Posts Tagged ‘Taxpayers Alliance’

Queasy Kwarteng – Not a Diversity Hire, But a Member of the Tory Hard Right

October 2, 2022

I’ve got a few interesting remarks from some of the great commenters on this blog about a piece a put up about a video by Simon Webb of History Debunked about Kwarteng. Webb wondered if the man now doing his best to trash our economy was a diversity hire, whose sole qualification for the job was his skin colour. Mark Pattie and Jim Round have pointed out that he isn’t. He was appointed because he was another Old Etonian willing to implement the programme of the Tory hard right.

Mark wrote

‘Kamikaze Kwarteng was *not* a diversity hire. He may be of Ghanaian descent, but he was Eton educated (hence probably why he got the Chancellor job). Suella Charlatan got the Home Sec job because she was more right-wing than Patel, and James Cleverley got his role because of his many years in the Army. Unlike the rest, he seems to be one of the very few (ten or so) genuinely decent Tories I’ve any respect for. It’s a damn shame he didn’t run for the leadership.’

And Jim commented

‘As with quite a lot of Simon Webb’s videos, it is what isn’t said rather than what is.
It isn’t mentioned that groups like The Taxpayers Alliance and The Institute of Economic Affairs had a major influence on this “budget” (Tim over at Zelo Street has covered this)
Also remember that The New Culture Forum, who Webb has been a guest of are based there.
They think that this is a “Conservative” budget but it is unknown whether they thought that the markets would react so badly.
Also not mentioned is the fact that Kwarteng is highly likely to be a millionaire, as well as attending Eton.
But no, let’s feed the narrative that he is only there because of the colour of his skin.’

The Taxpayers’ Alliance tends to turn up on BBC News programmes to give their views on economic policies. They are always presented as if they are a politically independent organisation, but their leaders are all members of the Tories. The Institute of Economic Affairs have been demanding hard-right economic policies since before Thatcher. I don’t think Kwarteng’s a genius by any stretch of the imagination, but this shows that the people at the Arise Zoom meeting on the Tory minibudget were absolutely right: he’s a Thatcherite true-believer, working for arch-Thatcherite think tanks, and so shares the same grotty mediocre views as his leader, Liz Truss. I should say that I haven’t watched Webb’s wretched video, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a section of the Tories is now trying to make him a scapegoat for Truss’ abject economic failure.

Question Time Platforms Extreme Right-Wing Anti-NHS Group without Telling Viewers about Them

May 27, 2022

A day or so ago I put up a piece discussing how the right-wing Lotus Eaters on YouTube have decided that healthcare isn’t a right, thus showing their opposition to the basic principle underlying the NHS. But they’re not the only right-wingers, who despise the NHS in the name of absolute free trade and private enterprise. Another of these is the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has been promoting these policies since the 1970s. Northern Irish YouTuber Maximilien Robespierre posted this little video on his channel exposing how Emily Carver, a representative of the IEA, was a guest on Question Time. However, the Beeb did not deign to tell its viewers who the IEA was or what they stood for. And in fact, as the video shows, the IEA are very secretive about both their members and the organisation itself. They’re on a list of political organisations and think tanks ranked according to their transparency. And the IEA are in the red marked ‘highly opaque’.

Carver and her organisation’s secrecy was called out by the panellist representing the SNP. He pointed out that he and the other politicians on the show, from the Lib Dems and Labour, had no need to explain what their parties represented as everyone knew already. But Carver and the IEA were just introduced as ‘a think tank’. Carver blustered some rubbish in her defence about being willing to reveal their members’ identities if necessary, but were really just taking care to protect them. Robespierre also goes on to reveal just what the IEA stands for by showing their entry on Wikipedia. He also shows Carver’s own extreme private enterprise stance with a couple of articles she authored, including one asking if people were finally waking up to how dreadful the NHS was.

In fact the Beeb has form when it comes to platforming right-wing organisations on their news programmes without telling people about their connections. A few years ago a friend of mine pointed out how the right-wing Taxpayers Alliance were frequently invited onto the news to give their opinions on government spending and presented as an independent organisation. This is technically true, but the leadership were all members of the Conservative party, making them effectively a Tory front organisation.

Jacky Davis and Raymond Tallis have an entire chapter in their book, NHS SOS discussing the way the Beeb’s coverage of the health service is biased and supportive of its privatisation. Academics from Glasgow and Edinburgh universities showed a few years ago that the BBC was biased towards the political right, though the Tories and their supporters continue to brand it as left-wing and liberal. The inclusion of the IEA without informing the public of what they stand for is just more proof of the Beeb’s right-wing bias and the supporting someone in the Corporation is giving to the NHS’ privatisation.

