July 2024

Beware the self-righteous – they’re often only in it for themselves

In 2007, I ghost-wrote and published at my own cost a truly amazing (in my humble opinion) book called WHO CARES?  It tells the story of Midland housewife Amanda Steane’s husband Paul.

Paul Steane went into hospital for minor surgery. After repeated mistakes and neglect by inexperienced doctors and over-worked nurses in filthy wards, Paul emerged a helpless invalid. In constant pain and unable to walk, communicate or breathe properly, he took his own life to spare his family the burden of looking after him.

Hospital management tried to avoid responsibility by claiming that key parts of Paul’s medical records were ‘lost’. But a nurse, outraged at how Paul was treated, sent Amanda copies of the ‘lost’ medical records. These showed that hospital managers were probably lying and the police started to investigate.

(It’s a great story and would make a wonderful Christmas present)

In the years since the book’s publication, Amanda has been invited to give talks to over 10,000 nurses in several countries. But I have totally failed in interesting an organisation/charity – The Patients’ Association – in Amanda’s story and in the help she could provide them. Every time I contacted The Patients’ Association, I was fobbed off. It was as if they were behaving like overly pious, holier-than-thou would-be saints desperate to protect their territory from any outsider intruding on their chosen stamping ground.


When researching my latest book THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL I found the people I talked to at our larger charities arrogant, self-important, sneeringly morally superior and very self-defensive. Oxfam were the worst.

Recently our flame-haired prince of passion, Prince Harry, was asked what he had learnt from running one of his charities. One answer he gave was that he had found that many people were only in the charity business to boost their own egos.

A couple of days ago, I was contacted by the founder of a small charity (£180,000 a year) dealing with a condition affecting older people. Her experience was that the major charity in that area (turnover £70m a year) saw her charity as a threat to their dominance of that sector. I’ll let her explain:

“My particular nemesis is (name of a major charity) which is about as bloated and wasteful as they come. You should see all the expensive and extraneous merchandise  they give away at conferences.  We’re so mean that there has to be a good reason for us not to charge for a wristband.”

“At the big national dementia conference in Brighton the other week I learned from Prof ……….., who is an eminence gris of geriatric psychiatry,  that (name of the major charity) is now totally corporate with no volunteers in any position of responsibility.”

“They have always been hostile to us. The previous CEO actually once referred to me as “the enemy” . Shortly after I started our charity, they changed their tag line to “leading the fight against dementia”. They were given the secretariat of the Parliamentary Working Group on Dementia and refused to allow us a place as a stakeholder. I don’t know how they can possibly feel threatened by us.”

So, beware the holy, the pious, the morally superior, the judgemental, the self-righteous. Often they’re just greedy, self-serving, egotistical cowards hiding behind their cloak of feigned altruism in order to boost their own careers, social standing and sense of self-importance.

5 comments to Beware the self-righteous – they’re often only in it for themselves

  • Paul

    David, is your new book on Charities Kindle-only ?

    This is a story that should be told but nobody wants to hear. I have said to many that when you “give to charity” you should look very carefully as many of the major charities no longer *do* anything, they are ‘campaigning charities’ which usually means they are entirely self-serving.

    Some do untold damage. The NSPCC screeching things like “1 in 3 children are abused” and the like actually make things worse because the people who investigate are flooded with nonsense abuse and can’t deal with the real cases – not just children who’ve been told to go to bed at 9:00 or something.

  • Juliet 46

    WOW -Found an interesting trustee’s Report in pdf form of a certain Society – to my untutored eye this appeared startling – Staff costs 2014 totalling £42,137,000 plus pension provisions listed of 1.8 million
    I am not an accountant – so perhaps I’ve got it wrong…

    5. Staff costs
    2014 2013
    Group Group
    £’000 £’000
    Gross wages and salaries 37,848 34,104
    Employer’s National Insurance 3,055 2,806
    Pension contributions 1,234 892
    42,137 37,802

  • David Craig

    My book THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL is only available as a Kindle Single. But you can read it on any device – PC, tablet, laptop, phone. All you need to do is go here and download the ‘Kindle reading app’ free of charge onto any device – computer, PC, laptop, smartphone or whatever. Also, the book is quite short – 28,000 words compared to 65,000 words for a normal paperback, so it’s quite a quick read

  • John Fields

    When I am in town I usually look in some of the charity shops, and there are a lot of them.
    Last week I went to look for Christmas cards and Birthday cards. The prices have gone
    through the roof. My local card shop is cheaper. Once it was 10 Christmas cards for
    50p, and Birthday cards 30p each. The two worst offenders are Sue Ryder and Oxfam.

  • Keen Reader

    I was in my nearest South Coast market town this morning, also browsing round the charity shops. Oxfam, closely followed by Barnados, seem to be locations, which they can presumably afford to do because they enjoy the benefits of UBR exemption and goodness knows what else. Several other shops in the street, including Oxfam’s immediate neighbour, have quit, being unable to make ends meet, and the properties are boarded up. The prices both “charities”are charging for obviously second hand clothing are exorbitant – the weekly open air market is cheaper – and they are also selling ever more new stuff, much of it “ethnic” – whatever that means! I saw a good many people buying clothing, books, DVDs, rather nasty ornaments, clearly believing they were doing their bit for good causes. Well, they are! At the rate of about the actual target in every pound they spend. The rest will be going to finance some of the best pension deals now available. I regret I lacked the courage to take to a soapbox or nearest available podium in the middle of the shop and tell the assembled multitude the truth.
    I returned home to hear a spokeswoman for Oxfam explaining on You & Yours, R4,that when – as did a friend of mine a couple of years ago – you give at Christmas a goat to a Third World family instead of presents to your own kith and kin, in fact the money goes into a gigantic general pot, to be spent in the manner Oxfam considers best. In other words, my friend, an elderly pensioner on a very tight budget, now scraping the bottom of the barrel to fund her nursing home care, didn’t give a goat to a specific family in Africa, but contributed to the pension pot of Oxfam’s salaried staff.
    Nice work if you can get it, Oxfam!

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