Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Monday 21 May 2012

TPA – Media Nodding Donkeys Speak

[Update at end of post]

Following the release of the report from the 2020 Tax Commission, jointly backed by the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) and the Institute of Directors (IoD), has come the media coverage, which has demonstrated the appetite of parts of the Fourth Estate for slanted journalism, and an ability to swallow what the TPA tells them wholly, uncritically, and unequivocally.

The Tufton Street gospel is relayed by the usual evangelists

Among the fawning, though, one good sign has been that the BBC is no longer referring to the TPA as a “campaigning” or “grassroots” group, and that is only fair, given that it is neither of these. Instead, the Beeb rightly labels the TPA and IoD as “lobbying groups”. Its report also presents the counter argument to the TPA propaganda, and notes that its report is unlikely to be taken up by any Government.

No such balance is allowed to enter at the Maily Telegraph, though, where readers are told “Osborne urged to introduce 30% income tax for all”. The Commission is described as being “comprised of 30 political and economics specialists”. That 18 months was taken in preparation of the report means that it has to be taken Very Seriously Indeed. Its advocates are quoted approvingly.

So Allister Heath is described as “chairman of the Commission, and editor of the City A.M. newspaper”, rather than being called out as a TPA stooge. Readers are told that implementation of the report “could lead to an 8.4% increase in the UK's gross domestic product after 15 years”. What is not told is that this is like all those “Up to” claims, when the phrase includes the figure zero. Or worse.

Graeme Leach of the IoD is quoted as saying “this proposal would put a rocket under economic confidence”, so something very dangerous and potentially deadly, then. And yet more uncritical rubbish has come from the Mail: “Cut tax to flat 30% rate, axe stamp duty and ditch national insurance: An expert's plan to boost the economy” trumpets the headline proudly.

Yes, these people are “experts”, rather than a dubious convocation of like minded ideologues who have been selected because their views are known and they will unquestioningly sign up to the finished report. The Mail trots out the hypothecated growth figures and tax cuts, and like the Telegraph does not trouble itself with how £120 billion is cut from public spending to pay for them.

But the biscuit is well and truly taken by the Kool-Aid drinkers at the Commentator, an online repository of right leaning wingnuttery. Here, Andrew Collinson (who he?) talks of a “shot in the arm”, of “refreshing”, and brings this gem: “The local services and taxes deemed necessary in West London are not necessarily the same as in WestBromwich”. Yah, these provincials don’t need bins emptying, do they?

So many hacks and pundits, and so many unable to engage brain before filing.

[UPDATE 22 May 1145 hours: while the Tel has not added to its report yesterday, the Daily Mail's legendarily foul mouthed editor - who would benefit enormously from a 30% flat tax, as he trousers well north of a million notes a year - clearly approves of the 2020 Tax Commission sufficiently to encourage his pundits to sing its praises.

So today has brought the usual suspects: lame former Tory spinner Nick Wood tells of "economists and policy experts", and that "At last, someone is talking sense over tax and spending". He commends the report, which he says "We ignore ... at our peril". This urging will cause most people to ignore the report, and suffer no perilous consequences.

Wood is accompanied over the top by Mark Littlewood, who by sheer coincidence is Director General of the IEA, yet another right leaning Astroturf lobby group that masquerades as a "Think Tank". "The coalition must embrace this plan for tax and growth" he tells. The report brings "hope, vision and optimism", and of course it is "fair". We supposedly need the "political courage" to embrace it.

Political suicide, more like. Two more nodding donkeys to avoid]


keith said...

'What is not told is that this is like all those “Up to” claims, when the phrase includes the figure zero. Or worse.'

Reminds me of the quote from Python's welsh martial art llap-Goch


the rest of the tax claims appear to be about as creditable aswell


Anonymous said...

Typical lefty, refusing to publish comments of dissent. You and Mao would have got along swimmingly well.

Tim Fenton said...

Perhaps the Hon. Commentnaut would care to explain what he is rabbiting on about?

D Griffin said...

Erm, I'm pretty sure that ignoring the voice of the people is a "typical righty" trait. I also note, with appropriate disdain, your veil of anonymity.

You're a coward.
Signed, D Griffin.