Seddon writes: ‘There is something unsatisfactory about taxpayers’ money being used to fund charities that are campaigning for things that we may disagree with: the blurring is the issue. If it’s a state department, then it should be acknowledged as such, and funded by the taxpayer in the normal way. But if it’s really a quango masquerading as a charity, then it’s disingenuous to present it as part of civil society.’
Among the criticisms Seddon levelled at the Blair-era system of financial patronage were that politically incorrect causes were being left out of the loop; that charities were vulnerable to changes of government; that the third sector was becoming homogenous in outlook, and that frontline services were being sacrificed to make way for lobbying and advocacy. He noted the tendency of the Labour government to commission like-minded charities ‘to write “independent” reports that validate other “independent” reports commissioned by the government, so that a body of material can be built up to support the government’s projected policy direction’.