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Sunday 4 September 2011

EXCLUSIVE: TPA – Lost Near Manchester (2)

So how did the less than double figure delegation from the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) fare in the unfamiliar surroundings of Ashton-under-Lyne? As I noted yesterday, few were inclined to stop and talk, and even those that did were not given an open and transparent overview of the TPA agenda.

So nobody was told that the TPA wanted to abolish the minimum wage, or lower the poverty line – both of which would significantly impact on the income of those market traders the group was so enthusiastically chatting up yesterday. And that group gave the impression of not devoting more than around half its time to the process of persuasion, much of this to no avail.

Beats campaigning - Liam tries to look stylish

But Liam Billington did one very important grassroots campaigning thing: an “interview” on film (actually with campaign manager Robert Oxley), which can later be shown as reinforcing the campaigning message, despite the act involving neither campaigning nor grassroots. It did, however, have the benefit of being really stylish.

Meanwhile, Maria Fort cursed her shoes, which were held to be on their way out. The information was relayed to anyone within, oh, 20 metres or so, whether they wanted to hear it or not. This minor sideshow merely confirmed that the TPA is all about the triumph of style over substance, the lack of significant effort confirmed by Robert Oxley, who spent much “campaigning” time sitting on the Town Hall steps.

Beats campaigning - and that's the Campaign Manager

And, most significantly, none of the group gave any sign of knowing that the office of the council they were demonising was open until 1300 hours, and they could have gone in and made their point directly. But, as experience of the TPA has shown, that is not how they do business: actually being knowledgeable about Government is not part of their modus operandi.

Moreover, when those working in the service of Tameside Council appeared at Ashton’s Market Square, the TPA’s finest were elsewhere: there having been a bank holiday at the start of the week, it was no surprise to see the market’s bins being emptied on a Saturday. Andrew Allison could at no time have been snapped in the same shot as those workers – not with the widest of lenses.

The lasting impression of observing the TPA “campaigning” is not only to confirm that the labelling as “grassroots” is a sham, but also that it is about them, and not the general public. And the failure to engage with the organisation they are demonising, despite the opportunity being there, merely confirms this.

Because what yesterday demonstrated was that TPA “campaigns” are nothing of the sort: this was a scruffy and lazy rabble deploying little effort and more than prepared to spin the result in the retelling. Except that this time they were observed – and overheard – offering the public their selective and ultimately false prospectus.


John Ruddy said...

Well, reading the "exploits" of the so-called taxpayers Alliance has certainly brightened my day! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Poor turnout but they've done some good work generally by informing people of public sector waste.

Anonymous said...

Lazy TPA ... it's all Bill "no mates" Billington's fault!

Anonymous said...

Well done the TPA, their 'spread the truth style' information campaign is worthwhile. Especially seeing as so many of the British public are ignorant and/or apathetic.

tonydj said...

You must remember that this is Tameside whose council was exposed in 2008 for meeting local editors and suppressing news stories.




These facts need to be remembered when discussing any political activity in Tameside ie the level of underhanded methods employed by the local Labour Party.

Tim Fenton said...

Holding off publishing a story to avert potential disturbance isn't "suppression". And you provide no proof of these "underhand methods", nor of how this may be connected to the Council (the Labour Party and Tameside MBC are two separate entities).

If there is evidence of wrongdoing, then you have a clear route for reporting it. I suggest you do so if you want to get noticed - running a series of nudge-nudge posts and otherwise carping will not progress your cause.

tonydj said...

Mr Fenton,

I did not want to clog up your blog with links but since you require proof here it is.

The source document, see Page 40:-


The result of my FoI complaint:-


Tim Fenton said...

The second link doesn't work.

And the first proves only what I already said: that holding off publishing does not amount to "suppression". In the case shown, there were good reasons for not publishing, and that should be obvious to all.