The so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) is not keen on the EU. This, for the TPA, is another form of Government, and the TPA’s mission is to demonise any form of Government, together with public service and public works. So the TPA churns out a steady diet of anti-EU propaganda, much of which is eagerly lapped up by similarly minded hacks on the dunghill that is Grubstreet.
So it was no surprise yesterday to see the TPA’s head non-job holder Matthew Sinclair producing a suitably on-message piece trying to muddy the waters on the subject of a bail-out for Portugal. From Sinclair’s headline, one might think that whether or not the Government in Lisbon gets its bailout is somehow down to us in the UK, which it is not.
In fact, the only exposure the UK may have is to underwrite a maximum £4.4 billion of loans – note the use of the term “underwrite”. This means that there would only be a payment if any or all of the loan was defaulted upon – and somehow the UK was not at the front of the queue for repayment. That’s a rather large series of ifs.
But what is eye-catching is Sinclair’s description of the UK’s contribution to the EU, when he says that money coming back to the UK “is tied to wasteful projects we wouldn’t choose to spend money on ourselves”.What can he mean? Well, fortunately for Sinclair, this blog covered one of those “wasteful projects” yesterday: the w4mp.org website, “The site for everyone working for an MP”, was established with European Union funding.