose as neither charity nor political party.

I do not disagree with you that charities should make sure they have appropriate consultation and representation arrangements.  I do not think that the fact that a charity is concerned with a particular disability means that it should be run just by those with that disability, but if they don't have many of the sort of people that would, but for their relationship with the charity, fall into the category of a beneficiary of that charity, then at the very least they should show some very robust consultation processes.

But again, I think that this is something where you and I will never really agree, because I see a difference between a campaigning or shared interest group, and a charity as a financial and legal structure.  My best illustration of why I see things differently is that, for example, I wouldn't expect a private facility caring for people with dementia to be run by people with dementia as opposed to consulting with people with dementia; but if people set up a campaign group or mutual support group for people with dementia, then it would seem to me to be realistic to expect that it would be run by people with dementia, albeit perhaps facilitated by people without.

Which brings us to what probably causes the most differences between us in this - I think that some charities represent themselves as what they're not, or blur the lines.

So, for example, as someone with bipolar disorder, I look at Bipolar UK and wince at some of the twaddle they put out.  I remember when they published something online "I'm not bipolar, I have bipolar."  Cue a row on their messageboard.  That was the point at which I thought I no longer wanted anything to do with them.  My attitude was who are they to say what I am or am not?

And that, I think, illustrates it.  For me, Bipolar UK is illustrative of those organisations that blur the lines between carrying out functions that meet the legal criteria to be a charity, and giving the impression of being a representative body, which actually they're not.

Which brings us to the sort of deaf charities you like, such as BDA and AOHL.  I think I might sound less hostile to them, but I am not a fan.  I haven't had any occasion to be up to speed with what BDA does for some years now, but that's because they seemed to have a very one-sided notion of what deafness is.  I distinguish that from if they'd been simply taking the view that some deaf people need some support and others need other support and they're the ones dealing with Deaf people who sign and identify as culturally Deaf etc. 

AoHL has some good aspects but I'm not sure what they actually achieve.  I will admit to having got in touch not long ago to see whether there were any grassroots campaigns regarding hospital accessibility, only to be told there are already national NHS standards, and referred to their cards that you can print off, fill in and give to reception.

I looked.  Rather a narrow notion of what people need, to judge by the tick boxes and the very small space available for details.  What I need is something as simple as requiring my local hospitals and clinics to be prepared to 'call' me visually when I'm in a waiting room, instead of calling my name out not very loudly and then getting annoyed like it's my fault when I don't hear them.

So that limited recent contact tells me why I didn't stay in contact before.

What I'm tryint to say, On the Edge, is that you and I have an awful lot in common, I believe, in our views.  We don't like the way some of the big charities are run.  We're not happy with various disability charities and unimpressed with the national deaf charities (or is that putting it too politely for how we feel about them?)  We are both adamant that support for disabled people should be a state-funded human right, not a kindness.  We both think that support for disabled people should be properly funded.  We both think that disabled people should have a proper say in what support they are entitled to and get.

My disagreement with you is simply as to the existence of the tax structure called a charity, overlapping with the issue of whether there should be alternative non-governmental facilities for those that want them.

To say what I mean by the latter - let us suppose that it is accepted that people with a psychotic disorder should have access to support, including groups, and that such should be properly provided by the state.

I would consider it restrictive in a manner I could not politically tolerate if people were then told that they could not set up and run their own support groups as well.  After all, we say that people should be able to have access to adequate spectacles on the NHS, but we don't stop them going out and buying their favourite frames or spending more on their preferred form of varifocal whatever.

And I don't see why there shouldn't be a tax concession that distinguishes between commercial entities and those doing public good, which is what charities are, or at least technically are.

Perhaps you and I will stop disagreeing about this if any government gets off its backside and tidies up the law on this to create a different range of structures for structural and financial purposes.
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I find Question Time really biased. Not because the panel doesn't have a good mix of people, but they constantly move on from important questions and points that people raise. We'll never get answers regarding UC, spending cuts, or Brexit. I think the best thing to do is to challenge the government directly. Go on marches, speak to MPs, etc. We could also protest the media as well. Especially the BBC. Every side claims the BBC are biased against them, but I think that whomever they're against, they don't let people speak.
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News and Current Affairs. / Re: BBC, disability, poverty
« Last post by On the edge on 20 Jun 2019 08:18PM »
There are no two ways about it.  Charity should NOT be a substitute for any state provision, it is the onus on the government and respect for human rights they look after and provide for the most vulnerable of the populace.  Apart from anything else 76% of charities are run by people unqualified to do so, so aren't able to provide the support they claim effectively.  Most are set up by people well-meaning who may well have vulnerable relatives, but that still does not qualify them to provide the right support.  As a result, most fail or there is a mass duplication area by area scrabbling for a cut of the ever decreasing cake to provide the same or similar services as the people in the next county or areas.  National charities you would really struggle to FIND any disabled people leading those or, making the decisions of support or where to supply it.  62% of ALL Charity HQ's are based in London or Southern England.  Anywhere else the queen won't give them a gong.

