Third Sector at Large: The corporate frog leaps over Pickles the throttled dog

Nick Hurd, Sir Stuart Etherington, Eric Pickles and an urban frog are on our minds this week

- What's the world coming to? There was a heckler at the usually staid NCVO conference last week, interrupting civil society minister Nick Hurd with a demand to "tax the rich". What does she think this is - a socialist government? Hurd had earlier confided that the agitated midnight texts he gets from sector leaders had now "settled down into a regular pattern". But has his genial manner acquired a new note in these redundancy-plagued times? A hint of the sympathetic undertaker, perhaps?

- NCVO boss Sir Stuart Etherington was in Churchillian mode at the conference dinner, declaring that those who wanted the sector to stop campaigning would meet "resistance, defence and counter-attack". This was a reference, of course, to the "Shelter doesn't provide any shelter" Tory rednecks who had a go at him in a select committee recently. He also paid tribute to the Charity Commission's Dame Suzi Leather: "You have stood your ground, and for that we are eternally grateful." We will fight them on the beaches ...

- And was Etherington a little less than completely respectful about communities secretary Eric Pickles, who had earlier in the day announced that he was "prepared to consider" action against councils that cut sector budgets disproportionately? Etherington hoped, of course, that the "Pickles principle", as he dubbed it, would have lasting influence, but recalled also that Pickles was the dog that found the stolen World Cup under a hedge in 1966. Anoraks will remember that poor Pickles was soon afterwards strangled by his own lead while chasing a cat.

- A sequel to our recent story about John Hemming, chair of the Charity Tax Group, who was bitten by an urban fox while not paying attention one night. He's now broken two ribs while skiing. An alpine fox this time? If mishaps comes in threes, perhaps he should avoid the Arctic.

- Corporates doing their bit for charity usually expect some nice PR and maybe some customer approbation. So the accountancy firm Deloitte was a little surprised, but thrilled nonetheless, to find that its reward for helping the African Rainforest Conservancy was to have a frog named after it. Nectophrynoides deloittei was discovered in the Rubeho Forest in Tanzania, apparently known as the Galapagos of Africa. It's a great honour, say the bean-counters. Perhaps a great leap forward too.

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