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Friday 4 May 2012

TPA – No Research, No Credibility

Someone in the Palace of Westminster might be getting an iPad! There is no time to lose for the dubiously talented array of non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) – whatever the circumstances, this has to mean Waste, as it involves Government and Money. So the less smug and now harder looking Chris Daniel has been dispatched to pass adverse comment.

More bore from the second floor

And it’s not the best of tracks for the TPA to be batting on: their attempt to demonise one local authority for using iPads to assist the waste collection process was soon in trouble when it was revealed that private waste contractors Biffa were already using a rugged version of the BlackBerry for similar purposes. The TPA had, as so often, not done its sums before putting the boot in.

That time it was “campaign manager” Robert Oxley who dispensed the abuse, calling the iPad an “expensive gimmick” and decreeing that Bury Council, the authority concerned, was “wasting ... money on fanciful ideas”. To no surprise at all, no cost benefit analysis was performed to stand up the claim. And none has been done on the potential deployment to parliamentarians.

Instead, Daniel tells that “it is only a matter of time before we hear the first stories of iPads being left on trains”. So just like all those cabinet papers and other embarrassing items from the past, then – expect of course that the iPads can be password locked. This is not considered by the TPA, who would rather talk of “gizmos”, “luxury”, or “flashy” (three of those).

On top of that, Daniel asserts that iPad deployment to MPs “does not send out the right message” (why? And what is the right message?), then “nor is it the most sensible option available”. So where is the TPA analysis that shows this “most sensible option”? There isn’t one. Nor is there any explanation of “a more common sense approach” which Daniel also advocates.

But there is a suggestion that the rolling out of iPads could even extend to the Lords, which enables Daniel to conjure up bigger and scarier numbers, which might look good for the TPA until you consider that the second chamber may be up for reform very soon, and it is therefore too soon to even guess as to numbers until legislation has been put forward and been passed into law.

And, cutting to the fact of the matter, Daniel and his pals at the TPA have not done their homework, and are in no position to call out the Parliamentary authorities, who have. The latter have done the sums, including all that waste paper that would be saved, and benefits that the improvement in communication would bring. Also, the cost of the iPads would be brought down by buying in bulk.

The TPA is just carping without engaging. No change there, then.

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