The charity relies on the goodwill and occasional funding from the government it's just not good or reliable enough to supply the needs of the disabled and vulnerable population, meanwhile, the DWP is taking it all away again.  I confess disappointment disabled are involved with them, I suspect most were fooled by 'Disabled know best how to help other disabled' mantra, this was an image sold to them by the uncaring state, and, we bought it.  So disabled take the blame again when charity doesn't cut it.  The Charity Commission has a 51% government stake thus ensuring our desire to set out what is really neeed (which of course costs money), is restricted.  The CC also has no ruling on vetting people wanting to set up a charity not even if those who apply can show an ability to run one, or enough knowledge/ability to provide the services they claim.

10 years ago The deaf had 48 charities in the UK all doing the same thing.  They multiplied to 163 today still all claiming to provide the same services.  The national charities of the BDA/AOHL have next to NO deaf members at all.  We deserted them after they pushed out deaf people at exec level and claimed they could not prioritise the deaf grass root or train them up to required levels, because "That would leave our charity open to claims we are discriminating against hearing people..'  I said yes, you mean the 94% of hearing staff who run your charity?  or the 11% of hearing immigrants from the EU eastern bloc you hired? and you paid their visa fees with our money?   At that point I got racist jibes hurtled at me.

The reality is disability support is in excess of a 16B a year plus income, to think for one-minute corporate charities are going to allow us in...  As I said before there is no end game with the charity they need us reliant on them so they can survive, we should be running our own services either as individuals or supervising state support by us for others to ensure we come first.  Charity is dead in its original format and premise now its an area for only corporate professionals to run.  National Charities also defy the reality health and other services are devolved to regions too.  National charities are screwing up regional support.  There is too much money at stake to allow us to do it ourselves, and money is the only thing that really matters.  The rest is a distraction.
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News and Current Affairs. / Re: BBC, disability, poverty
« Last post by Sunny Clouds on 20 Jun 2019 12:08PM »
I'm going to challenge you on what charity always was.  It wasn't to replace the NHS, which didn't exist, but to replace a lost/destroyed mediaeval welfare state.

Charities were set up as a tax-avoidance scheme under Elizabeth I.

Henry VIII is known for whats is now called the 'dissolution of the monasteries'.  The church had been, in effect, the welfare state.  It provided healthcare (or, more realistically, palliative care), homes for destitute (albeit often as nuns/monks), education etc.  What Henry did was to steal most of the land and resources, leaving the population helpless.

People with money also tried to provide for others after their death by 'uses' which were like trusts, bypassing death taxes.  Henry legislated them away but before he died, lawyers invented trusts, which were the same dodge.  Give your money to someone else before you die to look after your family or whoever, and you bypass the death tax.

Elizabeth created the 'charity', using this new 'trust' set-up.  The legislation she signed off on is known as The Statute of Elizabeth, and is, to mix metaphors, her crowning glory.

The original definition of charity, slightly amended in the late C20, was basically where someone or some people did one or more of the things we think of as the welfare state, like the relief of poverty, tending the sick, education etc.  Thus it was an official way for rich people to avoid death tax, which would otherwise have gone to the crown.  It was how Elizabeth and her government and civil servants set up a new welfare state.  Not a good one, far from comprehensive, but nevertheless that was what it was.

It remains the case that a charity is a set up where someone or some people get tax concessions if what they're doing with their money amounts to things that we would, in other contexts, call the welfare state.  Thus Charities and their function as a tax concession (with no requirement to be 'nice') precedes the NHS by a few centuries.

And it remains the case that most charities are small and most aren't well known.  Even the not-so-small ones are generally not campaigning charities in the way we know one.

I was a director/trustee for many years of a charity with an annual income the best part of 5million p/a.  It was known  in the local area but we weren't asking the man in the street for donations.  We got the money from grants, including the EU, the council, other charities, businesses etc.

