Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Monday 12 October 2009

A Stroll Across The Astroturf - 4

We are at long last seeing some light shed on the finances of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance: they now admit to an annual income, apparently from donations, of more than a million pounds, and that their office space has been effectively donated, at an annual cost of over 100k.

And, in a piece in the Guardian, there is some idea of the kinds of people who support this lobby group, their views, and potential influences. The TPA now has a membership up from 20,000 to around 32,000. Wow. So that’s an increase from 0.04% of all tax payers to a whopping 0.064%. Save the drivel about this being a grass roots organisation – it’s another Astroturf group.

But it’s a well funded and, I would argue, malign force where any kind of Government is concerned. Typical of TPA supporters’ views is that voiced by David Wall, secretary of the Midlands Industrial Council (MIC), a group that has donated a million and a half quid to the Tories since 2003. Here’s his take on Government spending:

“ ... vast amounts of public money are being spent and we don’t get value for that money” [nothing is quoted in example to back this up]

Our members’ tax money is being wasted ... “ [nothing to back this up either]

David Alberto, who has donated the TPA’s office suite, is another with forthright views on Government spending:

It is wrong to be spending a greater and greater proportion of GDP on central Government” he says, without letting us know whether he means the Government itself, or public spending as a whole. And he, too, provides no figures or other backup for his assertion.

But the TPA does provide figures and analysis from time to time, as I noted a while back. Trouble is, the sums they did on that occasion didn’t stack up, and nor did their spokesman do better than attempt to bluster his skewerer off the ball.

Some argue that the TPA is a Tory front group, and “Shagger” Prescott (“traditional misbehaviour in a modern setting”) has added his voice to this group today. My take is as before: it’s just a load of very well off people who want to keep hold of their money. Whether it’s the Tories, or some other party, that assists them in this particular endeavour will not concern them overmuch.

I’ll return to the TPA and their hangers-on later.

No comments: