Day 9: Warminster to Bradford-on-Avon

A magnificent walk through England’s finest countryside, all drowsing in the heat; sometimes the scent of the wild flowers was so powerful it stung my nose. As we passed, arcades of trees were nodding at us in the gentlest wisp of a breeze; Cows lay in corners of their fields drowsing silently with their paws crossed; We made good time, our map reading helped by a kind local ZANE supporter. Half-way through the morning in the middle distance we could see a vast white horse eternally cantering across across a chalk hill; this apparently marks the site of an ancient, gory battle fought between the Danes and King Alfred in the ninth century. Churchill was right enough when he claimed that the history of man is the history of war for man causes trouble as certainly as sparks fly upwards.

I wearily read yet another press report, this time involving “Save the Children”, another series of allegations of child abuse. Tragic for the children, tragic for that fine charity and a costly nuisance for all us smaller charities who, irrespective of past unblemished records, now have to prove a negative to the regulators: that we do not abuse. Not a problem for the big charities whom, I suppose, can afford rooms full of box-tickers. And I also suppose that, with tens of thousands of staff, whatever they do they are bound to have some bad apples amongst their throng of employees. I also have to speculate that, however many boxes charities are forced to tick, the real abusers are clever and cunning and will always find a way though the rules.

Note to ZANE donors and management: “Thank God we are small and that the bulk of our staff have been with us over ten years.”

For trust takes years to build and vanishes in a flash.


Lefty Charities

ZANE has never criticised the work of other charities. Of course, the work that many of them do is just as valuable as ZANE’s and we wish them well. However we cannot help but notice that the bigger some charities become, the more towards the “left” of the political spectrum they appear to drift – much like the Church of England.

Let’s start with a look at the CoE. I know something about it, for it’s more or less my family business. Four members of my immediate family have attended theology colleges. I can vouch that the ones who hold centre-right political opinions keep their views to themselves. No one says this outright, but it’s implicit that the consensus is that the teaching of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 – “…that if any would not work, neither should he eat” – is ignored.

Lefty Campaigning

Why do the biggest charities feel justified in spending donor money on vastly expensive “lefty” political campaigning?  Examples? Why do OXFAM trustees allow the executive to waste donor money on a Global Wealth Survey, designed to bite hard the very hand of government that feeds it?  This report, backed by a Corbynistic commentary on the “erosion of worker’s rights”, claims that the richest 1 per cent have bagged 82 per cent of wealth created. It’s a piece of slanted nonsense because poverty is actually falling faster than ever before. It also claims that UK companies are indulging in “a relentless corporate drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to shareholders”. Last year, OXFAM released a video that depicted tax dodgers as masked thieves who break into a hospital and steal medical equipment from a screaming baby.

A year ago, the Red Cross announced that the NHS was in a “humanitarian crisis”. Then Save the Children ran a multi-million campaign stating, “It shouldn’t happen here”. Focusing on child poverty in the UK, it was a thinly disguised assault on HMG’s attempts to live within the nation’s means and limit the vast national debts our grandchildren will have to pay for in the future.

Religious Fervour

These lefty charities treat politics like a sort of religion; they judge without fear of being judged, and demand from their followers that they do as they say and not as they do. This leftish faith is maddening to those who don’t agree. It’s not because their arguments are palpably simplistic and plain absurd – “the rich should be ashamed” or “public expenditure is always good” – but because they are insulated from criticism as Holy Writ. Their arguments are launched from the virtue signalling moral high ground with the clear implication that if you don’t agree, you are morally defective.

The irony is that these charities are substantial beneficiaries of the taxes generated by the very businesses and people they are criticising. I reckon that the more these charities campaign against government, the more likely it is that the aid that is funnelled through them will be reduced.

Note that the National Opera is funded by the Hamlyn Trust, wealth created from a private publishing fortune. Then Andrew Carnegie gave his vast fortune to promoting public libraries. Recently, Bill Gates, one of the richest businessmen of all time, linked up with money bags Warren Buffett to give the majority of their vast fortunes to humanitarian causes.   Carnegie/Hamlyn/ Gates/Buffett never attract public criticism for waste and dottiness. Perhaps that’s because it’s their money they are spending and they are beady-eyed businessmen.

In 2016, Cecil Rhodes was criticised – amazingly by a Rhodes scholar – for being a greedy exploiter (you couldn’t make this up). The fact that he died more than a century ago in a different world was forgotten: his statue had to fall.

Of course he wasn’t a “lefty”. What is not mentioned is that he and his business partner, Alfred Beit, gifted the totality of their wealth for the good of humanity. Through the Rhodes Scholarships scheme and the Beit Trust, their well- managed wealth continues to provide opportunities for and to bless the poorest of the poor today.


PC World

These days, you can’t be too careful with the jokes and banter!

Last week, I had a medical and the nurse – whom I know well – had to attach a number of electrodes to my chest for a heart scan. I’m fine, thanks for asking!

Stripping them off when it was over was slightly painful so I yelped, “You monster!” She roared with laughter…

Afterwards, I wondered what she would have made of my banter had she been ill-disposed towards me. Headlines in paper: “Old man with OBE roars verbal abuse at nurse”.

It was joke, was it really! Call that a joke! Fine sense of humour you have, and so on.

Last week, I was coming out of church alongside a lady I know who’s in a wheelchair. There’s a hill close by, and so I couldn’t resist saying to her and her husband, “Why don’t we take you to the top of the hill and let you run down to the bottom? I’ll catch you, promise!”

They both laughed. But afterwards I reflected, if they had been a sour old couple, she could have reported me for incitement to murder!

I can hear the cop in my minds’ eye. “You said what, Sir? A joke, you say? The lady is 95 – have you any idea of the shock you have given her!” And on it would go…

Best to play it safe in future. No more risks. Thus “jokes” or banter are off my agenda for good. I’ll be deadly serious from now on, Officer!

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