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Friday 18 March 2011

TPA – Sinclair The Shameless

Having studied the modus operandi of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) for a while now, I had thought that the whole range of dubious methods and tactics had passed before my inspection. Until yesterday. The TPA’s annual demonising of local Government managers, the so-called “Town Hall Rich List”, and the feedback therefrom, brought into view the less than totally professional behaviour of their chief non-job holder Matthew Sinclair.

Sinclair first came to my notice back in summer 2009, when the TPA published a “report” called Taxpayer Funded Lobbying. The “research” for this had established that the Government had made payments to bodies that also did lobbying, though it did not prove what the payments were for – the (highly questionable) assumption was made that they were for lobbying.

Mick Fealty at the excellent Slugger O’Toole blog called out the TPA. Sinclair characteristically blamed anyone but himself, and would not answer the point Fealty put to him. Thus the attribute evasive. Sinclair also tried to smear Fealty by questioning his judgment, so that’s smear merchant too (see also below).

Then, last January, Liberal conspiracy used an edited version of a Zelo Street post calling out Sinclair’s gofer Chris Daniel over another use of dodgy figures. Sinclair was clearly distressed, and attempted to call me out for setting up “a complete straw man”. There was no straw man, and Daniel was caught with his hand in the till. Sinclair’s attempt to state otherwise earns him the additional attribute of dishonest.

But it’s Sinclair’s behaviour yesterday that earns him the greatest harvest of new attributes. Staff at the London Borough of Hillingdon were unhappy about the TPA’s presentation of some figures, and there was an exchange of emails. Sinclair then published the exchange without first asking the other party, so that’s unprincipled and untrustworthy as well.

He also attempted to smear the authority by unnecessarily bringing up the subject of Icelandic banks, then finished off by suggesting that readers of the TPA’s site complain about the unfortunate PR person to the council leader. There’s one word for that, and that’s bullying.

So what does that give us? An evasive, dishonest, unprincipled, untrustworthy, bullying smear merchant, that’s what. And anyone coming into contact with Matthew Sinclair should remember to count their fingers if they are somehow compelled to shake hands with him.

This character portrait has been brought to readers of Zelo Street in the interests of full transparency, so I’m sure the TPA will be more than happy about it.

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