Rob Wilson’s attack on Oxfam in a Daily Telegraph article, in which he accused the international aid charity of "disappearing up its morally righteous posterior", has provoked controversy among many involved in the voluntary sector.
The former Conservative minister, writing on the newspaper’s website on Friday, said the charity had a left-wing bias and "stands accused of being anti-capitalist and anti-Conservative". He also called on larger charities to employ more right-leaning people in senior leadership positions.
The response to Wilson’s article began in a measured way:
Pretty strong words here... https://t.co/9xTwXTri9N— Martyn Illingworth (@martynaling) January 26, 2018
@ThirdSector— PJ White (@petewhite) January 26, 2018
Interesting that Wilson’s calling for new right-leaning heads of charities. He’s not arguing for politically neutral charities. I’d say that’s more worrying for the sector than the "keep out of politics" messages of the past.
The majority of those who give to charities do so to support the cause. Charities have to be transparent about their activities and charitable spend. If a supporter does not like the way a charity pursues its charitable mission then they can stop donating.— Janice Leeming (@JaniceLeeming) January 27, 2018
Rob Wilson thinks that the charity sector largely employs senior people who have a 'left-wing perspective on life'. A euphemism for people who care about the vulnerable and dispossessed? See Third Sector https://t.co/n32KbbhyLj— JULIA KAUFMANN (@kaufmann_julia) January 26, 2018
I wonder whether the reverse applies? Whether media corporations should be urged to take on Momentum members - just in the interests of avoiding any possible right-wing bias? Ps. Don’t tell anyone but I actually employ tories, sometimes even ex Tory MPs.— Peter Holbrook (@peteholbrook) January 26, 2018
But it didn’t take long before voluntary sector figures attacked the former Conservative minister and MP for Reading East, who lost his seat in the 2017 general election, questioning his motives for the article and also his time as a minister.
Interestingly it seems even raising point about growing #inequality is not allowed. @oxfamgb & @OxfamScotland have caught some flak on this during the wk but it’s undeniable & getting worse. At least after earlier news he's now v.unlikely to be chair of @ChtyCommission phew! https://t.co/kOZT9JsEpZ— David Mbaziira (@DavidMbaziira) January 26, 2018
Been in the sector 20 years - who is this fly by night?— Craig Anderson (@CraigAndersonUK) January 26, 2018
Well, am I glad I live and work in the Third Sector in Scotland! https://t.co/M7bgJ5Dbbr— VAF Chief Executive (@VAF_CEO) January 26, 2018
Rob Wilson. What a very funny man. And with a lot of spare time on his hands it seems. Quite rightly. ??????— Dawn Varley (@nfpdawnv) January 26, 2018
Better headline: Childish man, bitter at losing previous job and not offered new job he wanted, says something incendiary just to get attention. https://t.co/1dH5zefrWb— Beth Upton (@Beth_Upton) January 26, 2018
@RobWilson_RDG has never understood the voluntary sector - charities do not exist just to deliver public services. They exist to deliver social change.— Kate Sayer (@KateSayer1) January 26, 2018
And remind me, what did he actually do for the sector???? https://t.co/JbkxoJmlGF— RitaChadha - Serious (@SeriousRita) January 26, 2018
@ThirdSector He shld worry less about @oxfamgb diappearing anywhere. It will be with us long after Rob Who is forgotten. He shd worry more about how posterity will view those who attack great chties that campaign for a better, fairer world. https://t.co/Xi9uCxnI3t— Andrew Purkis (@AndrewPurkis) January 26, 2018
What a week. Oxfam accused of 'disappearing up its morally righteous posterior' for highlighting that economic inequality traps people in poverty. Which the IMF says too. While powerful men exposed for using charity as cover for sexual harassment of women. Truth to power hurts.— Matthew Sherrington (@m_sherrington) January 26, 2018
One-dimensional vision for charities, attempting to shoe-horn us into a docile contractor role, cowed & muzzled at every step by the threat of contract cancellation.— Toby Porter (@tobyhporter) January 27, 2018
@browning_vicky hits the nail on the head. It seems that this point, so evident from our history, has to be made again in each generation. Not so long ago, people like @RobWilson_RDG were attacking Oxfam for criticising Apartheid in pursuit of their https://t.co/ILgt21iNiV— Andrew Purkis (@AndrewPurkis) January 28, 2018
You see @RobWilson_RDG - the trite that you wrote recently has been rolled out for a long time. And it’s dull frankly. Why should a charity focused on #poverty not ask why people are poor? Like the party you used to represent, you simply don’t realise the anger that’s building— rickdiculous_me ?? (@rickdiculous_me) January 27, 2018
Maybe you should volunteer at a shop for a few days & then you might see the reality of what & why oxfam & it’s 31,000 volunteers do what they do.— Amanda Powell (@AmandaPowell69) January 26, 2018