Brooks Newmark: charities should keep out of politics

Brooks Newmark: charities should keep out of politics

Brooks Newmark: charities should keep out of politics76

Governance | Jenna Pudelek | 3 Sep 2014

Charities should “stick to their knitting” and stay out of the “realm of politics”, Brooks Newmark, the new charities minister, told delegates at a conference on social action this morning.

Newmark was responding to a question about charities campaigning after his first speech as minister for civil society at an event, held jointly by the innovation charity Nesta and the Cabinet Office Centre for Social Action, called People helping people: the future of public services.

“We really want to try and keep charities and voluntary groups out of the realms of politics," Newmark said. "99.9 per cent do exactly that. When they stray into the realm of politics that is not what they are about and that is not why people give them money."

Newmark had been asked about his response to his party’s concerns over charities campaigning.

He said: “The important thing charities should be doing is sticking to their knitting and doing the best they can to promote their agenda, which should be about helping others.”

In his speech, Newmark, the Conservative MP for Braintree, said he thought social action was “at the heart of what it meant to be a father, an active citizen and a politician”.

He spoke about setting up his own education charity in Rwanda. He said he saw his job as “helping you to do yours, or the government helping people to help people”.

“The British public are the most generous in the world, they never fail to reach into their pockets to give or give their valuable time to help others,” he said.

Newmark said he thought the concept of ‘big society’ meant “making it easier for people to help their families, their communities and those around them; contributing to making this country a better place. We should be shouting this from the roof. This is one of the most successful and powerful forces around.”

Marie Robson
6 Sep 2014

Charity = Politics!

Are you living on a different planet to most of us, Mr Newmark?!

6 Sep 2014

evert time a male white tory politician speaks they manage to upset people and alienate voters; especially women who are expected to make the tea, take pay cuts and shut up and knit!!!

at this rate parties like UKIP won't even need to campaign just rely on Tories being so inefficient and an old upper class boys club.

Tetley Omore
Conservative Party Chairman
Conservative Party
5 Sep 2014

So much for Cameron's vision of the Big Society and the importance of 3rd Sector organisations and their ability to work in pattnership with society and governnent.

Well I hope he's used to being screwed by us by now.

T Robinson
5 Sep 2014

I can't believe my taxes pay to employ such a fool. Please somebody fire this man and restore some level of belief in our government system.

Mike Harrison
5 Sep 2014

It is incredibly important that charities raise larger concerns about broader issues, rather than only focusing on the immediate situation.

Joyce Farrow
Citizens Advice Bureau
5 Sep 2014

"Stick to their knitting". Who on earth do you think you are Mr Newmark. You've probably just plummeted the Conservative Party so far down the polls they'll never recover. And we should have faith in this government?

Andrew Lonsdale
gas engineer
4 Sep 2014

I give money and time to charities, I expect them to campaign in all spheres of influence to raise awareness of what's happening. Otherwise people will not find out about them, and not care about those issues I care about.

With comments like those, maybe he should resign.

Martyn Howie
4 Sep 2014

It is no surprise that a person holding this view has been made charities minister this government has promulgated this view all through the parliament culminating in the Lobbying Bill... After all why should MP's looking out for the vested interests of big business be thwarted by a collective of ordinary concerned citizens

James Bickerton
not applicable
14 Sep 2014
Response to [martyn Howie]

You hit the nail right on the head! How dare charities seek to influence policy? That is the exclusive domain of the private sector, big business lobbyists and secret 'dinner parties', negotiating 'donations' for knighthoods and peerages, quite apart from tax breaks/concessions and prospective 'jobs for the boys' like privatising the NHS. And how dare ordinary cannon-fodder electorate have political opinions when these may only be held and expressed by God's own gift to humankind, Tory MP's, who promise us everything we want when they need our vote, but after that cynically ignore us and do what they like, never in our best interests! There is something rotten in Parliament... our unelected government!

Linda Nicholls
Volunteer for three charities
4 Sep 2014

Obviously Brooks Newmark knows nothing about charities (or knitting).

Richard Fernandez
4 Sep 2014

Sticking to the knitting isn't the same as sticking to knitting...there's a blog post here:

Mike Smith
4 Sep 2014

This knitwit gives me the needle. The Countryside Alliance which has a lot of the Prime Minister's friends in it seems to have a huge political influence. Roll on the 2015 general election - Tallyho!

