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Update: the Taxpayers' Alliance has a major report on this issue, by Matthew
Sinclair, which concluded that
Over £37 million was spent on taxpayer funded
lobbying and political campaigning in 2007-08. That is nearly as
much as the £38.9 million all three major political parties
combined spent through their central campaigns at the 2005
election. But, the true amount spent on taxpayer funded lobbying
and political campaigning may be much higher as this report has
taken a conservative approach, focussing just on the most clear-cut
Is anybody else as shocked by this as I am?
Just last week, the UK Daily
Telegraph reported that Globe International was funded in
substantial part by the
British government. One grant from the Department for
International Development sent £91,240 (AUS$140,000) into its
So in essence, the British Government is
paying a not-for-profit environmental organisation to lobby the
British Government on environmental policy. It's all rather weirdly
We taxpayers are funding pressure groups to lobby our
representatives for more money to be taken from us taxpayers and
spent on their pet projects.
It's even worse in Brussels. According to the BBC:
In 2006 the EU gave more than 7.7m
euros (£5.5m; $11.2m) to at least 40 environmental organisations to
help them lobby in Brussels.
I'd be just as shocked if the money went to scientific, or
free-market activists, whose ideas I support, by the way. You don't
take money off people to spend it on getting people to argue for
more money to be taken off them.
Tony Long, of WWF Europe, defended the
As Mandy Rice-Davies said, he would wouldn't