Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Guido Fawkes: A Conspiracy Behind Every Windmill

The right-leaning, ex-Tory libertarian Quixotean quester Mr Guido Fawkes (GuF) really has given up trying on quality control. Today he has this story alleging that Northern Rock - now offering by far and away the best and most secure savings punt on the high street AND good winnings for city boys - have donated MASSIVE (sic) amounts of money to a think tank.

Fascinating stuff from Mr GuF. But are we really talking "donations" as in good causes or would these more properly be called "sponsorship" on which VAT may have been charged and for which there is a business purpose for the sponsor? Or "commission" or "support" as in paying for some research that you'd like to see completed as part of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

To help readers decide:

Nationwide sponsor League and International Football. Their logo goes on stuff, they get an agreed list of benefits such as tickets, food and drink, advertising, press stunts and photo calls, VAT due, tax deductible. And they aim to sell more of their "never better" ironclad savings accounts - 6.7% with a full guarantee.

The Nationwide Foundation (a separate entity) donate some money to a local charity to build a scout hut. They still benefit in a warm fuzzy feeling kinda way. But no VAT, no list of benefits, tax can be reclaimed using Gift Aid, no names on shirts in 8" high letters, no tickets to games, no champagne.

Nationwide Community and Environmental Affairs also support the IPPR. This is by way of commissioning and/or generally supporting the work of the organisation as part of the company's commitment to CSR.

So was this transaction between Northern Rock and IPPR warm and fuzzy with gift aid and all that? Was it even from the Company itself?

Did the mortgage bank then get a green light to manage themselves very poorly as a result of a few quid for some thinking?

Or was this commercial sponsorship or perhaps a CSR contribution from the Northern Rock Foundation?

I think probably the latter. Yet another non story from the Old GuFfer.

Fiona Ellis, Director, Northern Rock Foundation does serve on IPPR's Commission on Public Sector Reform in the North East. Northern Rock are listed among 180 supporters. But here's one for Dizzy Thinks ... the columns on the IPPR are totally unequal. Some of the supporter names in the right hand column break onto two lines. New Labour-related IT gauche at its worst.

REMEMBER REMEMBER: Guido: "Be funny, be fierce, be fearless" and let's not forget Fawkes ... be fuckwitted.


Barnacle Bill said...

To be honest with ZaNuLabor's reputation beginning with Bernie Ecclestone/Tobacco advertising, climaxing with Cash for Peerages.
It was not a wise move for a financial institution to give donations to anything remotely political, especially connected with the governing party.
This has led to these accusations being levelled when NR had to turn to the government for help. Which again raises questions on their judgements.
If your leader was to take a broom to sweep clean the Augean stables of political advisers and lobbyists I might respect him more.

Chris Paul said...

The Bernie Ecclestone thing is water under the bridge. The cheque went back. The hands were put up. Yes, it was not the wisest.

But this independent think tank - one among many relatively liberal, relatively leftish, relatively etc - has a list of 180 donor organisations of all types if you follow the links.

Are you suggesting that Gordon should stop any charitable or not-for-profit or academic organisation at all from taking money from anywhere? Or do you just want non right wing ones to be stopped from raising funds?

Guido is being moronic. Don't join him.

Barnacle Bill said...

I question the independence of many of these think tanks, left, right, whatever.
The whole thing has ended up with political parties being like flies caught in a spider's web. You just don't know where the strands end or, what other strands they cross.
We find some MP's wife working for one, or an ex MP sits upon the board of another. The whole political landscape has become so tangled.
If your leader does mean what he says about creating a new style of politics. It should be one free from all this, transparent and clear cut.
I don't really care where the funds are raised from. Just that some of the donors should be a bit more prudent in where their money goes.

Tim Swift said...

Frankly this is a pathetic smear even by the low standards of that dreadful site.

The donations to IPPR come from the Northern Rock Foundation and are generally for specific social policy research linked to the North of England. They appear to receive special attention because they have offices based in the North instead of just working from London. However they are by no means the only policy and research activity funded by the Foundation - which is of course at arms length from the company.

Five minutes invstigation of the Northern Rock Foundation web site are all that is required to find the facts.

Whatever one's views of Northern Rock, they have consistently donated substantial sums into their Foundation which in turn invests hugely in social and community foundations in the North of England. I only wish there were similar levels of investment from other banks and building societies in Yorkshire to match this.

Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow up the House of Parliament ended in failure. Perhaps a very appropriate choice of role model for Mr GuF. I wonder if he writes in green ink?

Chris Paul said...

Tim Swift: Yep it's poor even by his standards. he has more or less given up it seems to me. Just floundering. He certainly emails legal threats typed in green ink. The wassock. Have his stats flatlined as well? When was the last report?

Chris Paul said...

Barnacle Bill: I think you've been taken in by Fawkes and his style and his ilk. This is mostly a non-problem with a few instances of undue influence and conflicts of interest. Or the appearance of possible influence or conflict.

Usually dealt with properly.

But basically just people having jobs and businesses that sometimes cross over some layer of government. If all MPs friends and family were restricted from a whole screed of jobs and occupations this would be grossly unfair.

Spectacularly so if it were just the government side. And you'd have to do it for all our councils and other elected and appointed bodies too.

You'd be taking 1000s of people out of contention for jobs they are suitable for.

There are already watchdogs and standards and there is no need to ground all these people.