4 Sep 2014

The ingratitude and stupidity of Newmark is beyond belief. Charities are the backbone of the UK and do wonderful work not only keeping this country on its feet but protecting the environment. Were it not for charities this country would be in chaos and revolt. And he presupposes that all charities do is knit? And that the work they are involved in does not touch politics? `he is from planet Gaga, another typical Cameron choice.

Sue Bennison
4 Sep 2014

And ordinary people should not concern themselves with political matters I suppose, just leave everything to your 'special strata' of society? Better not give the common people the vote.

4 Sep 2014

As someone who's spent a career so far in several small charitable organisations working hard to make life better for their beneficiaries, I'm pretty appalled and disappointed by the comment. I can't wait to use my vote against opinions like this at the next General Election.

Howard Smeeton
4 Sep 2014

When we can trust politicians to do the right thing (which I fear may never happen), then charities will be able to stay out of politics. I look forward to his apology.

Ernie Scales
4 Sep 2014

Another example of Cameron appointing someone to a job who has no idea what that job entails/is about (or to put it another way, how not to alienate the people one is meant to be working with). Idiots united.

Dil Peeling
Campaigns Director
Compassion in World Farming
4 Sep 2014

The ink is barely dry on the UK’s National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership, which the government launched with the words “We have consistently made clear our commitment for the UK to become “the most open and transparent government in the world”. Our resolve has not weakened. Indeed, our engagement with civil society .... has strengthened, not lessened our commitment to open government. The result of this partnership is a set of commitments that take important steps towards increased openness helping to ensure that:
- the public can see and understand the workings of their government through more transparency
- the public can influence the workings of their government and society by participating in the policy process ...
- the public can hold the government to account for its policy and delivery of public services
Brooks Newmark’s comments now make that all sound pretty hollow.
While the UK proudly promotes its work in supporting the voice of civil society in Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan Africa, it seems this basic democratic process feels just too uncomfortable to be promoted closer to home.

Carol Pike
Volunteer and Leader
4 Sep 2014

It has to be questioned why someone with such an outdated view has been offered such a position in a current government.

We are now in the year 2014, not 1914.

Come and find out what real charitable work is with one of the leading youth organisations - challenge yourself and learn some new skills.

Christine Mary Wood
Secretary (volunteer)
Herts and Middlesex Badger Group
4 Sep 2014

We would be perfectly willing to stay out of politics and watch our badgers in peace, if the government were not so intent on a policy of slaughter ignoring the democratic process, science, compassion, vast costs, safety to the public, common sense, or that it is a protected species under law. If our government treated wildlife with respect and were not permanently trying to offset it, build over it, persecute it, play politics with it, then many wildlife organisation would happily take up craft activities, or similar.

Mike Whitlam
Several Charities
4 Sep 2014

I cannot believe that our new Minister for Civil Society in 2014 said what he did. Had it been 40 years ago when I joined the Sector through NACRO I might have understood it. What Civil Society has striven to do is to tackle not just the symptoms but the root cause. People expect us to sort out the root cause when they donate and not just help someone in isolation. As someone who has persuaded people over the last 40 years to donate hundreds of millions of pounds to the organisations for which I have been responsible, maybe the politician should consult with those who have experience before making such a naive and unfortunate statement.


4 Sep 2014

How condescending and insulting; does this man even listen to what he says? Charities take on the necessary tasks that politicians feel are beneath them - caring for the sick, the elderly, the underprivileged, wildlife, environment ... the list is endless and without them the politicians would totally ruin our world and our lives. This man is certainly a good reason why we should not vote for him and his ilk.

Alexander Cellmer
Stained Glass Window Designer, and Cub-Scouts Leader
4 Sep 2014

Charities have a MASSIVE role to play, and if politics are the cause of the problem - and sadly, very often they are the problem, by the agency of corporate interests and the presence of money in politics - then it is correct for a charity, representing the combined will of hundreds of thousands of voters, to get involved. This kind of activity, where groups of like-minded people band together to enact some sort of change to their local community, or society as a whole and they way it acts, is intrinsic to a true democratic process.

