While many people would like to know why the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) has not said a word about the needless recall of Parliament so that Young Dave could use it for political advantage, or on the estimated £10 million cost of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, this Astroturf lobby group has been parading its inability to get its facts straight, and brazen ignorance of its brief, instead.
More guff from Tufton Street
As I noted recently, the TPA has been whining about the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) buying Cardiff Airport, which had been shipping passenger numbers badly of late and was clearly not a priority for its previous owner. TPA local man Lee Canning made accusations about the price paid, but without bothering to get an independent estimate. Now he has returned to the fray.
He has discovered “another damning blow for the Welsh Government in its attempt to save ailing Cardiff International Airport”. And what might this be? Ah, passenger numbers fell in the year to March 2013 by around 15%. Yes, they fell while the Airport was owned by Abertis, not by the WAG. This is not a blow to the WAG, but another compelling reason to take the action it did.
Never mind, Canning has another go, carping about “the little to no progress thus far made on the venture”. The sale was only completed at the end of last month, and the TPA, which claims to know about business, is pretending that in less than a month, some kind of miraculous transformation should have occurred. Canning is just blustering. This acquisition has to be for the longer term.
That Canning is just moaning is confirmed when he starts on about transport links. “The Welsh Government announced four years ago that it intended to introduce a bus link from Cardiff to the airport, which it is still yet to do” he whinges, apparently oblivious to the rail link that is already there, and has been in place since 2005. But, as the man said, there’s more.
“This soap opera, which is being financed by Welsh taxpayers, is being played out when Bristol Airport has seen steady increases in passenger numbers and will shortly have a direct bus link with Swansea, via Cardiff. Unlike its potential Cardiff counterpart, this bus link has not received taxpayer funding” says Canning. You don’t know what funding it might have. It’s not started running.
Canning’s carping merely emphasises his utter cluelessness about how this kind of business is run. New routes take time to bring on stream, along with the passenger and freight numbers that accompany them. The idea that this enterprise should turn round in less than a month would, by any competent body, be laughed out of court. But in the world of the TPA, it’s given centre stage.
Meanwhile, there is still no word on the Thatcher funeral. No change there, then.