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Saturday 17 November 2012

Guido Fawked – Lobby Group Hypocrisy

On the side of the Daily Mail and its legendarily foul mouthed editor – as I noted yesterday – over the hatchet job on those who have dared to advise Lord Justice Leveson is the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. This is an alliance borne out of fear of the unknown, as the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines is frightened of anything that might impact on his nice little earner with the Fourth Estate.

So it should surprise no-one that the Fawkes blog has gone after the Media Standards Trust (MST) in its efforts to assist the Dacre smear machine. The MST is held to be “Unaccountable and Undemocratic” and it is concluded that those involved “really are enemies of a free press”, although, as is usual for the Fawkes rabble, no credible evidence of how they seek to make the press less free is forthcoming.

This leads us to one conclusion: any group that seeks to lobby Parliamentarians must, in the eyes of The Great Guido, show where it gets its financing, and moreover must elect its board of management, doing so in an open and transparent manner. There must be no cliques, no self-selecting elite, no network of pals, and no attempt to evade any inquiry about its activity.

But this display of high principles does not survive the first encounter with the reality that is the Fawkes pals’ network, where self-selection of the least transparent nature combines effortlessly with an inability to tell where the money comes from. Take, for starters, the place where Staines was drinking the evening he had an unfortunate encounter with the Metropolitan Police while driving his wife’s car.

That was the Adam Smith Institute (ASI), the museum of outdated economic thought that has fraudulently appropriated the name of the founder of economics. Here, there is persistent lobbying of Parliamentarians, while not letting on who pays the bills or how the management is selected. It is the same at the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and also at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

And there is no more stark example of unaccountable and undemocratic lobby groups than the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), another outfit whose propensity for churning out selectively sourced propaganda is not only notorious, but also much favoured by the Fawkes rabble. Whenever the TPA issues one of its “reports”, based on its apparent “research”, the Fawkes blog obediently plugs the result.

The TPA consistently refuses to say who pays the bills, yet it seeks openly to influence the print and broadcast media. One might conclude that this influence is rather greater than the MST. So if The Great Guido wants to demand accountability and democracy, he knows where to start. But there will be no such demand, because Staines and his pals won’t dump on their drinking buddies.

That’s because they’re all hot air and hypocrisy. Another fine mess, once again.

1 comment:

Bob said...

It's long overdue to have a register of lobby groups and compulsory declaration of funding sources.