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Beware the self-righteous. They are usually only in it for themselves

(Friday, Saturday, Sunday blog) I’ve spent most of my working life as a management consultant trying to scrape a living to support myself and my family. But when I wrote two whistle-blowing books – PLUNDERING THE PUBLIC SECTOR about how consultants extract millions from stupid public-sector bosses and RIP-OFF about how consultants con their private-sector clients out of millions – I was, of course, blacklisted and would never be allowed to work as a consultant again.

So, I began wondering how I could use the skills of analysis and presentation of data, I had learnt as a consultant, to expose the stupidity, waste, greed and incompetence of those who have power over us. I started writing books. My thinking was that with each book I would find organisations that agreed with my point of view and would thus help me with my books.

How naively wrong I was. Each time I went near an organisation asking for cooperation a brick wall went up. There was no way they were going to allow an outsider, however well intentioned, onto their precious, jealously-guarded territory.

The Conservative Party: First up were the Tories. When I returned to the UK after 20 years abroad, everyone was praising Gordon Brown calling him the ‘Iron Chancellor’ and journalists were swallowing the line about how Brown was a Presbyterian Scot who would never waste taxpayers’ money. But from what I could see, Brown was a financially-incontinent, economically-illiterate liar and buffoon and so I planned a book SQUANDERED How Gordon Brown is wasting over one trillion pounds of your money. My agent sold this to a publisher and I then contacted the Tories to see if they could help with my book. I met with two Tory MPs and one senior adviser and the answer was always the same: ‘F**k off! And stop wasting our time! We have important work to do’.

Nevertheless, I did write SQUANDERED and have been told that the Tories asked over 150 parliamentary questions based on my book. But at no time did anyone in the Conservative Party help me or contact me.

An organisation claiming to represent NHS patients: Next was an organisation claiming to represent the interests of NHS patients. I had helped write and had published at my own expense a book by a Midlands housewife, Amanda Steane, called WHO CARES? The book described how her husband Paul had been driven to kill himself after a catastrophic series of NHS hospital blunders and how the hospital had tried to cover up their incompetence. Amanda only found out the truth about Paul’s care when a whistle-blowing nurse sent her anonymously a copy of a blood test the hospital denied existed and which proved their culpability.

Once the book was published, I expected this organisation to work with me and Amanda to fight NHS incompetence. No way! The organisation didn’t want to have anything to do with Amanda or me. I suppose they didn’t want us trespassing on their territory.

Money laundering: I’m now considering writing a book about money laundering and have met the same “get lost!” attitude from organisations claiming they are leading the fight against money laundering.

The charity industry: This tendency for those, supposedly working for our common good, to desperately defend their own positions, jobs and interests is most clearly demonstrated in Britain’s bloated charity industry. There are over 195,000 registered charities in the UK and another 191,000 which don’t need to register as they are too small. How many charities do we really need? Maybe 5,000? At most 10,000?

Many of these charities should be merged to cut down management and administration costs and release more money for real charity work. But that would mean thousands of well-paid charity executives and managers with mortgages and school fees and expensive holidays to pay for losing their jobs. So charity mergers seldom happen and billions of pounds of the money we give to charity is wasted.

Let’s take prostate cancer. For years three prostate cancer charities competed to get donations. To their credit, these three charities did realise they were all doing exactly the same thing and merged. The merger allowed them to massively reduce the millions spent on management, administration and fundraising and hugely increase the amount spent on real charitable work.

But, despite us having perhaps 180,000 charities too many, such mergers are almost never happen.

The poverty industry: Here are the mission statements of six of the largest anti-poverty charities:

we all reduce poverty

Ooops! They’re all the same! But there’s no way any of these would consider merging – too many well-paid executive and management jobs would be lost and there’d be fewer opportunities for charity bosses to get their knighthoods and peerages.

At one time, it was estimated that there were over 4,000 charities active in Ethiopia and over 3,000 working in Haiti. All these charities would have had well-paid staff flying in staying at hotels or renting villas in the most exclusive parts of the countries’ capitals. They’d all have had their convoys of 4x4s and their guides and interpreters and servants and taxfree salaries with generous overseas allowances and expenses. The Lords of Poverty live well as we suckers pay for their gilded lifestyles!

I was ridiculously naive when I started writing books. I have now learnt:

Beware the self-righteous and the holier-than-thou! They are usually only in it for themselves!

And finally, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, here’s the one and only, the fat lady of charity herself, Camilla Batmanjelly singing her version of the BeeGees’ song ‘Tragedy’, with exciting new lyrics and renamed ‘Charity‘:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TTm9yyOEkQ

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