There are more taxing questions for the Guardian to ask
The Guardian appears to be pursuing a rather quixotic crusade against the Taxpayers Alliance (TPA). Over the weekend there was an ‘investigation’ into their funding and membership and today Polly Toynbee accuses them of ‘rewriting history’ over public sector pay. Joining their attacks is John Prescott, who accuses the TPA of being a Tory ‘front group’ (this allegation is particularly silly considering the number of public spats between the TPA and various Conservative councils and Local Authorities).
Some of these criticisms may be justified; it is certainly foolish for an organization that campaigns for lower British taxes to appoint a French resident to their board. But the sudden interest in the TPA also highlights an odd phenomenon emerging on the British left. Why are the Guardian, their columnists and John Prescott using their fiercest words to attempt to crush a small, independent campaign group? They could be pursuing the Conservative Party; instead they are bullying the TPA.
This strange fixation is reminiscent of the centre-left’s other current preoccupation; the European allies that the Conservative Party sits with in the European Parliament. It begs the question, does the left believe that the British public are as worked up about these things as they are? These peripheral issues are not what will make up the minds of voters – the economy, tax and public spending, public services and the war in Afghanistan perhaps, but a couple of unsavoury MEPs and an activist group? These may be the kind of things that provoke intrigue and interest in the Westminster village but, by obsessing over them in public, the left is doing itself a great disservice. It makes them look distracted from the real issues and out of touch with the real concerns of British people. There are plenty of arguments the left can make, about the role of government and the shape of the state; by choosing instead to fixate on the likes of the TPA the left is letting itself down.