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Wednesday 15 May 2013

TPA – Not Quite One In The Eye

The sad figure of Jonathan Isaby, new boy at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), can be seen in the latest issue of Private Eye (issue 1340) taking Master Emmanuel Strobes and his team to task over suggestions that the TPA is insufficiently forthright on the subject of tax evasion, and taking issue with the assertion that they might be somehow connected to the Tory Party.
More guff from Tufton Street

The Eye has printed Isaby’s email, one has to assume in full, but without comment. So perhaps Zelo Street can help. The first article that Isaby quotes, from the Mail (“Name and shame the tax dodgers”) has this comment from the TPA’s chief non-job holder Matthew Sinclair: “Britain’s dysfunctional tax code is full of loopholes. We need serious tax reform to ensure everyone pays their fair share”.

Sinclair was not explicitly condemning tax dodging, but kicking the tax code, a favourite TPA activity. Similarly with a Daily Star piece from 25 January Isaby cites, where an unnamed TPA spokesman tells “David Cameron has been quick to highlight the problem of tax avoidance but slow to actually do anything about it”, which is not saying that the practice is a bad thing at all.

Turning to the Eye calling the TPA a “Tory body”, Isaby can bleat all he likes, and no doubt he will, but the fact remains that he moved to the TPA from Conservative Home, which is close enough to the Tories as makes no difference. His colleagues Matthew Sinclair, Matthew “Gromit” Elliott and Lee Rotherham all spoke at the Windsor Conservative Renewal Conference last September.

Heck, the TPA even co-sponsored the event. And we can’t leave the Tory Party connections without recalling the progress through the revolving door of former TPA staffer Susie Squire, who went to become a SpAd to Iain Duncan Cough, and who has now progressed to a berth working for Young Dave within 10 Downing Street. And, as the man said, there’s more.

Former TPA staffer Mark Wallace, who had previously been at such reliably Conservative bodies like the Institute Of Directors (IoD), has now fetched up at ... Conservative Home! And on top of that, the TPA gets a free pass from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Staines has put on record his preference for what he calls “The Blue Team”.

So when Isaby says the idea the TPA is a “Tory body” is “ludicrous”, he is talking out of the back of his neck. It’s no exaggeration to say that the relationship between the TPA and the Tories is downright incestuous. When Isaby pontificates that “we are staunchly non-partisan and take pride in our independence”, the shower at the Fawkes blog might believe it, but nobody else does.

Independent? Non-partisan? Pull the other one, Isaby. You’re having a laugh.

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