Little at Large: Who will cooperate with Cameron's co-operative?

It was Disraeli who accused Robert Peel of catching the Whigs bathing and walking off with their clothes.

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

The phrase has since entered the political lexicon, but David Cameron, the current Conservative leader, seems to have taken a surreptitious spin around the entire beach before announcing a Conservative Co-operative Movement last week. The Co-operative Party responded by urging Cameron to defect to the Labour Party (the Co-op Party is allied to it). Co-operatives UK politely mentioned that there is already a co-operative movement, which it represents; and the Green Party accused Cameron of "co-opting co-operative values". 

We've yet to hear from the anarchists, who love co-ops but tend to advocate them for the entire economy. Or perhaps Dave was trying to tell us something when he spoke about "anarchy in the UK" the other month?

- Actually, Cameron's co-operative conversion could have radical implications for charities. Shadow charities minister Greg Clark is to make mutualisation a core part of the Tories' policy for the voluntary sector. That could be interesting - charity law forbids most co-ops from becoming charities, and vice versa.

- Charities shamed by the Charity Commission for late submission of accounts nearly got their own back last week. The Equality and Human Rights Commission told Third Sector that the regulator had been issued with a notice of compliance for failing to report on its race diversity scheme. Knives were sharpened. Then the EHRC got back to say that it had got its commissions muddled up and what it actually meant was the Electoral Commission. Apparently, the Charity Commission has got a clean bill of health.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer

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