Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Evening News

The RSPCA were commenting today on the dramatic rise in animal cruelty cases over the half-term period. It looks as if allotments aren't safe either.

Reader Sue writes:

"My husband has an allotment in Dane valley near Drapers Mill and someone has burnt his shed to the ground and trashed his allotment and his neighbour's. This happened this afternoon between 1 and 6. The shed was brand new. Only been up there a month and cost £400. Easter Holidays? I'm speechless!"

Ed: Sorry to hear it Sue. Perhaps the only solution is a heavily armed scarecrow?

On a separate note, Tony Ovenden writes:

"Margate museum has a archive of election literature, in the past it has been difficult to obtain conservative literature from the local elections, which is a shame as it makes the archive incomplete. Any chance you could have a word in the right ear so the museum can have at least one item of literature from each candidate."

Ed: I'll try and hopefully posting your request here will mean that some councillors and candidates will send you some literature. I'll make sure you get a copy of my own to throw darts at, when it arrives!


Grumpy Old Man said...

Whilst I appreciate some of aspects of the work the RSPCA does and has done for many years, it has become, like so many other 'charities' a political pressure group and a business providing a great deal of employment with a large paid staff and a very large PR and advertising budget.

I wonder if its announcement of a dramatic rise in cruelty cases this Easter is perhaps related to recent legislation giving it un-heard of powers of intrusion into peoples homes and lives? (Very similar timing has ocurred for the Government's 'killer toxic poisons' campaign against secondary smoking)

Are we really going to see over-indulgent dog owners prosecuted for 'neglect and cruelty' because their dog is reported to the RSPCA by 'RSPCA informants' as obese?

I am sorry, but I no longer donate money to the RSPCA; it moved away from its wonderful origins and early ethos years ago, like so many other 'charities'. I wonder how many little old widows leaving their inheritance to the RSPCA, are still thinking of its wonderful work of 70 years ago, when they were little girls?

Go and ask NSPCC, NCH and Barnardo's how many wonderful homes they now run for children when there is a crying need for them in our modern society? Then ask them how much they spend on advertising?

Careers Teachers for schools should be promoting a career in 'Charities' to young people as an alternative to 'business'. Its the same game, accept 'working for a charity' sounds nicer.

Doctor Doom said...

The issue of charities operated as businesses is an important one which deserves further discussion.

For many years I worked alongside a host of charity-status NGOs in less developed countries around the world, with growing disenchantment.

Not here to name names or cast blame, other than to say that many, many, many well-meaning volunteers and donors here in wealthy Britain would be utterly appalled to see how little of what they raise actually reaches the people / projects it was intended for.

Why, for instance, is it necessary for the UK-based offices and operations of these organisations to be situated in sumptuous offices in high-rent, high-cost high-prestige city zones? As for the salaries of the vast army of permanent staff (and some of these salaries are huge!), is it not curious how the volunteer aspect of charities seems to diminish the further up the chain of command you go?

But let’s bring in the local angle here. Thanet is awash with charity shops. Ten in Ramsgate alone. Across the island a similar scenario unfolds. A stroll along the length of Cliftonville’s commercial strip seems to turn up a new “charity” shop every few weeks.

The blurred line between charity and business seems to be not just an issue with the established brand-leaders, now increasingly selling new goods and directly competing with other retailers while benefiting for reduced rates, etc.

Just how many of the so-called charity operations in Cliftonville and elsewhere around the island are actually bona fide charity concerns? How much of their takings actually goes to any charity? Is anyone holding them to account?

Again, not here to name names, but alongside the well-established national organisations there are many small operators that seem to be more in the business of second-hand junk and house clearance for commercial gain, yet are regularly to be seen taking “donations” from well-meaning members of the public wanting to pass on good-quality used goods to a good cause.

Some of these actually display a charity name and number and may possibly have some tenuous link with a bona fide charity operation, but still they run the shops as their own businesses and clearly have no-one overseeing how much income from donated items goes to charity and how much to their own pockets.

