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Thursday 29 December 2011

TPA – The Year They Got Rumbled

The output of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), an Astroturf lobby group whose sole objective is the demonisation of Government – any Government – along with public service and public works, has long been a source of interest for Zelo Street. But in 2011, their dubiously talented assortment of non-job holders got well and truly rumbled, as more folks figured out the TPA’s true motivation.

Events kicked off in January with the endorsement of Clifford Singer at the Other Taxpayers’ Alliance. Further recognition arrived courtesy of Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy, where the publication of a fisking of TPA non-job holder Chris Daniel provoked his boss Matthew Sinclair to snap and whine that Daniel had been “castigated”. I was pleased to observe his clear distress.

Knowing that the TPA was watching, their ridiculous analysis on speed cameras – with the implicit suggestion that fatal accidents would somehow be ended if they had not been deployed – was next for a filleting, followed by Sinclair’s figure fiddling take on motoring taxes (eagle eyed observers will note that the latter has since been recycled as “green taxes and used in Sinclair’s supposedly new book).

That the TPA is bankrolled by the overmonied, greedy and cowardly rich was exposed as they urged removal of taxes levied only on their backers. Their failure to engage with the organisations they demonise, while resorting to Freedom of Information (FoI) fishing expeditions, was also exposed, as was their ignorance of how freelance workers are employed and paid.

But it was the exposure of the TPA’s hypocrisy and dishonesty that brought real satisfaction: they were caught sponging off the taxpayer, using a publicly funded site to advertise jobs, and then their campaign against supposed “taxpayer funded trade unionism” was exposed when I observed their “grassroots” making a “campaigning visit to the Manchester satellite town of Ashton-under-Lyne.

A follow-on “campaigning visit” to Southampton was subsequently abandoned. In a side order of embarrassment, their Tameside representative Liam Billington was caught making a malicious and defamatory allegation against his local Labour club, and the TPA’s associated campaign Big Brother Watch took down a photo of their offices which I had taken and they had used without permission.

But the TPA ploughed on, with a vicious attack on the disabled based on a Daily Mail attack piece. And just to show where their real interests lay, I observed their Twitter wish list at the time, to show just how much they cared about others, which appeared to be not at all, although they claim to speak for ordinary taxpayers. The reality is that the TPA has been rumbled.

And they will be reminded of that fact even more in the coming months.

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