The so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) loves to trumpet its supposed successes, claiming “Policy Victory” and “Tax Cut” on its website. But there is no similar concession today that the TPA has fought one campaign which it has now lost, that to try and head off a compulsory 5p charge for plastic bags, which will be introduced in England in 2015 – after Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
More bore from the second floor
There is a strange contrast here between the TPA and its normally like minded propagandists at the Daily Mail, where the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre had decided that the environmental damage done by the millions of often one-trip bags outweighed any ideological tendency to libertarianism. The Mail has therefore declared victory this morning.
But, instead of accepting that public opinion, a cross-section of the press (it’s not often does one see the Mail of similar opinion to the deeply subversive Guardian), and the fact of the long-term damage done by plastic bags, the TPA’s humourless head man Matthew Sinclair has been out and about on the airwaves bleating monotonously that it’s all terribly unfair.
Sinclair has been displaying such brass neck that he appeared on the BBC and “said the charge was an unnecessary measure that would have little impact on overall waste”. Estimates from Wales and Northern Ireland suggest a reduction in plastic bag usage of between 75% and 80% - and Matthew Sinclair says that a similar measure in England “would have little effect”.
That view is not shared by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), another body the TPA runs the risk of alienating – after all, the CPRE has been instrumental in securing information on routes to be taken by HS2 construction traffic, which the TPA and others have then used as a stick to beat proponents of the project. Encouraging re-use of plastic bags by charging works.
But instead of admitting the TPA’s utter failure with its campaign against plastic bag charges, Sinclair has decided to whine about HS2, once again demonstrating his tendency to rank hypocrisy by labelling this week’s KPMG report for HS2 Limited as “propaganda”. This from someone who has been instrumental in pumping out a torrent of misleading propaganda on the same subject.
The TPA has lost this one. That may not be good news for the rich people who bankroll the organisation, nor the clever people who talk loudly in restaurants who work there, but it is a fact, however lame Sinclair’s spin.
Let’s hope the TPA lose a few more. It couldn’t happen to more deserving people.