Saturday, 3 March 2018

Against charity: for NGOs

Political lobbying by charities has been effectively banned in the UK:
Futures Forum: Concerns for campaigning: Lobbying Act will continue to restrict charities
Futures Forum: The Lobbying Act, civil society and criminalising dissent >> 'Why charities have been gagged in the UK election'

In fact, worldwide, charities, NGOs and 'civil society' are under pressure:
Futures Forum: Civil society under threat

And this is happening worldwide - as in Australia, December 2017: 
Green groups and charities could be collateral damage in government's foreign donation ban - The Conversation
Why charities are angry about the foreign donations ban - The New Daily

But who is lobbying against the ability of others to lobby?
Mining lobby calls for 10% limit on environmental charities' spending on advocacy | Business | The Guardian

And how much ' foreign interference' is happening through not-so-secret funding activities?
Tony Blair and his links to George Soros | Daily Mail Online
Netanyahu Blasts Soros for Funding Pro-Illegal Protests | Frontpage Mag
George Soros spending more than ever to push his liberal agenda worldwide | News | LifeSite
Pakistan's new anti-Soros campaign boosts its anti-Semitic, conspiracy Theory-Infested political culture - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com

Of course, there is plenty of interference going on - through rather secret funding activities:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and Exeter's MP pushing for further investigations
Futures Forum: 'The Crisis in Democracy" > a short history of think tanks

As the New European points out, it depends what you mean by 'foreign intereference': 

Foreign influence in the domestic politics of any state is clearly an issue of importance. May told the EU to “keep out” of our general election campaign and has accused Putin of spreading fake news and meddling in elections to undermine free societies – although she has seemed less troubled by allegations of Russian interference in the referendum or Trump’s election.

Laws banning the use of foreign money for election campaigns are clear (or relatively so), but foreign money pours into all sorts of UK organisations and we encourage it. Our trains are owned by foreigners; our water is supplied by foreign companies; our car factories are run by foreigners; our scientific research is financed by foreign charities; our universities depend on endowments from foreign philanthropists; four of our national daily newspapers, accounting for more than half the total readership, are controlled by foreigners and non-doms.

Nor is it all one-way traffic: our much-maligned foreign aid budget is supposed to improve people’s lives abroad. Former International Development Secretary Priti Patel and Boris Johnson say it should be used to further British interests. Patel even talked about linking it with trade, which some might see as baksheesh – or bribery.

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