If a legally-operated Charity suggests that members of the public donate for a cause, it is widely presumed that the cash generated goes towards the purpose which the Charity is advertising. The fact that executives of that Charity gain ever-higher salaries and/or bonus payments is never stated, nor even acknowledged. But that fact is possibly more widely appreciated than most of the fat-cats in Charity high places care to acknowledge. If someone wishes to donate any cash to a particular charity, in this country, he or she is free to do so, but I do feel that the PROPORTION of that cash which goes to the charitable purpose is more fully and widely stated.
Take, for example, the installation, now nearly complete, of the 888,246 ceramic poppies, set into the moat which encircles the Tower of London. I do not criticise it as the Guardian’s correspondent did; when he used the barbed tones which sneered at this remarkable installation as purely ‘nationalistic’, as ‘prettified and toothless’, not as ‘Art’ as he snobbishly interprets Art to be; but instead as ‘popular art’, which is something to be decried and distorted. No, I criticise it because it only tells a part of the truth. I criticise it because the British public are being lied to, whenever they read and believe the blurb about paying a donation of £25.00 for a ceramic poppy. When I state that £8.75 is earmarked for charity, £4.17 goes to the taxman for VAT, leaving the majority of the money – £12.08 – to cover ‘costs’. If all the poppies are sold, and even allowing for 10 per cent ‘breakages or returns’, this means a company called Paul Cummins Ceramics Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red Community Interest Company, could receive almost £10million.
So, when you check the pages of your newspaper, or watch the well-documented scenes on television, just remember that besides ‘Help for Heroes’, besides ‘SSAFA’, besides ‘Combat Stress’ and the Confederation of Service Charities, well-run and dedicated charities all; you are making Paul Cummins and his millionaire backers a great deal of money!