One distinction that many around the centre and left leaning part of UK politics have difficulty making is that between the Tory Party and the various lobby groups and think tanks that seek to exert influence upon it. Specifically, our old friends at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) are often referred to as a Tory front organisation – John Prescott is a frequent visitor to this area – although they are not.
But then sometimes the opposition rides to your rescue, and yesterday Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF) head Donal Blaney, whose actions have previously featured on Zelo Street, came galloping. Blaney has authored a piece for ConservativeHome which spells out the relationship between what he correctly identifies as a conservative movement, and the Conservative Party.
Blaney admits to being part of a cabal, along with Matthew “Gromit” Elliott, Stephan Shakespeare and Tim Montgomerie, which has mobilised constituent parts of the UK’s conservative movement under the auspices of the TPA, but equally admits that the interests of movement and Party will not always be coincident.
He is also brutally frank about the real influence of the TPA, telling that “the TPA remains with its face pressed up to the windows of the Treasury, just as the IEA has ... since 1990”. Equally, when he also tells “On occasion the conservative movement will say or do things that the Conservative Party may utterly oppose (or usually, based on my experience, secretly endorse)”, he clearly believes that his team has some influence, although he also claims that the Tory Party is ignoring them.
What is not in dispute is Blaney’s assertion that the conservative movement is stronger now than (say) four years ago, even if his urging a peerage for Elliott is singularly preposterous. His clear illustration of the difference between conservative movement and Conservative Party should be required reading for anyone who still fails to understand the relationship between the TPA and the Tories.Although being of service to the centre and left leaning part of the political spectrum may not have been his motivation in writing the article.