Still others have vaguely worded references to “supporting” some good cause or other. Take a donation along to these shops and you’ll be assured of their gratitude. Make a near-offer on their for-sale price and you’ll be told where to go. A curious attitude from those who have received goods for nothing and ought to value any income for their good cause. Ask an awkward question about said good cause and you’ll get short shrift...

I’m sure the vast majority of “charity shops” on the island are genuine operations run by volunteers who do a great job for whatever cause they support. A few, it seems, are not. Is anyone in TDC or beyond monitoring them to decide which are which?

Grumpy Old Man said...

I saw a documentary a few years ago about Sue Ryder Care as it now is and how the charity had re-branded etc etc (allegedly against the wishes of that wonderful woman, Sue Ryder)
It has 400 'charity shops. Go to their web site and see the property portfolio it has and the cost of care for its clients; fees mostly start at £750 per week for residential care! Local Authority and PCTs may part fund but the family needs to find the rest. Are they a charity or a business now? Look at details for an Area manager in Berkshire looking after 20 of their 'shops': £24,000 + car+ benefits for 37.5 hr week: Read the spiel in the advert:
"It's about developing your career in Area Management by running all aspects of around 14 to 20 shops. As a Business Manager you will play a vital role. Your main objectives will be to maximize sales, initiate market promotions and control Area expenditure. One of your priorities will be staff development. You will ensure your team are equipped to run the shops efficiently, meet their targets and help you meet yours......"

Who would be a volunteer for this type of stuff? I get the distinct impression a lot of well paid lackeys do very well on the backs of thousands of little old ladies doing their bit for charity by working for free in Ryder Care so called "charity" shops. All 400 should be paying Business Rates!

sue said...

Thanks for posting my rant Simon.
I was wrong about the length of time it lasted though. It was not a month,it was 10 days!
The police have promised a daily patrol up there. I hope it saves someone else from the horrible hurt a moronic act such as this causes. My hub worked so hard to put it there.
Serves him right for expecting to be able to improve the quality of our lives without some mindless *$@#"&*! trashing it.
Rant over.

For now.

Anonymous said...

my commiserations , Sue! It is so sad to hear about peoples quiet but positive work and interests being trashed by the un-Godly. The hut presumably was insured but how do you measure the spring planting on an allottment in insurable terms? You cannot.

sue said...

Thank you for your sympathy.
No the shed was not insured. I think it would be very difficult and expensive to insure a shed that is not on your property, is adjacent to an estate like Millmead, and is situated on allotments where the security is woefully inadequate. The shed was paid for with money given to him for Christmas by our family.
My husband is blaming himself for being foolish enough to think he woud be able to have one there, but I don't see it that way. The blame must lie with the people who wish to share with others the hurt and unhappiness of their own pathetic lives .
Also TDC has been promising a security fence paid for with the funds aquired from the sale of allotments in Manston, but needless to say, this has not materialised.

sue said...

Further installment:
The shed next door, also new. was torched yesterday.
The 6 year old who comes there will be very upset.

Anonymous said...

Time for an allottment watch, Sue. Identify times and the next likely target and put a shift pattern of watchers in place with mobile phones and digital cameras to record any bunch of scroats who cross into the allottments and call the police on 999 stating you can see what looks like a container of petrol being carried! 'Kent's Finest' might respond to that.

Anonymous said...

Look on BEBO or YOUTUBE? The little s***s might have recorded both acts of arson for 'fun'.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sue,
This is just appalling. The Councils insurers Zurich must be liable. I am working a twelve hour shift in London on Monday but will pass this to Cllr Richard Nicholson Labour Leader to take up with Chief Executive Richard Samuel asap.

Anonymous said...

I assume , Iris is a Cllr, Sue?Good news here from a Labour Cllr, Ed. Look to your laurels, Labour have stolen a march!

DrMoores said...

The one and the same Iris J.!
Her ward I assume and I'm delighted she's reading ThanetLife!

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that most Labour Cllrs do!

Anonymous said...

Look .please dont lets turn this very serious horrible incident with political"scoring".my heart goes out to these people who are trying to grow veg and put something back into the earth and the scumbags with braindead mentality that go around doing things like this...