Private Eye on the People behind Darren Grimes’ Reasoned UK

June 7, 2020

The week before last, Zelo Street published a piece about the launch of Reasoned UK, a right-wing propaganda outfit headed by a former member of Guido Fawkes, Darren Grimes. This fortnight’s issue of Private Eye, for 5th to 18th June 2020, also covers the launch. And it comes to much the same conclusions Zelo Street has. Far from being an original, grassroots organisation, this is just another piece of astroturf. While Grimes claims its YouTube channel is going to post original content, Private Eye shows that it has strong links to a number of similar American Conservative organisations and their British subsidiaries. The Eye’s article, on page 16, runs

Grimes Spree

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to BeLeave!

No sooner had Inspector Knacker announced the end of his investigation into Darren Grimes and Vote Leave last month, than the irrepressible ex-BeLeaver Grimes quit his day job at the Institute of Economic Affairs and launched a new “online grassroots organisation and video channel”, Reasoned UK. It aims to “challenge the pervasive left-wing bias in online content” by putting up a “mix of entertaining and informative content to help viewers reach their own informed opinions”.

Although Grimes boasts of its “NEW ORIGINAL CONTENT”, the Reasoned YouTube channel has in fact been rebranded from an earlier one called, er, Reason. Among those starring in Reason videos were Guido Fawkes hack Tom Harwood, recently seen defending Dominic Cummings round-the-clock on all TV channels; Chloe Westley, then of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, now a special advisor in No. 10; and Steven Edginton, former head of Digital at the Brexit Party, now at the Sun.

It’s unclear who was behind Reason, but the small print of Reasoned’s privacy policy reveals that Grimes’s “online grassroots organisation” is run by a Borehamwood-based company called Media and Activism. This turns out to be the same company behind conservative “youth” group Turning Point UK, in which Grimes, Harwood, Westley and Eginton have all been involved. The sole director, Oliver Anisfeld, is the son of the smoked-salmon tycoon and former Brexit Party MEP Lance Forman.

Not so much grassroots as Astroturf, perhaps. Bit Reasoned isn’t all that NEW, is its content at least ORIGINAL? Not exactly. Just as TPUK is a pale imitation of Turning Point USA, so the snazzy video in which Grimes makes his call to arms is mostly a word-for-word repeat of one produced by Prager University (PragerU) – which, confusingly, isn’t a university but an American outfit that makes right-wing videos and works closely with TPUSA.

The original from which Darren takes his script features American libertarian and TPUSA supporter Dave Rubin talking about the “Bravery Deficit”, the suggestion that conservatives are afraid to stand up for what they believe. Lo and behold, the Reasoned website also features a page headed “Bravery Deficit” – and a 45-minute video promoting Rubin’s new book.

Zelo Street’s article doesn’t go into quite so much detail, but it did quote a Tweet from ‘Loki’, who claimed that Reasoned UK was the youth wing of the IEA. Which prompted Zelo Street to ask whether Grimes really had left the organisation or not. As for the scintillating opinion-formers that are to appear on the channel, so far their Twitter feed has included mad islamophobe Melanie Phillips, and the noxious Brendan O’Neil of Spiked. Just the kind of people to galvanise Conservative British youth!

Grimes himself has something of a chip on his shoulder. He believes that he is snubbed and sidelined by the mainstream media because he is not university educated. There’s nothing wrong with not having been to uni. A university education doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is more intelligent or better morally, as shown by the all the Oxbridge and Eton-educated fools, thieves and mass murderers in Bozo’s government. What is more significant is that Grimes at best gets his facts wrong, and at wrong lies shamelessly and frequently. So he’s a typical Tory then.

He also looks very young in the picture Zelo Street has of him in its articles. He looks little older than Harry Potter! He doesn’t look old enough to vote, let alone be telling everyone else how to.

The fact that Reasoned UK is just a warmed-up, rebranded version of Reasoned doesn’t bode well for its future. Let’s hope that it’s no long before this worthless, mendacious organisation bites the dust.

 

 

Private Eye on the Childish Stunts and Real Backers of the Tories’ Brexit Campaign

February 21, 2016

Private Eye’s issue for the 23rd January -4th February 2016 issue had some very interesting snippets in their piece, ‘Cummings and Goings’ on page 12. The article was about how the head of the Vote Leave campaign in the Conservative camp, Dominic Cummings, was so obnoxious that he managed to alienate a sizable number of his former colleagues. His former National Comrades were leaving for other jobs, including UKIP, rather than stay working with him. Part of this dissension is over the stupid stunts Cummings had resorted to. For example, he has infiltrated students in to heckle a CBI conference, and threatened businesses backing the EU. The Eye states that his critics fear this is ‘making Eurosceptics look like a juvenile mob’.

Well, it’s impossible to say ‘No’ to that.

More interesting, perhaps, than the personality politics involved is the real group behind the Tories’ Out campaign. According to the Eye, it’s the Taxpayers’ Alliance. This, remember, is the astroturf group that claims it’s not part of the Tory party, when all its leaders are, and which campaigns for lower taxes through privatisation and welfare cuts. With these bozos urging Britain to leave the European Union, you can bet that any money saved from Britain’s contribution to the European budget will not be spent on the infrastructure, like roads, or health service or anything else remotely constructive. Instead, it’ll be spent as they want – giving tax cuts to the rich.