Friday, March 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear TPA

Last night the TaxPayers' Alliance celebrated its fifth birthday. Happy birthday to you.

In five years the TPA has gone from a standing start to be Britain's most high profile campaigning group. It now has 20,000 members (join now - it's free), 1500 activists, hundreds of so-called "media hits" every month, and an energy that most organisations can only dream of.

One telling measure of its success is the attention it now gets from the supporters of Big Government. Indeed, Pol recently devoted an entire column to the TPA, or the rottweillers as she describes them:
"Drip, drip, drip. Day after day an insidious poison is fed into the nation's veins, spreading anger and cynicism about everything in the public sector...

Behind this campaign is the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA), which claims an average of 13 hits a day in the national media. Its press releases go virtually verbatim into full-page stories in the rightwing press. More surprising is the BBC's lazy, unquestioning use of these propagandists as if they were neutral analysts, without saying who they are."

Which coming from the left - whose campaigners are constantly quoted as neutral analysts - is pretty rich. Like, why isn't Pol introduced on Newsnight as a leftwing campaigning journo? (and see here for the TPA's measured response to Pol's ill-informed vitriol).

The left is so rattled it has even gone to the length of establishing a spoof TPA website - The Other Taxpayers Alliance. Sadly, it's pretty sparce, largely comprising links to articles by Pol.

Talking to other TPA supporters last night, everyone was agreed that Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum have done a fantastic job building the TPA - as someone said, it's easy to have an idea, but much more difficult to see it through.

But TPA success is about much more than that. The fact is that after a decade of high tax, high spend, failed Labour, millions of us are crying out for a change of direction. Yet the Conservatives under brand decontaminating Cam have sytematically downgraded the importance of tax cuts. There was a void - we needed some campaigning organisation to speak up for taxpayers in a focused coordinated way (just as similar organisations have long done in most other developed economies).

So the TPA has been meeting a demand. It is the right organisation, in the right place, at the right time.

And the way things are looking in our high tax, high debt future, taxpayers will need the TPA more than ever.

PS Last night's celebration also constituted a book launch. Matthew Elliott has co-authored a new book with David Craig entiltled The Great European Rip-Off - How the Corrupt, Wasteful EU is Taking Control of Our Lives.

David will be known to BOM readers as the author of previous books about government waste, including Rip-Off!, Plundering The Public Sector, and Squandered. Tyler bought his copy last night, and he urges you all to do the same. We'll be blogging it once read.

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