The dubiously talented band of non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) have strange priorities when it comes to wanting to save taxpayers’ money. When the Royal Wedding added another Bank Holiday to the May Day weekend in 2011, and therefore cost billions in lost production, all they could manage was a minor caution about the cost of the ceremony.
More bore from the second floor
Yet they are only too keen to froth about a relatively minor exercise in applying a workplace parking levy, as has been done recently in the city of Nottingham. That the city has a well regarded public transport system which has remained under Council control is no doubt another reason they hate what is going on. The impression is given that the scale of monetary outlay is not what concerns them.
This has merely been reinforced by the passing of Margaret Thatcher, which has prompted the wholly unnecessary recall of Parliament today. One wonders what she would have made of this: it is doubtful that she would have approved of the expense, especially as the tributes could have been made next Monday. The speeches would have been no less sincere had they been delivered then.
But the TPA has not raised a finger at the news that MPs may be able to claim as much as £3,750 each to turn up today. That means the bill could easily pass £2 million. This does not trouble the TPA, but a matter of £10,000 has caused Andrew Allison, their ultimate non-job holder (a “grassroots coordinator” in an organisation with no grassroots) to emit a cloud of indignation.
That is because this would have been the cost to the public purse of the Youth Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent (the salary was £15,000, but senior PCC Ann Barnes was to chip in £5,000 from her own stipend) which would have been taken up by the unfortunate Paris Brown. Allison deploys the usual selection of Greatest Hits from the TPA phrasebook in making his argument.
It was “a ridiculous waste of money ... expensive tokenism”. Then he talks about the problem of drugs, without mentioning the inconvenient fact that this is a war the Police and other authorities are losing, and have been for some years. Good to see the TPA in touch with the real world. And good to see that Andrew Allison is happy to see £2 million sprayed up the wall, while he quibbles over £10,000.
What he fails signally to do is to address the disconnect between young people and politics, and thereby all those bodies that are publicly accountable – like the Police. Wittering on about cops going into youth clubs shows Allison is just clutching at straws. He doesn’t get it. He knows who Mrs T was, as do I. He should try asking a sample of teenagers. He might be surprised at the answers.
But then the TPA isn’t really interested in taxpayers’ money. No change there, then.