Most of us support charity in one form or another. One of the more charming aspects of human nature is the way many of us gather together in a communal effort to raise money for a worthy cause. I have only run one marathon in my life, and I doubt I will run another as it damned near killed me, but taking part in the London Marathon was one of the best days of my life. Having decided earlier on to slow down and allow the elite athletes a chance to win the race, I was able to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the sense of being part of a beautiful act of human theatre and being part of something bigger than myself.
Privately I support a number of charities, sometimes for reasons of selfish altruism – I have a close family member with a serious illness. Sometimes I support a charity because it is the right thing to do – like buying a poppy or giving money to help people that survived a disaster like the Tsunami in 2004 – I guess most of us behave in this way. Whilst not all of us are mad enough to run a marathon, still at some point we have joined with others for a charity walk or bake in, put money in a tin for the RNLI or donate quietly to charities we support.
Somehow though something unwholesome seems to be happening to some of our charities. For a number of years I donated to a charity called Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), I supported this charity as a result of travels in my younger years to poorer parts of the World. I was always struck by the limited access to healthcare most of the human race suffers and how very fortunate we are to live in a wealthy nation where we are unlikely to die from an easily treated infection. I felt that by supporting MSF I would be helping people in the developing world so I was furious when MSF took it upon itself to fund a boat to ferry illegal immigrants across the Mediterranean Sea. My donations were to be used to help sick people in poorer countries, yet MSF somehow decided to use my money for people trafficking. Clearly I cancelled my donations – I think many others did as well.
Yet this drop in donations probably did not trouble MSF too greatly. MSF like many charities receive most of their money from Governments and unseen wealthy donors, since Governments themselves have no money the cash comes from taxpayers. So now we have a situation where taxpayers’ money is used to fund people trafficking and away from what the charity was initially set up to do. These large charities are often referred to as NGOs – Non Government Organisations, yet when you think about it putting the word Non at the beginning does not alter the fact that they are funded by Governments and would act in accordance with their wishes.
Now some would say NGOs are independent and superficially it would appear that way but it would take less than ten minutes of basic research to find most of them are headed by people close to the establishment. You may recall a recent leadership election in the Labour Party, David Miliband was expected to win but his brother Ed pulled off a surprise victory. David was left with a life of humble destitution on a salary of a mere $600,000 dollars a year as head of refugee charity International Rescue. Now I have no axe to grind with David Miliband but I do find something grotesque and even shameless in taking $600,000 a year from a charity. Clearly the refugee game is where the smart money is.
Questionable salaries aside what is seldom challenged is how the activities of some of these charities are working against the interests of the people whose taxes they spend. You may have noticed the term Sanctuary Cities being used by politicians and journalists, the term itself seems to have come from the United States. Sanctuary Cities are self declared centres of tolerance for illegal immigrants. Of course the preferred language is ‘refugees’ or ‘undocumented migrants’ but this does obfuscate the fact that being in someone’s country without permission is illegal. Sanctuary Cities take great pride in extolling the virtues of their tolerance, which is odd when you think about it, illegal immigration is against the law but somehow the administration of a city can boast about encouraging what is a criminal act.
Perhaps even more worrying is that no one seems willing or able to challenge the morality of a situation where taxpayer’s money is used to displace taxpayers from their own homelands. Surely if we want to help the world’s poor the best thing is to spend it where it is needed rather than import the world’s poor into our cities and displace our own poor? Maybe its just me but I find spending other peoples money in a way that destroys their communities is just a tad immoral?
The problem of Sanctuary Cities has found its way to our shores. City of Sanctuary is a charity supporting a network of groups across the UK and Ireland who are part of a movement to build a culture of welcome and hospitality within their communities. City of Sanctuary received £50K in funding in 2016/17 in a grant from Unbound Philanthropy (2016/17). Unbound Philanthropy keep the names of the donors secret but seem very active in providing finance to the charity version of people smuggling. This does seem mysterious – why the secrecy and why the web of cross funding and hidden identities of who is behind this?
Large parts of our charity sector seem to have lost their way, I would argue many now are actually doing harm – at least to the taxpayers that fund them. The sector itself – certainly at the NGO level has become a gravy train for establishment figures to maintain an influence over our lives with little or no public scrutiny into their activities or the real purpose of what they are doing. The opaque web of funding itself is of great concern. Whilst I am sure there are many wealthy donors who give money for no other reason than to help their fellow man, the system lends itself to corruption by less scrupulous individuals who seek to shape the world according to their vision. Sadly I feel this vision is a grim one for the people of the West, our own generosity and humanity is being used as a tool against us.