2009/4/25 Thomas Dalton <thomas.dal...@gmail.com>:

> But that isn't what they're interpreting. They quoted a specific case
> which they are clearly misapplying. That there are other arguments
> they could use that would be more justifiable isn't really the point.

I don't think there's "clear misapplication" here, but I think we're
fated to disagree!

To be honest, that's by the by - they've made their ruling, and we can
abide by it or we can argue with it. The important thing is deciding
where to go from here, and I think it's not nearly as clear a decision
as it may seem.

Fighting this is a legitimate desire, and I confess my first reaction
as well, but it'll take a lot of time, a lot of effort, and the need
to spend scarce money on legal fees. I have no doubt the board (or
whoever the board is tomorrow) will happily throw themselves at it,
but I'm not sure it's a worthwhile investment of their time and energy
at this stage.

Charitable status is a good thing to have, but choosing to fight at
great effort to get it, on an uncertain playing field, is going to
have the real risk that we drift into focusing on that and not towards
a dozen *productive* things we could be doing in the intervening
years. Do we really want to make ourselves eternal hostages waiting on
the Charity Commission's next ruling?

If we *can* function as a not-legally-charitable-body, doing exactly
the same things, then... well, I can't help but feel there's a lot to
be said for doing just that. We can address this problem some time in
the future, when we can point to things we have done, and have some
basis for making it absolutely clear in *practice*, rather than just
on paper, why our aims and activities are charitable.

- Andrew Gray

(who cannot, sadly, be in Manchester this afternoon...)

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