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Saturday 22 September 2012

TPA – End Of The Boon Time

Last February, the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) reached what was arguably their high water mark: they got one of their dubiously talented array of non-job holders onto a BBC Question Time panel. Emma Boon, their articulate and smartly presented “Campaign Director” looked set for greater things within the TPA. But as they gather today in Windsor, one person is missing. And it’s her.

Disquiet on the second floor?

You didn’t see the announcement of her departure? Neither did I. And nor did anyone else, because there hasn’t been one. Moreover, Ms Boon’s page at the TPA website is still live (Saturday 22 September 1200 hours), describing her as “acting as a broadcast spokeswoman for the TPA”. To many, she is still the face of the TPA, as was Susie Squire before her. So what happened?

Spot the difference: old Twitter background ...

As there has been no mention of her departure, one cannot be certain, but Ms Boon’s Twitter feed abruptly ceased transmission on the last working day of June, and has not broadcast since. The background has changed, with the montage of her representing the TPA “on telly” replaced by the vanilla Twitter one. And the bio, including her strapline “likes low taxes” has been removed.

... versus new one

So where has Ms Boon gone? Well, her LinkedIn profile has the answer. Since the beginning of this month, she has been part of the Public Affairs team at the Brunswick Group, an “international corporate communications partnership”. The LinkedIn entry states firmly that “Emma joined Brunswick’s Public Affairs team from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, where she was Campaign Director” [my emphasis].

So that she has left the TPA is not in dispute, and indeed, their website, although it still has her page live, has removed her from its “people” page. Why there should be no mention of this is unusual, though. When Ms Squire left to pass through the revolving door and become a Special Advisor (SpAd) to Iain Duncan Smith, the cheerleaders in the right-wing blogosphere happily relayed the news.

Indeed, when the appallingly humourless Matthew Sinclair became CEO of the TPA the month after Ms Boon appears to have departed, the Guido Fawkes blog put out a suitably fawning post to mark the occasion. And the TPA was happy to report the arrival of Jonathan Isaby (formerly of ConHome) the very same day, although his subsequent TV performance against Polly Toynbee was desperately bad.

So what happened at the TPA to precipitate Emma Boon’s departure? How did they go from all that celebration of her Question Time appearance to keeping quiet about her leaving within no more than five months? Was there a bust-up with Sinclair? Was she passed over? The story will come out one way or another, and as ever the email address at right is the place to send information – in confidence.

In the meantime, congratulations to Ms Boon on getting a proper job. Well done!

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