From Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty
David Cameron's new minister for civil society, Brooks Newark, has been branded patronising and dismissive after he told charities to "stick to their knitting" and keep out of politics.
LETTERS IN THE GUARDIAN TODAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2014
My charity knitting began in the 1990s, helping people who could not afford their poll tax. Around 5,000 people were sent to prison by the magistrates for non-payment. Over 1,000 of those imprisonments were found to be unlawful by the high court. Cases which included a couple in their 80s, who were incontinent in court, another pensioner with her Zimmer frame and a single mother who owed only £20.
Then a vicar in the Chilterns, and chair of a charity, I attacked the Tory government for introducing such flagrantly unjust laws. That rang a bell in the mind of Michael Heseltine, a nearby Conservative MP for Henley on Thames until 2001, who set about abolishing the dreaded tax. Long may charity knitting involve telling the uncomfortable truth to power.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty