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It was also on her watch that the charity became much more involved in political campaigns, notably against Israel. Barbara Stocking herself was a fierce critic of the Jewish state, especially during the various Gaza crises. But her partisan support for the Palestinians not only aligned Oxfam in practice, though never officially, with the anti-Zionist Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, but distracted her attention from the appalling behaviour of her own staff. The insufferable smugness of Oxfam’s worldview owes much to Dame Barbara. Her preachiness, which once seemed merely holier than thou, now looks like rank hypocrisy.

Under Blair, Brown, Cameron and May, the Barbara Stockings of the voluntary sector could do no wrong. Priti Patel, the only minister who tried to change the culture at   DFID, was sacked for her pains. Now that the Oxfam scandal has opened the “culture of denial” in the aid sector, Patel says she warned at the time against “predatory paedophiles”. She claims “I knew this was going on” but her own civil servants resisted her whistleblowing. If even cabinet ministers could not force charities to clamp down on abuse, it is no surprise that their leaders have never been held to account.

The question now is: will Dame Barbara step down as president of Murray Edwards College — or will she have to be pushed? Her presence has become an embarrassment to her college and university. Her DBE is probably safe, but at the time of writing she has yet to face a full reckoning — or even to issue a detailed apology for her failure of leadership. As an expert in milking the public conscience, she might like to start by examining her own private conscience. The ethics of admitting trans students to an all-female college are, it seems, simple compared to taking responsibility for Oxfam’s disgrace.
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caroline jill turner
July 31st, 2018
9:07 PM
"Complacent almost complicit" in institutional paedophilia, despicable, insufferably smug. Why is my College thinking of letting this woman come back as President and role model?

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