We provided schooling for 'disaffected' pupils, nurseries, groups for elders, out of school activities, youth training and activities, a couple of playgrounds, a bit of greenery, place for craft groups etc.  We provided somewhere for people to meet, somewhere for the people no one else could be bothered to help.  Sometimes the most important thing we did was to get people in a deprived area to get what they were entitled to.

The trustees (like me) were unpaid, and we took care over salary ratios.  As we had a school, the CEO, who's been one of those that had set up the charity, was entitled to pay on a national salary scale but had a distinctly lower level of pay at her own request.

I don't disagree with your descriptions as they apply to a relatively small number of well-known charities, but they do not represent the majority of the many thousands of charities in the UK.

More to the point, whilst I agree with you that it is wrong for the welfare state to be destroyed and for people to be expected to rely on charity, I fundamentally disagree with your analysis of what charities are.  I think that your image of them is based on relatively few well-known ones, not on the vast majority of them. 

Apart from anything else, I would draw a sharp line between what you describe as exec and campaigning levels.  In relation to those charities (which aren't the majority) that campaign, I can see the issue as regards visible disability, although I'm not sure the basis on which you'd say it for invisible disability. 

I'm also very dubious as to whether you've actually got any reliable statistics for executives of charities overall. 

I think you've developed a very fixed notion of a charity as a modern thing and as being the sort of charity that just a few, well-known ones are.  As I say, I would agree that there are lots of problems with them, but I disagree that they are representative of charities overall.
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News and Current Affairs. / Re: BBC, disability, poverty
« Last post by On the edge on 20 Jun 2019 10:03AM »
I don't usually whinge about BBC bias.

I take the view (and always have) that they are inclined to be slightly biased towards whoever is in government and/or towards whoever they think is likely to be soon in government, i.e. towards those that make decisions about licence fees.

I also take the view that in their desire to be seen to be balanced, they make some very unbalanced decisions.  Being left of centre, I'd pick up on the figures in Private Eye that show that the two politicians who've appeared most on Question Time are right of centre, the second most frequent guest at 33 appearances being Nigel Farage.

Someone right of centre might take the view that their satire is more towards the left of centre, and we could argue all night over whether they're 'too politically correct' or 'insensitive towards groups that already experience prejudice' etc.

However, my blood nearly boiled over a couple of days ago when looking at the BBC homepage.  There was a homepage video with a headline urging us not to associate disability with poverty.  I admit to not having watched the video, but it's the headline and topic I'm not happy about.

Why?  I'm guessing the politically-minded amongst you have noticed that the BBC reporting on the findings of the UN's special rapporteur on poverty, Alston, have been from the perspective of Rudd objecting to them.  I do not consider the reporting to have been balanced.

If that same report had been produced in relation to, say, Pakistan or Italy or South Africa, the BBC would have been all over it.  Shock!  Outrage!  Interviews with affected people!

And the video article about disability and poverty?  Well, it's now just on the Africa page.  Oh, did I forget to mention?  Yes, it's something to do with an African woman.  Let's press the buttons, shall we?  What's the stereotype for Black African?  Poor.

So this is "Call yourself poor, disabled people?  You don't know what poverty is.  You live in a rich country and Africans are really, really poor.  And they don't have all that fancy first world disability kit and adjustments.  This Black, Disabled woman is an inspiration!"

Aargh!


PS - politically, I confess I don't have any hopes of the UN putting any pressure to bear on the UK government over poverty or equal rights.  When you see which countries are at the heart of the UN's sundry overlapping human rights structures, for example Saudi Arabia, I can't see them condemning the UK.  But I had hoped that if it hit the headlines, maybe others in this country might begin to take on board what's being done in their name.

I really don't watch the BBC much anymore, it's too PC and their recent demand to force old people to pay for a licence to watch the junk and bias they put out was pretty much the last straw.  Not content with dumping ouchers out of the Disability area at the BBC site,  and removing all feedback whilst setting up a 'media acceptable' set up of disability, who would want to be part of that?  The BBC disability site is a travesty of and consists of a few disability luvvies basking in their own lighting being ultra careful NOT to challenge the disability images the BBC portrays that bear no relation to us much.  Charity is anti-disabled always was, the idea is to replace the NHS and care system with poorly funded charitable support allowing the state to abdicate its legal and moral responsibility to its most vulnerable.  Any basic perusal of charity would show we aren't represented where it counts at exec level or campaigning levels.  It is all a beggarthon for more money, to pay more able-bodied the opportunity to patronise us even more, with no bottom line of an end to charity support its a self-perpetuating and never-ending reliance for those who use it.  The double whammy means the state offloads blame to charity instead of it being directed at them, cushty.
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Talk / Re: Francesca Martinez attacks the government on Question Time
« Last post by JLR2 on 17 Jun 2019 05:20AM »
Hi
I think that the newspapers and journalists in general are so caught up in the tory party leadership and Brexit that they ignore everything else.  There have been several other issues but they only want to catch Boris Johnson out or witter on about Brexit.

