Chris Moncrieff on the Oxfam scandal

By Chris Moncrieff | In-depth | Published:

n Oxfam should hang its head in shame and stop trying to pretend there was not a cover-up in 2011 over some of their staff enjoying ‘full-on Caligula-type orgies’ with young prostitutes in Haiti, where they were supposed to be dealing with a devastating earthquake.

Penny for your thoughts Ms Mordaunt

The claim that Oxfam disclosed everything when they sacked or caused to resign some senior staff members for ‘misconduct’ is simply untrue.

‘Misconduct’ can cover a whole host of peccadilloes, and it is simply disgraceful that they should deny there was a cover up when they did not mention whoring in 2011. Now, alarmingly, there are reports that this kind of conduct may be prevalent in other international charities.

What is refreshing is that the new International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has warned that Oxfam could be cut off from Government funding if they can’t make a better explanation of these events. She means business. At present, Oxfam receives £300 million a year from Government funding and other donations.

Some of these sanctimonious organisations have been shown to be guilty of preying on the sort of people who desperately need their help: young girls – possibly under-age girls, according to some claims – at a reported $1 a time. It is almost too shocking to contemplate.

One trouble is that many big charities are now run like businesses, with high-powered, expensively-suited men at the helm. The days of the widow’s mite have long since gone. How can it be morally right for David Miliband to go to the United States to run an international charity, while accepting a six-figure salary? I feel we can trust Penny Mordaunt to clear out the Augean stables and put such charities on the right footing again.

n The Brexit negotiations are now getting nastier - and the situation is not helped by President Trump firing off in all directions like a loose cannon.

Brussels is now threatening to punish the UK with sanctions, if the EU line is not followed to the letter.

The UK had to fight to gain admission to a reluctant Common Market all those years ago. Now, ironically, we are having to struggle to get out.


We should not allow ourselves to be bullied like this, when we are doing something entirely legal and above board. Brussels needs our money and is fearful that once we are gone, other member-states may follow suit, and thus put the entire EU future in doubt. That is their look-out, not ours.

n At pretty well every general election, the principal parties invariably promise, if elected, to start a bonfire of ‘useless’ quangos. To my mind, ‘useless’ and wasteful applies to almost all of them.

However, when the time comes, they seem to be unable to find a box of matches to get the conflagration effectively started, never mind finishing the job.

One of the worst examples is the Advertising Standards Authority, which, in morally lofty tones, tells us what advertisements are good for us and those, which in their strange opinion, are not. How on earth can (presumably) grown-up people sit in a grave chin-stroking conclave deciding what is fit for us to see?


The other day, the ASA actually banned a tennis advertisement on the strength of one (yes, one!) complaint. It simply beggars belief. The ‘errant’ advert showed a female tennis player holding a teacake instead of a ball at the top of her thigh, with her skirt raised at the hip. The caption included the words ‘serve up a treat’.

The idea was to promote teacakes, yet the stuffy, moralising ASA ruled that it objectified women. It makes you weep.

This sanctimonious body should be drummed out of existence. If an advertisement breaks the law, then the perpetrators should be prosecuted. It is as simple as that. I do, therefore hope Theresa May will quickly find a box of matches and transform this pointless and puerile body into a heap of ashes.

n Labour MP, the voluble Stephen Kinnock, son of the no-less-garrulous former Labour leader Lord (Neil) Kinnock, has provided us all with a healthy belly laugh to cheer us all up (and there is really not a lot else to chortle about in the world of politics at the moment).

As part of a political campaign to change the voting system, he announced he was embarking on a protest hunger strike.

Funny? I should say so. He planned to go without sustenance for a full 24 hours! That won’t turn him into a martyr. It sounds to me not much more serious than skipping lunch.

Chris Moncrieff

By Chris Moncrieff

Journalist and former political editor of the Press Association


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