Third Sector at Large: Right-wing Charlie courts a throttling by charity persons

The Sector's Least Favourite Tory, Nick Hurd's cartoon and the music charity Rhythmix are on our minds this week

- The mantle of The Sector's Least Favourite Tory seems to be settling round the shoulders of Charlie Elphicke, the bumptious MP for Dover and Deal. He established his leitmotif in January when, as a member of the Public Administration Select Committee, he complained about charities advertising and campaigning too much. And he was at it again at the Conservative conference last week. He accused charities that spoke out against cuts of "business protection campaigning", and pronounced authoritatively that "the thing to remember about the voluntary sector is that it's about volunteers". One sector luminary confided to Third Sector that she would cheerfully throttle him and another female declared him to be "offensive". No doubt he'll see such reactions as evidence that he's on the right lines.

- Some of the protesters outside Manchester town hall, where conference fringe events were taking place, displayed an impeccable sense of timing. Just as the civil society minister Nick Hurd completed a worthy pronouncement at one meeting that "people want to get involved in community activities when they feel they can make a difference", the assembled rabble started shouting and whistling outside the window. Probably not Hurd's idea of community action, mind you.

- Hurd's civil servants, ever protective of their minister, tried to prevent him seeing Third Sector's recent cover cartoon of him by turning the magazine upside down on his desk. But he wasn't fooled for long and has declared the image hideous. "My wife hates it," he adds. Perhaps the extra chin the artist gave him is the problem.

- Turmoil at the music charity Rhythmix, which works with vulnerable young people in the south east. A girl band featuring in The X Factor has chosen exactly the same name, and the programme responded to the charity's protest by saying the charity's trademark for the name relates only to education and it now intended to seek a trademark for it in relation to entertainment. "We've had to get legal representation, which I regard as a waste of money," says the charity's chief executive, Mark Davyd. "I've had The Sun stalking me for six hours and hate mail from friends of the band. So I've had less interesting weeks - in the sense of the Chinese saying." The X Factor maintains that there's "no conflict with the band or the show".

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