Chloe Westley, campaign manager for the so-called Taxpayers Alliance and self-confessed Conservative, has published a video which she thinks is hilariously funny. In it, she plays the role of teacher giving out what she believes are the kinds of talking points associated with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The crude characterisations extend all the way to linking Jezza with symbols of Soviet-era propaganda.
But Ms Westley has a serious message, quite apart from ripping off an idea Tracey Ullman already used. “The left don't debate. They demonise”. In the world of the sainted TPA, they are above that sort of thing. Except, as those who have called out the TPA in the past for its less than total adherence to factual analysis, they aren’t.
To see just how the TPA are all too ready to indulge in dirty tricks, we need look no further than their attempt to claim that Government had paid £38 million to lobbying companies just to lobby itself (see my case study at Byline Media HERE). This claim was not supported by the evidence provided. It was a typical TPA sham.
So let’s look at the noble art of TPA debate on the issue, as its then leading lights Matthew Sinclair and Mark Wallace engaged with Mick Fealty of the Slugger O’Toole blog, who had called them out for presenting what he called a “dodgy dossier”.
Sinclair first: “You're getting utterly ridiculous … I've tried to engage with you on this, as your initial criticism was … worth addressing, but I'm rapidly getting the impression that you aren't remotely listening and don't really care. You're angry that your mates … have had a hard time and are on some kind of misguided attempt to avenge them”.
Very noble that isn’t. And there was more. “If your point is about the quality of the Irish blogosphere compared to the Westminster media, then I'm afraid you're not doing a great job selling it. I was a blogger before I ever worked at the TPA and, to be frank, I've seen better”. Could it get any worse? Sadly, it could indeed.
Sinclair again: “Clearly you have no idea how research in the social sciences is conducted and are just interested in fleshing out some absurd theory about the TPA being some kind of LSE conspiracy theory”. Out comes the right-wing “Conspiracy theory” smear.
Then Sinclair and Wallace piled in together in a spot-the-difference special. The coincidence between Sinclair’s “Don't let your relationship with Stratagem cloud your judgement about the TPA's work” and Wallace’s “I know that you have a personal relationship to Stratagem yourself, but it would be wrong to let that cloud your judgement on this serious issue” was quite remarkable. And equally menacing.
Of course, Chloe Westley could check this out with Mark Wallace: she does, after all, contribute regular columns to Conservative Home, where he is “Executive editor”. Strange, she has no problem doing business with someone with a track record of demonising his opponents, and who used to work at the same place that now employs her.
That would be because Chloe Westley is a hypocrite. I’ll just leave that one there.
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