Charities that work with the poorest in society may, on occasion, campaign on their behalf, to raise awareness of the problem. This is part of an exercise to get those in power – who could make a difference – to take notice, and maybe even do something about it. Thus it was that Oxfam yesterday Tweeted a mock film poster about the effects of austerity, titled “The Perfect Storm”.
The elements of this storm were “Zero Hours Contracts ... High Prices ... Benefit Cuts ... Unemployment ... Childcare Costs”, all of which were present before the last General Election. So the observation could not be seen as an assault on any one party, or Government, but was clearly urging all concerned to pay a little more attention to the worst off in society.
This mildly inconvenient fact was lost on the more terminally clueless part of the Tory Party, where there was a lemming-like rush to plead guilty, headed by self-appointed carrier of the Thatcherite flame Conor Burns, who blustered “Many people who support Oxfam will be shocked and saddened by this highly political campaigning in domestic British politics”. Yeah, speaking up for the lower orders – terrible, eh?
And, as the man said, there’s more: “Most of us operated under the illusion that Oxfam's focus was on the relief of poverty and famine overseas. I cannot see how using funds donated to charity to campaign politically can be in accord with Oxfam’s charitable status. For that reason I have asked the Chairman of the Charity Commission to investigate Oxfam as a matter of urgency”.
Burns is aided and abetted by Christopher “No” Hope at the Maily Telegraph, whose headline shows the recent descent into judgmental “reporting”, asserting “Oxfam: MPs shocked by ‘disgraceful’ political campaigning”. Objective reporting? Stuff that, say the folks at the Tel, we’re supporting the Blue Team. And there are plenty more Tory MPs lining up to plead guilty to the Oxfam charge sheet.
Charlie Elphicke, for a start: “Political campaigning by charities like Oxfam is a shameful abuse of taxpayers’ money”. And take Priti Patel (anywhere): “Oxfam are behaving disgracefully by misleading the public”. Plus alleged populist Rob Halfon: “Oxfam seem to have developed a leftist anti-Israel agenda”. Try keeping on topic, Rob. But they all miss the point completely.
As Young Dave says every time he faces Mil The Younger at PMQs, Zero Hours Contracts began under the previous Government. Unemployment was higher at the last General Election than it is now. Poverty, however, endures, and therefore organisations like Oxfam will continue to push forward its message. It would do the same were Labour in power.
But good of all the witless Tories to plead guilty to the entire charge sheet. Clowns.