[Update at end of post]
A new week dawns, and with it begins another spin cycle from the assorted non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA). First with what he believes to be the news – except of course Zelo Street got there first (HERE and HERE) – is Research Director John O’Connell, and despite all those protestations from former TPA person Susie Squire that the TPA aren’t Tories, it’s in ConservativeHome.
And O’Connell starts his post with what is rare for the TPA: a little honesty. He agrees with my analysis, that most of the locals in Ashton-under-Lyne were not interested in what O’Connell and his motley band of far-from-grassroots “campaigners” was selling. Moreover, he concedes that there was even some hostility.
Just imagine how much hostility there might have been had the TPA owned up to the citizens of Ashton that they were in favour of abolishing the minimum wage and lowering the poverty line, as well as ending support for marginal bus routes – and those rail services from the nearby station that were offering standing room only en route to Manchester on Saturday afternoon.
Also, imagine what the response might have been if the TPA had owned up to those locals that they have floated the idea of abolishing National Insurance contributions and rolling the charge up into a single Income Tax, thus penalising pensioners and the self-employed, the latter including those stallholders they were so keen to chat up on Saturday.
Which shows that the honesty displayed by O’Connell in ConHome was not replicated in Ashton’s Market Square, something that should come as no surprise after seeing the TPA misleadingly refer to the venue as “Market Place” last week. And referring to local representative Liam Billington as “brilliant” sits uneasily with having to bring in “support” from elsewhere for the day.
Still, O’Connell is readying himself for another day of “campaigning” on September 17th in Southampton, where I predict that all of those representing the TPA will be from out of town. This is because they don’t have a branch, er, sorry, representative in the city, such is the real depth of their grassroots support.
But O’Connell is clearly confident that he has his finger firmly on the public pulse, telling of “shoppers in Scarborough ... cabbies in Crewe”. So he’s been campaigning in Crewe, then? No, not really. It’s where his train from London on Saturday made its first stop.
[UPDATE: it seems that the TPA does have a representative in Southampton - pensioner John Henvest - so I stand corrected. Why they do not show this on their "branch network" map is not clear. If Mr H is as clued up on the local populace as Liam Billington was in Ashton-under-Lyne, the TPA could be in for yet more apathy and hostility a week on Saturday. Here's hoping]