Tuesday 15 May 2012

A Rummage In The Postbag

Now we know that the tobacco control industry gets a bit upset about being questioned, it's added some 'glitzy' attraction to the approach, don't you think?

ASH reasons that tobacco companies are only upset about plain packaging because they know it will work (pfft). So by the same token, if tobacco controllers are squealing at having to justify themselves, they must be worried about being exposed. QED.

As such, the most effective way of irritating them as they bully you is to send letters and queries to find out what they are hiding away so assiduously. Since mentioning that readers here had been doing exactly that and sharing their e-mails with me, unsolicited, I'm happy to report that others have also stepped forward to raise other grievances.

Without wishing to sound like a modern day Barry Took, here's an interesting such missive from Mr R of somewhere or other (I don't pry).
Dear Cancer Research UK
A bit of licence there, I presume that would have been the introductory address.
I have given money to Cancer research uk in the past, thinking that it would be spent on cancer research and treatment. However I have since found out that a portion of the money is spent on stop smoking campaigns. I want 100% of my money to be spent on cancer research, not prevention of people smoking. Please stop your anti-smoking campaigns or I will stop giving money to you.
They did, at least, reply (not that it would harm their £482m annual income if they didn't) but contrite it ain't.
Thank you for your e-mail.

Cancer Research UK is dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. The link between smoking and cancer is irrefutable, which is one reason why we are currently campaigning for the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.
Err, smoking causes cancer ... so we're hoping to ban colour schemes? That's one hell of a leap. There's still no whiff of evidence any kid has started because of the pack, let alone suffered years down the line as a result. In fact, CRUK's own report said they don't even notice them. But hey, salary-chasing anti-smokers have never been known for their integrity.
We fully appreciate that some of our supporters would like their donations to solely go toward our research. We therefore have the ability to ring-fence cheque donations received, so that this may be achieved. All that we ask is for the supporter to make it clear to us in a covering note that this is their stipulation and it will be processed accordingly.
Weasel words, if ever they have been seen.

All that people who donate to CRUK ask is that their money is used for what it says on their highly-advertised tin.

Nothing there about "together we'll beat anyone who enjoys tobacco", or "together we'll stop you drinking alcohol". Oh, you didn't know that as well as a Tobacco Advisory Group, CRUK also have an alcohol equivalent? Well, they do. They're not too keen on the food you choose to eat, either, and throw cash at demonising fast food produced by popular companies.

Somehow, "together, we'll stop people enjoying themselves, by lobbying government, because we haven't the first clue how to cure cancer after over 100 years pretending" isn't as snappy, and certainly won't help those 164 employees of theirs to continue earning over £60k per annum, eh?

So perhaps, if they were being transparent and scrupulous they might - instead of only revealing the 'ring-fencing' option when challenged by e-mail - let every potential donor know this before they put their hand in their pocket, or run round a field wearing pink, to help pay for the CRUK CEO's £210k+ salary plus pension. See, that might actually mean something rather than soft soap from an administrator who knows full well that whatever the odd disgruntled correspondent says won't make a blind bit of difference to how their ocean of cash is distributed.

But more than that, they are weasel words since the employee who replied is one of a minority within the organisation who are aware that their company is involved in political lobbying. I've had cold callers begging for money who have laughed at me for suggesting that their charity is involved in politics. If their own fundraisers aren't aware of it, how do they expect anyone else to know, or - more to the point - be able to find some obscure part of their website (if it exists) which details any 'ring-fencing'?

No. Best course of action is to give your charitable donations to local efforts which deserve them and, sadly, are often starved of cash because of the well-funded predatory nature of CRUK Mega Inc.. Or there's always less bigoted deserving causes who don't turn down donations due to being wedded to the goals of the pharmaceutical industry like, err, Cancer Research UK.

Anyway, I digress. Keep pumping out those badgering e-mails and letters, won't you? And do share the results, the more they squirm the more cathartic the experience, I find.


chrissnowdon said...

£120,000 a year for CRUK's CEO. I must protest. It's actually between £220,000 and £230,000.

That salary has actually come down since 2010 when it was £260-270,000 a year. Must be that austerity.


Dick_Puddlecote said...

Mea culpa, was going from memory so have edited. Silly as one of the above links features a screenshot of the table, d'oh! Latest accounts £210-£220k. 


The £260k from the year before was new to me, though!

Smoking Scot said...

Very slightly O/T.

I do admire anyone who can evade tax. Particularly when the outfit comes across as squeaky clean and has whacking great contracts with the NHS.

£34 million quid ain't bad; ain't bad at all. GSK.


Doubtless they're quite happy to reduce their tax bill a little more by benevolently donating dosh to CRUK and thus ASH.

Dim Δημητρης Karagiannis said...

from their accounts again, 698k for the restricted fund project ''Professor Robert West' smoking cessation programme...

Mr A said...

