Monday, November 19, 2012

Money: Ray replies

Saturday 17 November 2012, 14:48

Dear Justin

I only yesterday noticed your blog on the above. I would normally not disturb you but I would like to point out that the WPPF award ceremony is entirely the brainchild of 80 year old Prince Mohsin Ali Khan , a noted philanthropist. He is making awards to some very good causes and he expects to make a loss on the event which he will cover himself. His foundation is in the process of applying for charitable status and nobody in the departments he had been dealing with at the House of Lords indicated that there was any kind of problem until you unearthed the regulation in question concerning charitable status.

I would be very grateful if you could forebear from pursuing this matter. Cancellation of the event would be a serious blow to the Prince , a very fine and charitably minded individual.

It seems to me that your actions are in some way motivated by your attitude towards me - as far as I can tell we have never crossed swords directly, apart from a simultaneous display many years ago. I am more than happy to bury any hatchets which might be outstanding between us and if you would like to meet and discuss chess the next time you are in the UK I would be pleased to do so.

Might I also request that you publish this response on your blog. That would be much appreciated.

Best wishes


Monday 19 November 2012, 08:45

Dear Ray

Thank you ever so much for your email of Saturday.

I am sorry that your friend Prince Mohsin stands to lose money on today's dinner. However, I cannot be too apologetic as I do not think the event should be taking place, it not, in my view, being the proper role of Parliament to play host to networking events in the disguise of quasi-charitable functions.

Moreover, the House of Lords' own information office tells me that invitees should not be charged to attend functions, which nevertheless appears to be the case here. If no objections were raised prior to my article appearing, then I rather feel they should have been.

I will take the liberty of proposing that if in future your foundation wishes to organise genuinely charitable events (and to do so it really should actually possess charitable status) that it does so at a different venue and that it pays more attention than it has done hitherto to potential breaches of that venue's rules. It may also like to use its own bank account, a rather more transparent procedure than is the "British Diplomatic Forum". Meanwhile I am sure that the Prince's resources are sufficient for him to withstand any losses he may incur. (It is of course in the nature of philanthropy that one ends up with less money than one started with.)

I can assure you that I do not write about you motivated by any personal grudge. But I do write about chess, mostly English chess at that and you have been a prominent figure in English chess for more than forty years. Moreover your way of working does tend to generate controversy, not least because they have caused you to experience frequent problems with ethical and legal issues. As these controversies continue to occur, and old ones remain unresolved, it does mean you tend to appear relatively often in a blog which sometimes concerns itself with controversies in English chess.

I would stress though that I have no personal problem with you at all - and that in our interactions online you have always conducted yourself both as a gentleman and one in possession of a sense of humour. It would good to meet sometime, and while I will not have time on my next trip to the UK (although I do hope to drop in on Mr Pein's chess tournament at Olympia) I look forward to doing so at some time in the not too distant future.

Yours sincerely

Justin Horton

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