After the IEA’s director Mark Littlewood was caught in a Greenpeace sting, and the organisation’s charitable status once again came under fire, the reaction was to do what came naturally - spin the whole exercise as the IEA being the poor victim. And playing the victimhood card for all she is worth is their talking head Kate Andrews.
Ms Andrews, as befits the representative of an outfit that has just been caught bang to rights, protests a little too much, throwing out false equivalences, spurious claims, and downright lies in her efforts to claim the moral high ground. But she convinces no-one, other than those already convinced. Still, let’s have a look at her pitch.
“My colleagues and I have been facing an increasing number of accusations (mostly from social media), that we’re paid to say what we say. That our commitments to free-markets and liberty are simply bought-and-sold sound bites. This could not be further from the truth”. One, “It’s only social media, so it’s wrong”. Wrong indeed. Two, “commitments to free markets and liberty” are not the subject being broached. Still, details, eh?
But do go on. “The IEA’s turnover is roughly £2m per year. There are 32 people on our staff page. Divide that up, and that’s £62.5k each per year, to allegedly shill out for ‘big X’, to say things we don’t believe”. Nobody us claiming she is shilling for “Big” anything.
“We’d have to be out of our minds to sell our principles for £62.5k a year. We could make more if we successfully ran for Parliament promoting these socialist ideas we're supposedly repressing, than we could at our think tank!” For an amount twice the national average? Plenty of people would sell their souls for far less. And you don’t just run for Parliament. Ask one of those MPs you provide top lines and soundbites for.
Have another go. “Greenpeace has been discredited by over 100 Nobel Laureates for their fight against GMOs - especially Golden Rice - which has proven ability to save lives. I’m with the Laureates in thinking their policies are deeply misguided”. This is plain flat wrong. The Nobel laureates did not discredit anyone (see link HERE). And, as the Guardian has told, “Greenpeace … says so-called ‘golden rice’ is still not commercially available after more than 20 years of research”. Not going so well, is it?
Still, how about a little projection? “I suspect most Greenpeace donors expect their donation to go to creating a cleaner, greener planet - not on jet fuel to follow around think tankers. And yet, that’s where the money goes, apparently”. No evidence. No surprise.
Or even more projection, with a little deflection and victimhood playing thrown in? “It’s amazing to me that Greenpeace, w/ a turnover of £6m and the Guardian, w/ a turnover of £200m, are so obsessed with a think tank of a turnover of £2m. It’s flattering - in a strange, obsessive kinda way - but it reveals something important about the current state of debate”. They’re obsessed! We’re being stalked! Come off it.
I suspect the Richardsons and the Krays had a relatively modest turnover. Oh, but what’s this? Moral high ground again? “We have an extremely talented team. But it helps that liberty sells itself. It’s innate in all of us, to want more freedom rather than less. In practice, higher taxes, the nanny state, and patronizing bureaucrats aren’t all that popular. Our arguments resonate”. Yeah, right. Liberty and freedom, eh?
Having to shell out thousands a year for healthcare must be so liberating. Having tens of thousands of your fellow citizens bankrupted every year by medical bills must really make them free. Having to live on perhaps less than the minimum wage with no prospect of advancement - real freedom stuff, especially the part where you don’t get to have holidays and see the world. Yes, that’s so liberating. But there is yet more.
“Are we winning? Absolutely not. Britain’s tax burden is at an all-time high. This government actually thinks the pay gap reporting measures are a good idea. HS2 keeps living to see another day. We have a LOT more work to do!” Well, if your transport “expert” wasn’t a clown who thinks he can discredit HS2 by adding the costs of projects like Crossrail 2 to it, and who believes that all the extra freight capacity can be provided by upping the lorry weight limit and dumping it all on the motorway network, your HS2 coverage might be credible. Which it isn’t.
Remember that sneering remark about “jet fuel”? Here we go again: “I’m fresh off a plane, at our IEA staff away day, where we’re going to spend our time discussing what more we can do to make the world a freer place. You can be sure we’ll come up with a bunch of ideas. I’d suggest the Guardian & Greenpeace spend time doing the same”. Why should Greenpeace and the Guardian be talking about how the poor can be screwed over and the top 1% pandered to in order to pay their salaries, as with the IEA?
Because, let us not forget, pandering to the top 1% is where groups like the IEA are at. Ms Andrews confirms this by responding to the question “Do you believe in our NHS?” with “I don't worship false gods”. Abolition of the NHS is where the IEA is at.
Along with those bulging pay packets that those like Ms Andrews pretends are somehow trivial. But they’re victims. Falsehood and misinformation never paid so well.