By this statement, it is clear that Mister Newmark has not made this connection between a people acting together on a community level, and as voters on a political level. This connection between the two is critical, as it empowers voters as people in a community, and as members of the electorate. They choose by their actions on a community level, and at the ballot box.

This is either a sign that Mister Newmark has some serious thinking to do, or that his political mind is trapped in the world of political management, and the methods of 'divide and conquer'.

Jean Pratt
a childrens charity
4 Sep 2014

I totally agree with the comment above: Politicians should “stick to their knitting” and stay out of the realm of charities.

We really want to try and keep politicians and politics out of the area of charities. 99.9 per cent do exactly that. When they stray into the realm of charities that is not what they are about and that is not why people voted for them.

It is depressing, discouraging and disappointing that the Minister for Charities holds such a narrow view. When will people who actually know something about their subject be put in charge of a Ministry. His comments are insulting offending and show a total lack of understanding.

Peter Lyne
National Vice-President
Disabled Motorists Federation
4 Sep 2014

As Vice-President of the Disabled Motorists Federation and Founder of Mobility and Sickness Information Service ( I was both saddened and horrified by the comments made by Brooks Newmark M.P, that charities 'should stick to their knitting' and stay out of politics.
Perhaps Mr Newmark should consider the vital role which charities play within society and how HM Governments (both past and present) have made free use of expertise and advisory services from dedicated volunteers . I have served on many such stakeholder groups since 2005 (all of which have not been subjected to remuneration from govenment funds)
He refers to 'The Big Society'. I wish it returned to its original name of 'The Third Sector' as I consider 'The Big Society' to be a pond with a very few large Pike in it (those individuals who earn massive incomes while involved in 'charitable' work) and a 'myriad' of Minnows, the countless dedicated volunteers who give up their valuable time to address the many issues which Mr Newmark makes mention of.

'Knit one,purl one' Mr Newmark and think again!

Jim Morris
4 Sep 2014

As long as politicians continue to make the mess that they expect charities to clean up, charities should have the right to object.The present appalling way the government is treating those who require assistance due to disability, is only one way this government is attacking those in need, and no government politician will speak for them, it has to be those outside the political arena who has knowledge of what is happening.


Aidan Hallett
Advice Manager
4 Sep 2014

It's difficult to find adequate words to respond to so stupid a statement. Clearly, it's much more convenient for the government not to have influential critics speaking their minds. Even if you ignore that attitude, it beggars belief that he thinks charities should spend their entire existence putting sticking plasters onto open wounds without ever trying to deal with what caused the wound in the first place.
Big Society - where you get everyone else to do what you ought to do, and persuade them not to complain about it.

Howard Lake
Fundraising UK Ltd
4 Sep 2014

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."
Dom Hélder Câmara

Looks like the Minister needs some education in the work of charities. A bit late now, given his appointment.

I wonder if we'll hear a business minister telling companies to stick to selling widgets and keep their noses out of politics...

4 Sep 2014

Clearly the Nasty Party don't like even charities pointing out to them the horrendous consequences of their greed and selfishness, so they hit out at them with patronising and unpleasant comments. Whether the Nasty Party like it or not poverty is a political issue.

4 Sep 2014

Last time I checked politics was still about everything. And if charities need to lobby the government to achieve the ultimate aims of a better everything then it seems that they will have to invovle politics!
Sad and disturbing that this is someone whom charities will have to liaise with and just shows the true agenda of our current government.

Mr R Cassidy
Consulting Cumbria Ltd
4 Sep 2014

Who is this toffee nosed patronising little twerp?

Get him out of that portfolio he's about as in touch as a meeting without an agenda! Absolutely clueless.

Ms P McInally
4 Sep 2014

By its very name it's a Civil Society, a society should give voice to everyone not an elitist view. If charities should take up knitting so should this chap as his opinion is no more valid than anyone else

Lesley Williams
Secretary to the Trustees
Oxfordshire Outdoor Learning Trust
3 Sep 2014

what are most charities about? Generally, making life better for the disadvantaged/sick/disabled/homeless/hungry/refugee
what is politics about? generally, ensuring society can support the disadvantaged/sick/disabled/homeless/hungry/refugee
they have to work together

Anita Young
retired but a voluntary charity worker
3 Sep 2014

Charities are hugely valuable in society. It is ignorant to say they should not have influence in politics when they are filling the huge gap of need where Government and politics fail. Their contribution should be acknowledged and their voice heard as a democratic right.

