Proving that true conservatism is not dead, just kept off the airwaves and out of the Commons, Councillor Daniel Moylan, the Deputy Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, calls on the Conservatives to have nothing to do with the TaxPayers' Alliance.
Meanwhile, by the wonders of Facebook, I have received this:
"The TaxPayers' Alliance claims to be a "grassroots campaign" representing the views of "ordinary taxpayers". It receives tremendous amounts of media coverage. The problem is that it isn't an alliance of ordinary taxpayers at all. It is an alliance of right-wing ideologues. Far from being a voice for "ordinary" taxpayers, its policies will increase inequality and shift wealth from poor to rich.
But, in the spirit of the free market, there is now a choice of TaxPayers' Alliance. Register your contempt for high-tax hell-holes like Denmark and Sweden by joining the other Alliance. Or register your support here for better public services and fairer taxes - which means increasing income tax rates for the very rich, closing loopholes and clamping down on tax havens. Check out our website to find out more."
Well, I am not so sure about "increasing income tax rates for the very rich", although it would not be hard to increase on the zero currently paid by them, i.e., by the members of the "TaxPayers'" Alliance. If necessary, of course. But "closing loopholes and clamping down on tax havens" would be far more effective ways of doing the same job.
By the same medium, I am informed that:
"It seems we underestimated the TaxPayers’ Alliance. We said - based on its own estimates - that it gets an average of 13 media appearances a day. But responding to Polly Toynbee’s excellent critique in the Guardian last week, the TPA boasted: “In January we broke our record for media coverage yet again, with over 530 appearances in the media arguing for lower taxes.”
This is one TPA statistic we have little reason to doubt. But quantity and quality are two very different things. Journalists turn to the TPA rent-a-quotes because they can be assured of the same response: “This is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money and a prime example of government nannying.” There are times when this view may be justified, and others when it isn’t. But for the TPA that’s beside the point - they just fire off their single transferable comment.
Here’s another TPA quote: “It’s a fringe interest programme and we’d like to know how much it’s going to cost.” That’s campaign manager Susie Squire criticising plans to improve antenatal programmes for fathers and to allow dads to stay overnight in maternity wards (Telegraph, 14 Feb). A fringe interest programme? Did Susie actually hear the question before she started answering?
Ensuring taxpayers’ money is well spent is an important issue - but the TPA has no credibility. As blogger Tom P wrote last year: “All their reports start with the answer and work backwards. They ‘know’ that the state is wasteful and inefficient so their reports are an exercise in confirmation bias.” Both Polly and Tom’s articles are essential reading."