There have been numerous protests from the IEA, which claims to be an educational charity, when it is labelled a lobby group, the most recent coming when the group’s talking head Kate Andrews tried to cause LBC host James O’Brien to stop calling them, er, a lobby group. This was not successful. And recent outpourings from the IEA only serve to confirm that the charity status is no more than an fig-leaf.
Kate Andrews - not really about education
Ms Andrews demonstrates this excellently, as when she told her followers “On @CNN just after 7pm GMT/2pm EST to discuss the #BrexitDeal. EU good will is in limited supply these days. In reality, this deal seriously risks UK regulatory and trade policy still being set by Brussels”. This is not an educational charity speaking: the subjective and citation-free claims put paid to that. This is blatant propagandising.
It was the same when she Tweeted “Turn up @IainDale's show on @LBC tonight, where the IEA's @nissych5 will be making the case for a #Brexit that returns tax, regulatory and trade policy to the UK!” Propagandising. Not educating. Again.
Or how about the IEA’s Christopher Snowdon taking a Guardian headline telling “One in four pubs in UK have closed since financial crisis”, and amending the last two words to read “smoking ban”. “Fixed this for you” claims Snowdon, but this is a group that has advocated against plain packaging for cigarettes, and whose Director Mark Littlewood lied about the effect of plain packaging in Australia. And it gets worse.
The Guardian’s George Monbiot pointed out recently that “British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International have been funding the institute - in BAT's case since 1963. British American Tobacco has admitted that it gave the institute £20,000 last year and that it's ‘planning to increase our contribution in 2013 and 2014’”. Not education. Propagandising. Taking Big Tobacco money and effectively lobbying for them.
Littlewood has also been gifted a platform by the Murdoch Sun, as the IEA Twitter feed confirmed. “‘Over the next decade, 90 pc of all global economic growth is predicted to come from outside the EU. If you see Brexit as a historic opportunity to make Britain a global trading nation, you will have a lot of sympathy with Trump,’ writes @MarkJLittlewood”. Spin. Many of those countries have FTAs with the EU.
Meanwhile, Ms Andrews was busy propagandising once more. “From @thetimes today: Cancer patients wait more than a year for diagnosis, about twice as long as the best performing countries #OurNHS”. Effectively lobbying against the NHS.
And that’s before we get to the IEA’s schools propaganda. As Open Democracy has now revealed, “The Institute of Economic Affairs’ magazine distributed to tens of thousands of British schoolchildren promotes tobacco tax cuts, climate change denial, tax havens, and privatising the NHS - but doesn’t say where its money comes from”.
This is not education. It is falsehood and misinformation on an industrial scale. It is unashamed propagandising, and is lobbying in all but name.
The IEA should be stripped of its charity status. Full stop, end of story.
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