— UK Rants: #Brexit won 2019 & it'll cruise 2020 😘 (@uk_rants) June 14, 2019
“Socialism always begins with a universal vision for the brotherhood of man and ends with people having to eat their own pets.”
Toby Young complained to the Charity Commission about left-wing charity War on Want’s involvement in the anti-Trump campaign. The Charity Commission told him:
War on Want by appearing to support the Stop Trump Campaign in materials published on the charity’s website, and through public activities of the charity’s director, the charity has been engaging in inappropriate political activity. Following our intervention, the charity has removed materials of concern from its website. We expect it to ensure that, in the future, the charity is not associated in the mind of the public with the Campaign.
Charities are free to campaign on issues that relate to their charitable objects for the public benefit. What charities cannot do is campaign against a government, administration, individual politician or political party in general terms. Charity holds a special status in our society, and so when individual charities clearly cross the line from legitimate to inappropriate political activity, the public expects us to hold them to account. That is what we have done in this case.
For general background: we determined that War on Want’s apparent involvement with the Stop Trump Campaign amounts to inappropriate political activity, because:
– The Campaign appears to be against the individual (President Trump) and his administration generally, and is not confined to criticism of that administration’s policies in relation to poverty or human rights (the charity’s purposes)
– While the charity has attempted to link the Campaign to its objects, these explanations have not been sufficient to allow us to determine that the Campaign is appropriate for the charity.
This is not the first time War on Want have been in trouble with the Charity Commission. They continually flout the law, yet no sanctions are taken against them. If Guido’s co-conspirators find any more examples of left-wing charities breaching the rules, complain to the Charity Commission and let us know. Two can play at this game…
.@toadmeister I do believe in free speech and always championed it when Culture Sec. What I don’t believe in is the freedom to post beheading videos and child sexual abuse online https://t.co/7uIB9rBqCt
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) April 8, 2019
The proponents of the “Online Harms White Paper“ are trying to frame it as a child protection and anti-terrorism measure. Guido is willing to accept that is the government’s intention and that it is under pressure from the newspaper industry to hit the global platforms. Almost every day News UK and Associated Newspapers titles run a shock horror story about Facebook or Twitter or one of the other social media platforms. Often it is focused on child protection – children committing suicide, children being groomed, children falling for scams, children seeing an advert for a high sugar product. Do not underestimate how much pressure this puts ministers under when there is a “something must be done” clamour.
According to the government the something that must be done is the creation of yet another quango, an online regulator. Dubbed by Toby Young “iPlod“.
Guido has no doubt as to the harms done by child sexual abuse or terrorist propaganda online, it is however already the case that these things are illegal. Introducing a new law will not change the enforcement problems, which go unaddressed in the White Paper. The best form of child protection is preventing your children having access to this material. Why does your 7 year-old child need a smart phone? Why is your daughter on Snapchat, an app originally designed to enable the sending of a quick nude picture that will selfie-destruct after a maximum of 10 seconds. New legal controls are no substitute for parental control.
The online harms that the White Paper has trouble defining include cyber-bullying and trolling, both of which it says are unacceptable. People being rude to one another online does not require a legislative response. The police have better things to do than arrest people for being rude on Twitter.
There is also the collateral damage to press freedom from a new regulator, Toby Young argues in tomorrow’s Spectator cover story that the White Paper if it became law “iPlod” would mean that any companies “that allow users to share or discover user-generated content or interact with each other online” will be “in scope” so that includes newspapers and magazines. This is arguably state regulation of the press by the back door and has no place in a free society. Sajid should be opposing it as vigorously as he opposed Labour’s attempts to set up a state press regulator, not championing it.
On today’s Politics Live, Toby Young took apart the proposals expected in a White Paper next week for Government control of social media. He’s bang on…
Toby Young has resigned from the Office for Students board following the furore over his tweets. Angela Rayner is being credited with the scalp, so it’s worth remembering her double standards and faux outrage over the last few days. Rayner led the calls for Toby to go, claiming his tweets were evidence of a “history of homophobia and misogyny”. Yet what was her view of Labour’s Jared O’Mara, whose social media postings were in a different league and who actually hurled sexist abuse at a woman in person just last year? Rayner said “I am happy to sit alongside him” in the Commons. You don’t get double standards more blatant than that – this was political, pure and simple…