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Saturday 21 July 2012

TPA – A Suitable Case For Treatment

On Wednesday last, a buffoon by the name of Liam Billington reminded me of his presence with a clumsy and ungrammatical Twitter intervention. He and his pals at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) might just regret the occasion, given what was gleaned very soon afterwards about the kind of person, and their mentality, that shills for the TPA.

Billington is the TPA’s point man in Manchester: their website states unequivocally “Liam is a TPA activist from Tameside”. He was involved in the TPA’s farcical “day of action” in Ashton-under-Lyne’s Market Square last September, when four supporters had to be sent from London, and the “grassroots support” could be counted on two fingers, which was what many locals would have gladly given the TPA.

Here; Billington can be seen trying to be stylish in a pre-prepared “interview” with “Campaign Manager” Robert Oxley (meaning he puts the softball “questions”) and “Research Director” John O’Connell (meaning he holds the camera). He was later lauded by O’Connell in a ConHome post as “brilliant”. So what kind of constructive dialogue does Liam engage in as a “TPA activist”?

Well, sadly, not very constructive at all: given the opportunity, he is more than willing to make accusations of lawbreaking against his local Council, telling that “TMBC [Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council] have a habit of bending the law to how they please or what they want”. This is merely opinionated and snarky, but worse was to come.

The TPA has been in the vanguard of picking on the disabled, especially over the Motability scheme, but even their staff must wish Billington had refrained from asserting “People driving on pavements with mobility scooters should be banned. Also restrict use to the elderly and disabled, not the fat and lazy”. Subtle, isn’t he?

His views on other subjects also appear to veer between the laddish and downright antediluvian, as witness “George at Asda is a crime to [sic] fashion. You should form a coalition with the gays”. And if you think that’s bad, well, as the man said, there’s more.

In a comment that could land Billington and the TPA in very hot water, he told “Tameside Councillors to get iPads. Most are over 60 and don’t know how to use a PC. Hardly any of them can read or write either”. What a star. What a complete prat. And, for the TPA, what a total liability.

So, TPA people, are you comfortable having Liam Billington as an “activist”? You have no problem being associated with him (and remember, he’s been caught previously making a malicious and defamatory smear against a local Labour club)? I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to enlighten the wider public.

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