Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Are Stonewall and Mermaids charitable?

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Iwas once asked by a colleague to sponsor him on an undertaking designed, he said, to raise money for a very good charitable cause. I can’t remember what the cause was – cancer, maybe, or mental kids – but I do remember the nature of the undertaking. He intended to walk a number of miles down the Great Rift Valley in Kenya.

Why not, I suggested, just donate the enormous amount of money such a trek would cost direct to the charity? It would easily outweigh the amount raised, not least because miserable bastards like me would probably decide it was not a charitable act at all but first-world grandstanding with a smug hubris masquerading as kindness.

Being designated ‘charities’ gave these organisations an imprimatur they most certainly did not deserve

A few years later someone asked me to sponsor them on a walk across Greenland – another example of a jackass desperately wanting to feel good about enjoying the holiday of a lifetime. I hope a polar bear got him. Mind you, I half thought about jumping on the bandwagon, by getting people to sponsor me for completing a gruelling weekend in Amsterdam’s famous ‘De Wallen’, as I ploughed through Lieke, Elsa, Beatrix, Esmee etc, while whacked out of my head on Ketama Gold. ‘All the money raised will go to the little handicapped kiddies, probably,’ I would assure friends and colleagues. ‘I’m aiming for 36 whores in 72 hours.’ Never did it, though, and I fear it is too late now.

None of that stuff is charitable, of course, in the proper sense of the term. However, it now occurs to me that it is substantially less odious than the industrialised charities which comprise our ‘third sector’ and which – in the majority of cases – are not remotely charitable at all, but vehicles for self-righteous idiots to breast-beat, advance their own imbecilic agendas and experience the warm glow of feeling superior to everybody else. For a long while I donated hard-earned money to some of these organisations, believing that despite all the arguments about the money they spent on themselves and their headquarters and so on, they must surely be making the world a better place.

Nope – they were, in the main, making the world a substantially worse place. The ones which raised money to alleviate poverty in Africa, for example, spent the majority of their income imposing vacuous ideologies upon their benighted captives and engendering in them the belief that the perfidious West was to blame for every misfortune that has befallen the Dark Continent, establishing an institutionalised sense of victimhood which works tirelessly to prevent prosperity.

Then there is Amnesty International, to which I used to bung £30 a month, believing, erroneously, that they would be dedicated to protecting universal human rights rather than just the human rights of scabrous third-world lefties. I was reminded of this organisation last month when I read its tearful pleas for Israel to release the murderous Palestinian terrorist Walid Daqqah from prison, seeing as he was seriously ill. Daqqah was the leader of a group of savages who abducted, tortured and murdered an Israeli soldier. Mercifully, Daqqah is now dead, so Amnesty can get back to its more usual job of demanding a ceasefire (from the Israelis, not Hamas).

But even Amnesty is a cut or two above the sorts of domestic charities whose names have been in our newspapers ever since the Cass report was made public – by which I mean Stonewall, principally, but also Mermaids. The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘charity’ as the following: ‘an organisation whose purpose is to give money, food, or help to those who need it, or to carry out activities such as medical research that will help people in need, and not to make a profit’.

‘I’m sleeping rough as much as I can before they criminalise it.’

By my reading of that definition, neither Stonewall nor Mermaids are charities. They are advocacy groups which disseminate their odious agendas to any organisation stupid enough to pay for them – and that, surely, is the crucial point. They flog horrible ideas and the taxpayer (it is usually the taxpayer) forks out for the benefit. I would have fewer qualms about both organisations if they simply fessed up that they were acting in the manner of major-league consultants, much like, say, McKinsey or PwC. Because the appendage of the term ‘charity’ to these institutions suggests, to the highly suggestible denizens of our bloated and myopic public sector, that what they are telling you must be ‘good’ and ‘right’, rather than hugely damaging to children and indeed the nation as a whole. We will be paying – in cash as well as human terms – for their monomaniacal insistence upon the rights of children to define their own ‘gender’ and for their enthusiasm for purveying dangerous drugs to vulnerable kids. There will be endless court cases, especially if the Mayo Clinic’s research is correct that there could possibly be a link between puberty blockers and cancer. (It may be that for self-preservation they are trying, rather desperately, to distance themselves from their previously gung-ho devotion to the cause of compulsory transitioning.)

But here is my point: I believe Stonewall and Mermaids had every right to append their colours to the ideological mast of transitioning, even if that mast lay wrecked upon the rocks. None of us are right all the time. But being designated ‘charities’ gave these organisations an imprimatur they most certainly did not deserve. They were not helping people out; they were pursuing a political agenda. That may be laudable, but it is not charitable. Charity must be politically neutral.

Of course, most of our charities spend the majority of their time advocating rather than handing out dosh. I vaguely remember, back in the late 1980s, some right-of-centre thinktank added up the costs to the public purse of all the demands made by charities on the BBC Today programme within a single week and discovered that if they were adopted, we’d have been bankrupt by Christmas. But these were charities making the demands… so they must be right, huh?

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