Wednesday, 7 August 2013

I find the resumée of professional compassion-monger Marie Staunton's career incredibly irritating

This is Marie Staunton. I am sure she is a very good, endlessly compassionate and much-loved human being. I bet she is a very sympathetic sort of person, who'd drop everything in a shot to come to the aid of a friend - or indeed a total stranger - who needed her.

And yet, when I read the short biography of the woman  attached to a Daily Telegraph item (here) about the high salaries paid to some of Britain's charity bosses, I sent the paper sailing across the room.

Here what I'd just read:
Plan UK2010 £90,001 to 100,000 Marie Staunton, chief executive2011 £90,001 to 100,000 Marie Staunton, chief executive2012 £90,001 to 100,000 Marie Staunton, chief executive
Marie Staunton, a trained human rights lawyer, was chief executive of Plan UK for a decade until late 2012. She had previously worked for as a deputy director at Unicef, a director at Amnesty International as as acting general secretary at Liberty.
Ms Staunton writes a blog on the Huffington Post and is also the British independent member on the management board of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, which monitors racism and xenophobia across Europe.
With that impeccable sort of CV, I'm amazed she isn't Baroness Staunton of Bleeding Heart. Maybe she turned down the offer.

Now, I have nothing against Plan UK, whose aim, as stated on its website, seems admirable: Working with the world’s poorest children so they can move themselves from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity. Jolly good show!

Amnesty International has gone decidely dodgy in recent years - for instance, sucking up to terrorist groups in the Middle East while endlessly criticising Israel for trying to defend itself, and attacking the Catholic Church for its opposition to abortion - but I can still just about see the point of organisation.

Liberty is actually the National Council for Civil Liberties. Its director is Shami Chakrabarti. 'Nuff said.

The Huffington Post is an an annoyingly trendy left-wing website founded by Bernard Levin's erstwhile girlfriend, Arianna Huffington, a Greek woman who was BWOC (Big Woman on Campus) when I arrived at university. She went through a decidedly conservative phase - even marrying a Republican senator - before joining the enemy in the 1990s (there's something very, very odd about people who become more left-wing as they grow older). Best avoided.

As for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency - pass the sickbag!

By itself, none of these connections would be all that annoying. Taken together, they make me feel bilious. But I suspect it's the phrase "a trained human rights lawyer" that really makes me want to hurl chunks.

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