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Now that the TaxPayers' Alliance is "writing Conservative party policy", and public sector cuts loom whoever is in power, what should be our priority? Six months ago we were an unfunded one-page website. Now we're an… unfunded 10-page website. But we do have a fast-growing mailing list and enthusiastic support. Should we continue to focus on the TPA, or take a broader stance in support of fair taxes? Should we work more closely with groups such as the Tax Justice Network or Equality Trust? Please do leave a comment below or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Posted by Other TPA at 09:45am on 12 May 2009
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I think you are doing good work and its still important to focus on the Taxpayers Alliance.  This body is being consulted by the media as a supposedly “neutral” or “objective” body, above the party political fray.  This is simply not true, as it represents an extreme neo-liberal right wing view. It’s quite plain that where its allegiance lies and the Cameron Conservative party is using it as cover to make the arguments for astronomical cuts in public spending. Our society will suffer tremendously unless this shadowy organisation can be exposed for what it really is.

Keep up the good work

John

Posted by John Watson at 11:57am on 12 May 2009

I think we need a broad, positive campaign for fair and adequate taxation as an essential part of citizenship - not just a rebuttal unit for the TA (though that’s also necessary).  Polly Toynbee seemed to announce the launch of such a campaign in her column months ago, but I’ve seen no evidence of it taking any structured form so far.

Posted by David Griffiths at 06:37pm on 12 May 2009

Focus on both. Seeing through TPA rhetoric and undermining their claim to represent “us” is important, but so is presenting constructive fair tax policies.

Posted by Ken at 10:46am on 13 May 2009

I think you are wrong about the TPA. Its funding - no more or less dubious than the Guardian’s for instance which without its monopoly on public sector advertising would have colleapsed years ago - is as it is. Many pressure groups have less than transparent funding and, at the end of the day, there is always the case of “special advisers” - McBride et al - funded by the public but doing totally partisan work.

Expecting the TPA to be only political organisation absolutely open about its fundng is expecting too much. And all organisations claim “massive support”; have you ever heard a trade unionist admit that not every employee is a member and not every member is a Labour supporter?

Attacking it for being right-wing also misses the point and is a bit like criticising a policeman for telling us what to do. And, anyway, they are no more “right wing” than the group you always turn to - Polly Toynbee and co - are “left wing”.

Where you should attack them is when they get it wrong. When they criticise some aspect of public expenditure and get their facts wrong or make a completely fatuous case for some reduction or otherwise in taxation then you should give them a good kicking.

A recent example was their assault on the idea that over-housed people should be paid to give up their home in favour of a more needful family. To me, a dyed in the wool supporter of the TPA and tax reduction, this spending proposal was not only sensible but fair. Asking someone to give up their home would be totalitarian if it was simply demanded of them with no financial recognition of their sacrifice.

There is a case for what the TPA sets out to do. The position regarding taxation should be the “right wing” (as you would have it) one. The government should have to justify every last penny it takes from us not start from a position that we should be grateful for any it doesn’t. I think the tax rate should start at zero and every impost from there justified and accounted for. The lefties think it should be 100% with anything not taken considered a bonus.

Somewhere in between is right and we need organisations like the TPA to help us get to the right balance.

You will ony defeat them intellectually, with facts. Yah booing across the interweb will get no one anywhere.

Posted by Brian Smith at 12:24pm on 13 May 2009

Fwiw?  Both!

Yes - build the connections and links with broader campaigning for just taxation. 

But - keep that focus on the TPA. 

Something tells me the Yorkshire Post/Evening Post are far from alone in being a local newspaper that relies on TPA press releases as a regular substitute for “honest reporting and journalism.”  Splash headlines, editorial, features - all regurgitating the latest TPA press release. 

OK - there’s always a very short last paragraph reporting a response from the TPA’s latest target; for the cost of a quick (and probably badly reported) phonecall.  Beautifully crafted to make the TPA look like “angels” and local government like “shifty, dishonest, grafting, incompetent *******s”

Just a tuppenyworth smile

Hey - pigs can fly!  And the TPA might some day be honest enough to do a hatchet job on a few of the extraordinarily well-heeled, stinking rich, tax avoiders/evaders.  Or did I miss something on their website?

Posted by Gavin at 09:13pm on 13 May 2009

Many thanks for your comments so far - and to those of you who sent emails on this subject too. Please keep them coming.

And Brian, I will get back to you too on why I disagree with much of your comment - but might bump that discussion to a separate post as I’d like to keep this focused on what our supporters want. (But I do agree with your final paragraph - I’m happy to leave the vitriol to the McBrides and Guidos of this world.)

Posted by Other TPA at 05:35pm on 14 May 2009

Completely agree with Brian Smith.

Villification of the Daily Mail and the TPA by setting up mirror web sites aimed exclusively at yaboohing them just comes across as being rattled by their effectiveness.

Posted by Richard Mason at 12:47pm on 15 May 2009

Would it not be better to abolish the political agenda and start work on what is justice for all. i.e.,

Should you not be asking which taxes deliver the most prosperity and sustainability and then support those (That is, Land Value Taxation)

Should you not be asking which taxes deliver the most poverty and destruction and campaign for their abolishment? (i.e., Income Tax, CGT, Corp Tax, VAT etc)

I would definitely avoid association with the TJN who clearly have a latent political agenda that does not consider the equal distribution of wealth for all. Let me know if you wish to see the evidence for this no problem.

These factors are not in dispute but are highly controversial of course. What are you waiting for?

Brgds
Robin Smith
Co Founder
System Fiscal Reform Group

Posted by Robin Smith at 07:47pm on 15 May 2009

I would dearly like to see you working with Vince Cable and others who like your self have a grip on reality. Taxes should only raise sufficient money for our essential needs, our reserves for the unknown crises that occur, and a contingency plan for international impacts of other fiscal policies. Should we not be investigating exactly where the inequalities lie, for instance we have many pensioners who have to decide between food or heating and maintenance of their property ? Why are people taxed over and over again for the same money- first their earnings , then their savings from their earnings, then the added interest from their savings - its crazy. While you are at it , what about the benefits system that is another cause for discontent - surprisingly maybe most people want to work ? Keep up the essential work .

Posted by Hazel Thorpe at 10:07am on 21 May 2009

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