[Update at end of post]
The propensity of the mean-spirited to pick on the vulnerable in society, epitomised by Richard Littlejohn’s dishonest attack on the Motability scheme (which I considered earlier) has now been matched by an equally vicious tirade from smug and self-satisfied looking non-job holder Tom Welsh, one of the dubiously talented array on hand at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA).
Welsh’s piece takes the Mail rant – under the joint by-lines of Simon Walters and Glen Owen, two hacks who should hang their heads in shame – as data, and so cars obtained under the Motability scheme are deemed to be “free”, which they are not. He also talks of “3,000 cars given to ADHD families”, but had he been bothered to research his work, would know that the number eligible is nearer 100.
Knocking copy from the comfortable of Tufton Street
So why churn over an article that is dishonest and misleading? Ah well. This is because it satisfies the TPA’s primary objective: to demonise Government – any Government – along with public service and public works. So when Welsh tells that “Taxpayers will be outraged that a condition like ADHD, behavioural rather than physical, is being used to justify mobility grants”, he’s attacking the Government.
He’s also demonising any disability that is classed as “behavioural”, but this is par for the TPA course, and another excuse to attack the Government. So Welsh manages to creatively interpret the figures for abuse allegations made against Motability users, saying that only pursuing 2,100 out of 7,100 complaints means the figures are “worryingly small”, rather than that 5,000 were not worth pursuing.
And his estimation that 200,000 Motability vehicles are used by someone other than the benefit claimant manages to ignore the possibility that the claimant is not able to drive their car – Welsh is assuming fraud and waste where he cannot prove it. His assertion of “how easy it is to get a car” is similarly without cite and the product of malicious invention.
Moreover, the dishonesty extends to claiming that “There’s also no means-testing”, which is irrelevant to Motability. Those using the scheme have already had to prove their entitlement to the higher rate of mobility benefit. But this does give Welsh an opportunity to exercise more than a little brassneck as he tells that those who pay £2,500 a year more upfront for upmarket cars are from “wealthy families”.
Let’s cut to the real reason for this piece: the TPA doesn’t give a damn about ordinary taxpayers – as many of the disabled that Tom Welsh trashes in his rant are – but is using a slanted and crude attack by the Dacre hackery to pick on the vulnerable as a way of attacking Government for ideological ends. It’s shabby, vicious and unnecessary – and it’s not good enough.
[UPDATE October 12, 1840 hours: despite a barrage of adverse comment on their own site, and several suggestions that they apologise and withdraw the attack, the TPA post is still up. Some minor amendments have been made and an update posted, and with yet more brass neck it has been announced that "This strengthens the argument in the original post". Several who endure a range of disabilities have complained to no effect. The TPA has, though, managed to dedicate space to a Tory back-bencher who name-checked them at PMQs today. The level of eager excitement at 55 Tufton Street has been palpable. Thus another event underscoring where the TPA's priorities and sympathies lie. Being the TPA means never having to say you're sorry]