Two thoughts Monic, first the government will be more than content for this distraction to continue as it draws away any attention to the mess of Universal credit and second it seems somewhat odd that whilst more or less everyone, the press  included, can see just how undemocratic it is to have 160,000 members of a political party decide who will be a country's prime minister they, the press are, or do not appear to be, in any great hurry to fight such imposition of another unelected prime minister on us.
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Going back to pre-internet days, even the tabloids didn't seem to rely quite so heavily on what, as online readers, we've come to think of as clickbait.  But now, even what used to be seen as serious media outlets seem to focus on it.

It probably sounds disproportionte, but I felt very niggly over a story not being reported in some mainstream outlets (and I did tell a couple about it).  It's not a disability story but I mention it here just to show my irritation over bias.  Certain outlets expressed outrage over the Grenfell Tower fire, and expressed, at least nominally, horror at racism expressed towards residents, whilst focussing a lot in their own stories on residents' ethnicity, countries of origin, religion etc.

Recently, half a dozen lads on their way home from a mosque during Ramadan saw a fire on what I think was about the eighth floor of a tower block.  They broke into the building and cleared it before the fire service was there to tackle the fire.  Having fasted all day, they were running up and down about 18 floors, knocking doors and helping people.

Well the fire brigade did their job excellently and the tower didn't burn down.  But where were the news stories in the media outlets who like to criticise other outlets for publicising seemingly endless islamophobic stories etc?  It would have been a wonderful uplift story even if it had just been told as half a dozen local lads with no mention of where they'd come from.

Likewise, there are outlets like the Guardian that like to maintain a veneer of caring about what's happening to people, a veneer of caring about the impact of austerity, a veneer of caring about disabled and disadvantaged people.  But I bet their editorial team will decide Francesca's succinct mini-speech isn't good enough clickbait.

My apologies for my negativity.  I feel incredibly negative right now, which is why little things like how Francesca spoke out is important to me.  As I type this, I remember that I must share it.

I don't do Twitter, though, and no longer use Facebook.  Emails it is, then.
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Talk / Re: Francesca Martinez attacks the government on Question Time
« Last post by Monic1511 on 16 Jun 2019 03:46PM »
Hi
I think that the newspapers and journalists in general are so caught up in the tory party leadership and Brexit that they ignore everything else.  There have been several other issues but they only want to catch Boris Johnson out or witter on about Brexit. 
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I followed up watching the clip by going on iplayer to watch what the other panellists said in reply.  I was disappointed that the panel chair effectively changed the subject.  I wish I could say surprised rather than disappointed but I can't.

As to the lack of a challenge, if the comments had been that shocking but untrue, or believed by politicians to be untrue, then I would have expected an immediate response along the lines of "That's misleading.  If you were to read the report, you'd find that that's taken out of context.  The government has been taking steps to improve the situation for disabled people and Boris Johnson will blah, blah, blah..."

If any opposing parties/groups intended to do anything in opposition or in power, I would have expected a response along the lines of "The UN's reports are shocking and this is why we need a general election so that blah, blah, blah..."

However, the mere fact that Francesca spoke out so well gives me a glimmer of hope that our voices can be heard.  What I'm less than happy about is that I'm struggling to find mention of it in today's online papers but maybe Monday?

Mind you, I suppose I'd only expect to find it in left of centre outlets and there aren't many of those. 

Nevertheless, I want to hold onto some hope.
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Cafe / Re: Re-launching the ship happyness by bulekingfisher
« Last post by bulekingfisher on 16 Jun 2019 08:16AM »
Good Morning SashaQ

It is great to see a friendly face >hugs< I can almost see my face in the shiny floor of the deck so I think Erick (the viking) has been busy with the scrubbing brush + a tin of polish. I will arrange for a small boat to take you in the midst of the penguin colony
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