Thanks for posting this.  I have a work colleague doing the Race for Life thing and of course the beneficiary is CRUK.  In the past I've just bit my tongue and donated, for the sake of inter-office cordiality.  This year however, I just couldn't bring myself to do it, and frankly it was getting embarrassing.  This has literally come in the nick of time as I was getting very close to saying that I wouldn't support CRUK, which would be embarrassing as my colleague supports them because a friend died of cancer and, obviously, she thinks her efforts go towards finding a cure.  By pointing out the ring fencing option I can still support her and not put money towards social engineering.  She won't mind - as I say, she thinks her efforts are going towards a cure for cancer, bot badgering smokers.

Mr A said...

698k!  On one programme!  My God, these parasites really do run into the billions, don't they?  Even when you don't consider the actual damage they cause....

Bk881 said...

CRUK. Pronounced crook. Nuff said.

ivandenisovich said...

CRUK appears to be increasingly losing the
plot. The 200K plus is wasted on an utterly useless CEO who has allowed the
lunatics to take over the asylum.  It’s
so called “science update” blog has sunk to a level at which Simon Chapman is somehow
treated as a science news. Chapman would not know science if it leapt up and
smacked him in his state funded testicles.  

I do not suffer from the same compassion as
Mr A. If someone approaches me asking for money to support CRUK, I politely
refuse and tell them exactly why.  I am
saddened by the fall from grace of this organisation and I really feel for the
scientists it employs who genuinely try to improve people’s lives. Their work
is playing second fiddle to the twisted political campaigners who now dominate
the agenda. The evidence lies in the “science update” blog. Go ahead and read.  Every other story is about the ridiculous
plain packs campaign which tells anyone objective everything that they need to
know about CRUK and its leadership.  http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/

It’s just sad really.

Michael McFadden said...

This game always annoys me:

"We therefore have the ability to ring-fence cheque donations received, so that this may be achieved."

They simply turn around and shift a higher percentage of their general funds into the projects that the "ring-fenced" funds can't support while reducing the contributions of the general funds into the areas that people have indicated by "ring fenced" that they DO want to support.  As long as the money is contributed it makes not a solitary bit of difference in the way the overall budget is spent.

It's as though you were given a $25 pay raise and it came with the stipulation: "This $25 may ONLY be spent on the food and education of your children."   Would anyone in their right mind think that that would translate into $25 MORE then being spent on the children each pay period?


SadButMadLad said...

Such comments are even appearing on CRUK's own site, well the scienceblog bit.



I contributed to cancer Research UK for many years – but have stopped
since I find you increasingly spending more time talking about politics
than about research. Surely if/when we have a cure for lung cancer the
impact of smoking will be immensely diminished?
Concerning the above article, it does strike me that the argument
about counterfeiting does hold water – i have heard it said by many
authorititive figures now that plain packaging will lead to more
counterfeiting – including from people who used to work in the
anti-counterfeiting business and several anti-counterfeiting groups.
I also do not see why the Daily Mail shouldn’t focus one article on
the possible effects of plain packaging on business. There have,
afterall, been a good many articles on the health implications of
tobacco. Isn’t it right for society to consider all angles on any
particular issue? There are many things which on balance one might seek
to ban or otherwise limit on purely health grounds – but choose not to.
If the concern is one of reducing the number of children taking up
smoking – well we will never get this number to zero and there must be
measures one can consider that address their access to cigarettes and
allow those adults that choose to smoke to do so without the

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I've seen a few other threads on that blog criticising them for getting involved in politics, too. :)

JonathanBagley said...

I stopped my donation to CRUK and explained why. It doesn't stop them pestering me, even to the extent of writing, "I know you have a very personal interest in......" Makes me a little paranoid about the security of my family's medical records.  

Reinhard Dekter said...

Michael McFadden beat me to it: ring fencing is just code for rearranging the budget so that technically money meant for particular projects end up funding them but the overall structure of the budget is identical. One pound is very much the same as another, after all.


Steve said...

I give only to the RNLI, they've got a very busy boat close to where I live. When I see the weather conditions in which these brave VOLUNTEERS go out to sea I fear for their safety and those for whom they brave such conditions.
As for such "charities" as CRUK, the RSPCA and the WWF ... they can all get stuffed! If they were all in flames I would find that I had a micturation problem.

Tom said...

They started a new thing in California, USA, in the grocery stores, for so-called "charities", many of whom are front groups for big-pharma and the anti-smoking industry, and they had been doing this previously, begging for donations by EFT everytime you went through the checkout line at the grocery stores - but maybe too many people weren't donating and to make things easier they now beg you to "round up" your change to the nearest one-dollar, then they apply that change to whatever "charity"-du-jour is begging for money - and it's usually cancer related, but it probably is mostly going to pad the anti-smoking industry, which is what most "cancer charities" waste all their time and effort on these days, instead of ever finding cures. Cures would devastate the drug and healthcare industry where-as the gravy train of anti-smoking, anti-drinking, anti-salt, anti-fat, anti-sugar and other things yet to come keep them well funded, well employed and economically well off. Finding a cure, that's not in their best interests to do so is my belief but fighting wars on freedom, that is their meal ticket I suspect.

Mag01 said...

It could be considered an insult to the volunteers working
in charity shops that the CEO of the American Cancer Society, for example, a
supposed “volunteer” in a “charitable, non-profit” organization, is on a $1.2
million package per annum – pp.57-65


The ACS is also making $US9,000,000 p.a. from a national Quitline.