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Thursday 2 August 2012

TPA – Euro Wrong In The Windies

The dubiously talented convocation that is the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) will kick anything marked “Government” in order to pursue its objective of vastly reducing the size of the public sector. One area it loves to demonise is overseas aid, and another is the EU. So when the EU is found to be doing overseas aid, all those non-job holders are in their element.

More bore from the second floor interns

This even extends to the routine lifting of copy from less than wholly reliable newspapers, which someone called Henry Wilson has done with an item from the Super Soaraway Currant Bun. The EU gives aid and other grants of around £230 million to countries in the West Indies. To administer this it spends around £2 million, which at less than 1% of the total does not seem such a bad thing.

But after Rupe’s downmarket troops have done their work, the office block where those doing the administering are based becomes “sun kissed” and “swish”, the area where it is situated “posh”, and two apartments rented for senior staff “luxurious”. Now one can argue the rights and wrongs of overseas aid – and right-wingers like the TPA use it as a stick to beat Government – but this doesn’t look excessive.

Not when you consider the amount of money, and the number of projects, that are being looked after: if there wasn’t proper oversight, the same papers would be playing the other side of the field and kicking the EU for not having a large enough presence. But, at the TPA, young Henry thinks he’s on a winner, so much so that he indulges in a little creative embellishment.

The EU outpost manages “local projects that include retraining banana growers. We weren’t aware that the politicians and bureaucrats of the EU had sufficient banana growing skills to train Caribbean farmers” says Wilson. Laugh? I thought I’d never start. UK politicians manage the Police and other emergency services. Does that skill set require Policing expertise? Prat.

Stick to the usual TPA whoppers. Oh wait, here comes one: the office block “naturally includes a rented apartment block with tropical gardens and a swimming pool for senior Eurocrats”. Naturally it doesn’t include any apartments, but two elsewhere get rented out. How about some of that TPA pejorative language? “Spurious and costly projects”. “The excessive scale of this latest folly”. Whoopee.

Taxpayers will be extremely disappointed”. You asked any? No, thought not. “Much of the money goes on pampering politicians and Eurocrats”. There are politicians out there? There aren’t? So what does Henry Wilson do when he’s not practising churnalism for the TPA? Well, he’s “a third year undergraduate studying Ancient History at St Andrews University”. I have a suggestion for him.

Try learning some more recent history as well. Like facts about the EU.

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