Malcolm Cummins
3 Sep 2014

Another pompous ass, I have been elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP and I can now ignore all the little people that voted for me, until the next time that I want their votes and then I will promise them the earth again.

Joan Woodhead
Administrative Officer
HLC Dartford
3 Sep 2014

Well how amazing.
Without Charities and the work that they conduct and the Volunteers they bring on board to provide free labour and free services to communities, in order to try and sort out this awful deficit and mess, for the Government to save more money, that they (Gov), and the bankers have created. The Charities have more of a right to a voice and to be involved as they are involved at grass root level and are the voice of the people who are (were) not the creators of the initial problem. Newmark needs to come down from his pedestal and breath in the real world......................

Suzanne Radford-Smith
3 Sep 2014

He's a patronising s**t. Of course charities have the right to make political comments. They are basically the only groups that help people, the government certainly doesn't.

3 Sep 2014

I'm confused, why do the government keep asking charities for advice and help? Also why do they keep asking charities to take on work they won't fund? Also if the government was doing its job right we wouldn't need charities - they all exist because the government has failed in its duty somewhere! If charities were to just sit in the corner and knit then a) a planet wide wool shortage! b) government would collapse within hours!

Actually that sounds like a great idea! Please charities go sit in a corner and knit!

Sam Barnett-Cormack
3 Sep 2014

I'm hoping that the 'knitting' thing was a reference to his speech and some sort of metaphor - knitting society together or something. Otherwise it's absurdly insulting.

He says we (charities etc) should keep "out of the realm of politics", but also that we should "promote [our] agenda". Funnily enough, depending on your purposes, campaigning to change the law is promoting an agenda. Supporting equality by campaigning for equal marriage, fighting poverty by campaigning for better social security - or even campaigning against equal marriage if that's what your purposes lead towards.

Not everything can be solved by buying things. We need words as well. We don't just raise money and spend it.

Chris Lowe
3 Sep 2014

Newmark MP is clearly sexist as well as not understanding charities' work. His statement that charities do 'knitting' suggests that he believes that charity work is a hobby for women - presumably housewives keeping busy while their husbands do the real work.

This is a disgraceful, but alas not shocking, attitude from the party whose leader thinks 'calm down dear' is an appropriate way to address fellow MPs.

Establishing a charity to put back into a developing country a small fraction of the money that you helped steal from it (Newmark was a senior partner of Apollo Management LP, an international private equity firm, before entering politics) does not qualify anyone for a government position supporting the voluntary sector.

He should be fired both for his lack of understanding of the sector and his clear sexism.

Theresa Chipulina
manager 1996-2003
citizens Advice Bureau
3 Sep 2014

Ok Mr Brooks, what Ark did you come out of? Please don't be so insulting as to say that not for profit organisations should stay out of politics and decision making and keep knitting. You are so out of touch you are unbelievable. If it was not for people at the Citizens Advice Bureau and the National CAB a lot of ridiculous policies regarding benefits, debt, employment, immigration and so forth would have been implemented to the detriment of members in society. May I remind you that politics is about people and organisations like CAB, MIND, AGE CONCERN, with people, the very same people that are affected by government policies and the very same people that vote for people like you. What utter rubbish! Of course these charitable organisations are going to campaign on social policy issues that are a direct result of problems arising from the people that are being helped. Many issues have fallen on deaf ears when taken to mp's as they have their own political agenda and follow the party line. You are a representative for those who vote for you so please remember that before making such stupid comments. I was a volunteer adviser for 11 years and paid part time for what was a full time job.

Rob Doughty
3 Sep 2014

So what he really means is that charities should not criticise Government policies which exacerbate the problems or conditions which the charities seek to alleviate. I think that this particular Minister is already past his use by date and should be replaced before he he inserts his foot so far into his mouth that he damages his teeth.

Matthew Sherrington
Inspiring Action Consultancy
3 Sep 2014

Well, Philip Coram nailed it!
What a great way for the sector's new Minister to start, with such patronising nonsense. So much for thinking about "partnering" with charities. The more cynical might see a pattern of government off-loading public services on to the voluntary sector (who want to do a good job by their service users, and would rather they took it on than private companies who would put profit before people); cutting funding once they are one step removed; and insisting their by-now sub-contracted charity service providers keep quiet about the devastating impact of those cut services on the most vulnerable groups in society.

