Recent revelations concerning the so-called Taxpayers Alliance may have momentarily lowered the group’s media profile, but their talking head Chloe Westley is not downhearted. She has taken this in her stride, using the backlash over the Shahmir Sanni unfair dismissal case to pretend that it is she who is the wronged party, thus confirming Olbermann’s Dictum, “the right exists in a perpetual state of victimhood”.
To this end, Ms Westley has taken part in a video recording in which she claims “There’s a very strong left-wing hate mob that descends on you if you publicly say the things I am saying, and even if you are perfectly reasonable in your arguments and you try to explain yourself, I think there is a barrier to accepting that any reasonable person could not be a socialist. So as soon as you are to the right of Jeremy Corbyn, it’s assumed that you’re an evil person”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, while some of what wends its way in her direction may be unwarranted abuse, most of the pushback directed at Ms Westley and her pals at the TPA concerns their stance on a range of issues. When the TPA advocates for abolition of the minimum wage, making the poorest even more poor, stripping away public provision across the board, and most significantly abolishing the NHS, it is going to be criticised in forthright terms.
Moreover, the TPA’s use of falsehood and misinformation, usually masquerading as what its former head man Matthew Sinclair grandly called “empirical, real world research”, is also going to spark criticism, even anger and resentment. Calling out Government waste, but ignoring it when those on the right do it, only makes things worse (the TPA was notoriously silent over the London largesse of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson).
And Two, the TPA is in no position to whine about abusive behaviour when they are so practised in this art form themselves. As I pointed out in a case study for Byline Media some time ago, when Mick Fealty of Slugger O’Toole fame called them out for the false assumption in their claims that Government was paying lobbying firms to lobby itself, he was given the full smear treatment by the TPA’s finest.
Suggestions were made by both Sinclair and his side-kick Mark Wallace (the latter now at Conservative Home, not that the TPA are Conservatives, you understand) that Fealty’s relationship with a Scottish lobbying form “clouded his judgment”. Personal, gratuitous, and sly. And it’s still going on, as Chris Kendall pointed out.
Responding to Ms Westley’s playing of the victim, he told “I’m entirely sympathetic. I recently had an unpleasant experience where I challenged a lady lobbyist based in 55 Tufton St on factual issues and found myself the target of a concerted attempt to have me sacked from my job after a smear campaign by a website based in 55 Tufton St”.
Not only is much of the pushback directed at the TPA not abuse, the TPA is adept in doling out abuse of its own. Chloe Westley and her pals are the lowest kinds of hypocrites.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at