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Monday 31 October 2011

Heath Was Monty’s Double

Those who do not work in and around the City of London and Canary Wharf (“and other areas of high business concentration”) don’t know what they are missing: every weekday morning, these lucky people (the target demographic earn “over £87,000 per annum”) get copies of free paper City AM thrust their way, whether they like it or not. The paper is edited by one Allister Heath.

Who he? Well, to no surprise at all – given the message that is shouted from every edition of City AM (Government too big, cuts not enough, EU source of all evil not attributable to any other kind of Government) – Heath is also chairman of the "2020 Tax Commission", another front of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA). I’ll put it more directly: Heath is a TPA stooge, and his paper is effectively a TPA mouthpiece.

So the TPA not only gets its propaganda into the national press, onto television, and into the PR world through its former staffers such as Mark Wallace and Charlotte Linacre, but also has a conduit into Government via Susie Squire, now a SpAd to Iain Duncan Smith at the DWP, and a voice in the City via Allister Heath. This last underscores once more why the TPA should be taken seriously.

Especially as the standard of TPA propaganda is equally dismal across the whole range of its outlets: those familiar with the regular outpouring of “dodgy dossiers” from the Comfortable of Tufton Street will be glad to know that City AM’s equivalent is just as easily taken apart. The difficult part is that many of those well-paid readers who should know better believe what they read.

And one who ought to know better – but never seems to get round to it – is ConservativeHome stalwart Tim Montgomerie, who today has penned a gushing tribute to Heath, with the priceless homage “How Allister writes this quality [sic] on a daily basis and edits the newspaper, I will never know”. Maybe it’s because he gets paid to do it and has a staff of over twenty.

So what pearls of wisdom does editor Heath bestow on his readers? On the USA: “the US electorate increasingly wants ultra-low taxes combined with European-style levels of public spending”. Wrong twice, unless you believe the whopper that health care reform was a “Government takeover”, and the Tea Partiers. But City AM does have a supposed exclusive on the EU and bank reform today.

Except that the “internal Treasury Document obtained by City AM” is only selectively relayed. If there was any kind of a story, it would be published. In full. Heath is no better – or independent of the TPA – on HS2: “The ... costs of the proposal ... are much greater than the benefits” he pontificates. Not with a projected BCR of 2.6 they’re not, Allister.

Same misinformation, whether from organ grinder, or monkey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They even have a conduit into the Occupy movement, it seems; yesterday the Guardian's website carried a piece (rightfully) attacking Met plans for telephone surveillance. Sadly, the person quoted in condemnation of such plans was one Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch, another seeming front organisation for the Taxpayers' Alliance, whose prominent members include TPA founder Matthew Elliott and ex-Cameron aide Alex Deane, now of PR giants Weber Shandwick. I have contacted one of the authors of this article and he has been kind enough to reply back, stating (in his words) that "BBW, no matter what your opinion on the group, is perhaps the most prominent campaign initiative around surveillance-related issues in the UK". Probably true, but still smells of a false-flag op to me; I find it most unlikely that Pickles and his BBW cohorts would do anything other than take the side of the City and the establishment over the protestors.