This is about accountability and participative civil society. Playing the "political" card is just lazy and shameful politics.

Nick Comley
Social Enterprise Business Adviser
Community First
3 Sep 2014

When the policies of political parties in government create or increase the demand for the services of charities for public benefit would it not be reasonable to expect those charities to advocate on behalf of their beneficiaries to see the negative effects of those policies mitigated and for those responsible to be held to account?

Or perhaps the minister believes that charities should put up and shut up because donors would stop donating if they were to actually be achieving their charitable objects by reducing poverty created by policy?

Is the minister worried that the knitters might rise up and cast off the chains that bind them!

Carl Allen
3 Sep 2014

War has been formally declared.

Ray Todd
3 Sep 2014

So good to see that our so called(Government) are keeping in touch with the vast majority of us. It's really nice to know that "We are all in it together". What planet do these Minority government Tory's come from ? Most of the people that voted in the last election, didn't vote Conservative. If they had of done, there would have been no need for them to hook up with the Liberals. After the last few years of them being in power, do they really think that after making most people suffer (apart from their own of course) they will be voted in next time around? Sorry, I just don't believe it. A lot of people are daft, but they're not bloody stupid. I really hope that most people have seen through them. I always have.

Lesley Barker
3 Sep 2014

Another Tory chinless wonder patronising to the proletariat. What a complete waste of space, why doesn't he get back to his knitting? That's obviously too difficult for him. This Govt have abdicated so many social policies to charities and abdicated their responsibilities how dare they say charities shouldn't get involved in politics. They have made it unavoidable.

Kenneth Toulson
Retired Civil Servant
3 Sep 2014

Of course the government don't want charities scrutinising their policies. Anything or anyone likely to expose their contempt for ordinary working people limits their ability to carry out their vicious policies.

Jan Smith
3 Sep 2014

Much of the work of charities exists and is in fact essential because of the lamentable failure of politics and politicians in almost every area of personal and public life. In addition to 'fire-fighting' and crisis management charities have a moral duty to speak truth to power, to address the causes of problems and to call politicians to account.

3 Sep 2014

They are helping people. By campaigning against the government cutting financial and emotional support to the people.

Also, if charities should have nothing to do with politics, why is there a charities minister?

Graham Warwick
3 Sep 2014

Brooks Newmark is part of an ideologically driven cabal who seem hell bent on destroying those cherished and vital institutions that have sustained this country since Atlee's post war government. They are patently enamoured of a small section of the population and those global interests that pay their party subscriptions for the benefits accorded through their lobbyists. That charities feel the situation we find ourselves in so dire that they must take a step into the political arena is a clear indication of the dreadful times we live in, the lies we are told on a daily basis, and the clear agenda of the government to reduce our hard won civil freedom and impose a regime of austerity and ever growing control. That Mr Brooks uses despite and ridicule to describe what charities are starting to do clearly indicates his worth as a minister - that being none whatsoever.

3 Sep 2014

I am tempted to say that this Newmark or whatever his name is (never heard of him till now) is speaking just as you would expect a Tory minister to speak. Unfortunately we have politicians supposedly of the left who will share his views. Many politicians simply want our votes every time we have a General Election, and they wish us to keep quiet the rest of the time so that they can continue to run the country in their own interests and that of their friends.

Janice Yelland-Sutcliffe
Education Consultant
3 Sep 2014

Do you think that the government is getting scared ... hence the gagging law and making statements like this. SUPPORT YOUR CHARITY AND LET IT SPEAK OUT AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE - they may knit ... but it is the knitting of society, social justice, empowerment, healing, the people and the strength to make a difference. Oh yes -- making up for what the government is not doing!!! So why should they not get involved in politics, they are speaking for those who cannot be heard, will not be heard and ignored. What they do whether it is local or national is political and social. It appears that the government is employing more and more people who are increasingly detached and disconnected with real life and real people - let the charities speak and be political.

