Sunday, 15 April 2012

Clement Attlee on charity

"Charity is a cold grey loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at a whim."
Richard Murphy gives us this quote from Clement Attlee (1920) and says "In very many ways nothing has changed since then."  I agree.  It is always a point of contention for me when people laud the Gates and Bono's of the world, most especially when we too often discover that these philanthropists spent an awful lot of time and effort to avoid paying taxes on much of the fortune they are now spending on projects that bear their names in large and bold print.  That's why the protesters floated this balloon, and I wish they would float it more often:

You could float that balloon in the direction of a lot of people, I think, and you wouldn't be wrong in wondering why we should celebrate, for example, the naming of a research center after a particular individual when it's clear other taxpayers subsidized it by picking up the slack.

Addendum: a letter on the subject in the Guardian, also linked to by Murphy.

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