Things do not seem to be going too well at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA): first there was a flimsy and fact-free attack on Network Rail for being, well, Network Rail, then the TPA teamed up with peddler of “rumour, plots, conspiracy and tittle-tattle” Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) yesterday. Now they are pressing for some kind of economic reform, based on, well, very little substance.
The article, The Cost Of Britain’s Eroding Economic Freedom, published today and authored by non-job occupant Rory Meakin, tells that “Britain has fallen in an influential index of economic freedom”. Yes, we’re now number 16, down from 11 last year. Wow. So who says so? The Heritage Foundation, that’s who, in association with the Wall Street Journal.
So what is the Heritage Foundation? A look at its mission statement answers that one: “to formulate and promote conservative public policies”, it begins. The organisation’s favourite politicians are Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, so it associates itself with a President who doubled the USA’s deficit, and the Prime Minister who oversaw well over three million unemployed (with an ever rising number dumped on Incapacity Benefit).
And the Wall Street Journal? This formerly sober publication has recently become part of the Murdoch empire, and is increasingly hectoring and partisan in its approach – the partisan part being its leaning to the right. So that’s two less than impartial bodies, with the Heritage Foundation an irrelevance in the UK, except for some on the far right of the Tory Party who cling to their particular dream of ideological purity.
Therefore, when Meakin concludes by including in his prescription “cut wasteful spending”, one can only hope that, where the TPA’s backers are concerned, he will be first to volunteer.
[UPDATE: my thanks to Clifford Singer (@OtherTPA) for the plug. As he says, the TPA's solution to a crisis caused by deregulation is, er, deregulation]