Martin Clark
Martin Clark Consultancy
3 Sep 2014

Not only do his comments do a disservice to charity, they do a disservice to politics:

Charity - according to The Charities Act - is about the public benefit in (inter alia) : The prevention or relief of poverty; The advancement of education; The advancement of health; citizenship or community development; The advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation; environmental protection ; The relief of those in need; and the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces, the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services

Is he really saying that ‘politics’ covers a different realm?

Andrew Wedgwood
3 Sep 2014

The politicians don't like us campaigners because we are sometimes a more powerful voice than them and frequently against them.

Andrew Billings
3 Sep 2014

The fact that a charity exists means an issue is sufficient enough for people to contribute their wealth, knowledge, and most valuable of all time to deal with a problem. To me THAT is the very definition of what a politician should address. It is not "THEM & US" and the politicians of the UK need reminding they work FOR us.

Mike Stringer
Deputy Manager
3 Sep 2014

If we all stayed out of politics we'd no longer be in a democracy but a dictatorship. But seeing as he's a Tory, well need I say more.

Dr Nigel Pimlott
Deputy CEO
Frontier Youth Trust
3 Sep 2014

Clearly a politician afraid of reality and desperately out of touch as to why people give to and work for charities. Appalling

Joe London
Support Worker
3 Sep 2014

It never ceases to amaze me how narrow minded some people can be. This just reinforces the reason why charities should have a part to play in politics, because this just proves how out of touch you guys really are with how the world works. Fortunately, we have a say in how this country works, but unfortunately, we have very little choice in who we can elect to run it, which is why we end up with people like this guy.

3 Sep 2014

This is the most patronising, dismissive, belittling drivel I have heard from any politician (and with this shower in power that is saying a lot.)

I work hard for several charities and support a few more. I absolutely think that a CORE FUNCTION is to campaign to change the circumstances that lead to the need or problem the charity is trying to address. To take the example of a big well known charity, is Oxfam supposed to ameliorate suffering all over the world but say nothing about the political, social and economic underlying causes of the many problems? Of course not! I think most people that donate would think they were seriously falling down in their duty if they did not sometimes speak out. Another example: is a - say - charity supporting cancer patients not supposed to speak out if they perceive the need for a certain sort of screening that is not currently happening? Again I say 'of course not!'

This man has no idea what he is talking about but he clearly believes politicians know best. Not many, I believe, would agree with him. Many people will be offended by these ridiculous comments.

R Winward
3 Sep 2014

Oh dear! Perhaps Brooks should engage his brain before opening his mouth. To be actively engaged in helping improve the lives of others (through knitting or other activities) is to be involved in politics. Since government is often out of touch with reality (eg Brooks) it is essential for charities to speak up and share the facts.

Suzanne Saxby
38 Degrees Member
3 Sep 2014

What a stupid, patronising comment from the Minister! Campaigning is an essential part of many charities. Does he himself belong to any charities, I wonder? If so, do none of them campaign about anything?

It's Mr Newmark who should stick to his own knitting and stop telling the rest of us what to do. 'The Big Society', indeed! What a joke! It's the campaigning groups who are trying to make society a better place - I see precious little evidence of this present Government doing so!

Sandra Pisa
3 Sep 2014

What a patronising statement. Once more someone in government is so far removed from the people he is supposed to represent that he obviously hasn't heard of either freedom of speech or people power!

Helen Geach
3 Sep 2014

What an arrogant attitude! Perhaps is more politicians listened to their constituents, and REALLY heard what they are saying, this kind of arrogance could become a thing of the past. Where does he think the money comes from for him to play God??

Kevin Shaw
3 Sep 2014

I personally see charities as specialists in their field. Many with a front-line, hands-on, day-to-day experience within their own arena. Unlike many Ministers who dabble for a time, until either the Prime Minister or the electorate, tell them to give it up.

Helen Moon
3 Sep 2014

This is a democracy. Charities are better placed than grubby politicians to make recommendations. This man does not live in the real world.

