Lies, Damned Lies and Friends of the Earth

You would have thought, wouldn’t you, that the environmental groups would be able to get their act together and all sing from the same hymn sheet. Like this one from Caroline Lucas:

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At least, you would think, that would be possible on a fairly straightforward issue like the UK’s relationship with the EU. But it seems that the environmental movement is something of a broad church. Like a lot of political movements, they are prone to the People’s Front for Judea and Judean People’s Front Syndrome. Plus a few splitters:

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Many thanks to Ann Sheridan who retweeted this claim – but which had me spluttering coffee over the keyboard. My general response to this abject nonsense is here. But it raises a few questions. After all, the Greens are represented in the EU parliament with three MEPs from the UK. So if the Greens are critical of the EU, but Friends of the Earth are saying that it’s the bee’s knees, there must be something wrong somewhere.

A swift search of FoE’s website reveals this page. Of the €3.3 million FoE EU receives, €1.7 million comes directly from the EU. A further €268,978 comes from other governments and international institutions:

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Adding all EU and governmental grants together gives this picture:

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So we can now see that the taxpayer directly contributes 58% or €1,960,876 to the coffers of FoE EU. We can also see that 30%, or €1,005,496, of their funding comes from “Private funding”. Looking carefully at this section, we find that donations are made from organisations like the European Climate Foundation, the European Coalition for Corporate Justice and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. So an NGO like FoE gets 30% of its funding from other NGOs. My suspicion (which I have not yet checked) is that some of these organisations will also be indirectly in receipt of funding from the EU. Certainly, this is a prime example of how taxpayers’ money goes round and round and round in circles until it is all gobbled up by EU bureaucrats and NGOs sitting in air-conditioned offices in the safe part of Brussels.

Looking down their list of funders, I found one organisation called Alter EU. In checking their website it appears that they are an organisation set up to monitor the many lobbyists operating in the EU and to achieve greater transparency, to stop the revolving door between ex-politicians and lobbyists and so on.

In conclusion, we have a lobbying organisation, FoE EU, whose funding is 58% from the EU, lobbying for the UK to stay in the EU because there will be more turds on the beach if we leave. FoE EU have omitted to mention the source of much of their funding. That lobbying organisation is in turn getting money from another organisation which opposes excessive lobbying and demands transparency.

At this point, I am just going to sit back and revel in the irony.

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