Gregory Aitken
Chief Executive Officer
Hull & East Yorkshire Mind
3 Sep 2014

The debate goes on and unfortunately it will not be decided at the ballot box. I would advise all politicians that they will rue the day if they ever manage to gag charities’ outcry at the inequalities and mayhem their social policy and budgetary decisions create. I am sure we get it wrong from time to time in the way we try and bring government to account for the injustices their often ill-considered decisions cause. However equally to attack and try to silence critics is in my view not only a waste of time but counterproductive. Lobbying is not only politicisation but also awareness raising and promoting. Government and politicians are only too ready to accept this from industry and other governments often leading them to support the indefensible.
The problem with this debate is that government and far too many politicians support the interests of the “haves, want more or don’t want to lose it” whilst I believe charities promote the interests of the “have not and can’t get it” people or the natural world.
Let us make our case and if this makes politicians uncomfortable they should simply realise they have got it wrong and admit it. If they really believe what they do is in the best interest of the most vulnerable and natural world then leave us baying at the moon.

Alan Martin
3 Sep 2014

"(Charities should be) sticking to their knitting"? How insulting. Does he mean charities should concentrate on their missions of helping millions of disadvantaged people and abandoned, mistreated animals (and in the process saving many billions of pounds for the government)? The new charities minister needs to learn how to express himself in an appropriate manner.

Philip Coram
Director of Finance
3 Sep 2014

Politicians should “stick to their knitting” and stay out of the realm of charities.

We really want to try and keep politicians and politics out of the area of charities. 99.9 per cent do exactly that. When they stray into the realm of charities that is not what they are about and that is not why people voted for them.

Debra Allcock Tyler
Chief Executive
Directory of Social Change
3 Sep 2014
Response to [Philip Coram]


3 Sep 2014

I personally feel its immoral for charities not to work to solve the route cause of the issues they work on.

When I have a leak I don't just put a bucket under it - I try and fix the leak so it stops totally.

Joe Saxton
Driver of Ideas
3 Sep 2014

Don't bring the public into this Brooks. Our research shows again and again that the public don't have a problem with charities' campaigning. Indeed campaigning is bottom of the public's list of concerns not top.

Kevin Curley CBE
3 Sep 2014

Oh dear. Here we go again. Still, only 8 more months of this twaddle. We're here to help people overcome poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. That's why we have no choice but to engage in politics. It's our duty as charity trustees and charity leaders.

Paul Chaplin
3 Sep 2014

That our "charities minister" is unable to see that the ultimate aims of charities often can't be apolitical is... appalling, depressing, disgraceful.

Geoff Baker
Executive Director
3 Sep 2014

What a total idiot this guy is. It's a great pity Newmark himself doesn't go back to his own knitting and keep his needles out of other charities' business.

Gordon Hunter
Lincolnshire Community Foundation
3 Sep 2014

Except, of course, where political activity directly benefits the client group. Take the Human Dignity Trust which has been granted charitable status. Its primary aim is to lobby for the decriminalisation of consensual homosexual acts - illegal in 80 jurisdictions worldwide.
There must be hundreds of charities, UK and abroad, that can make a similar argument.


[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear


  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

'Could mega cities be even harder to work with than individual local councils?'

29 Sep 2016

Dan Corry, chief executive of NPC, asked Labour mayoral candidates how devolution would impact the charity...

Barnardo’s opens 89 charity shops and aims to be ‘biggest chain in the country’

29 Sep 2016

Barnardo’s opened 89 charity shops last year, and has overtaken Oxfam to become the second largest charity...

Report: What makes a good charity?

29 Sep 2016

A free guide on how to assess whether a charity is operating effectively has been published by think tank...

Barnardo’s opens 89 charity shops and aims to be ‘biggest chain in the country’

29 Sep 2016

Barnardo’s opened 89 charity shops last year, and has overtaken Oxfam to become the second largest charity...

Heritage Lottery Fund launches £10m to improve youth engagement

28 Sep 2016

The Heritage Lottery fund has today launched a £10m pilot programme and is inviting groups of charities...

TSB bank raised double the amount for charity after switch from national to local focus

28 Sep 2016

TSB has raised £1m for local charities, which is double the amount it was raising when it had a single...

Eduserv agrees £138,000 payment to retiring CEO without telling full board

26 Sep 2016

Eduserv, a charity that provides IT services to the public sector, agreed to pay its retiring chief executive...

Barnardo’s launches ten-year strategy with plans to double fundraising income

22 Sep 2016

Barnardo’s has announced a ten-year strategy which will aim to grow income by a third and change its...

Charities urge donors to give their first plastic £5 note to a good cause

19 Sep 2016

A social media campaign is urging people to donate their first plastic £5 note to charity, after the...

Join the discussion


Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<