Thursday 1 April 2010

The real agenda?

No-one would expect me to always agree with Dylan Jones-Evans, given our different political perspectives. But his articles and posts are usually worth reading, and often thought-provoking. And he has a very good way of challenging things which others may be taking for granted.

Today, however, I was somewhat taken aback by his commendation of the report produced jointly by the IoD and the self-styled 'TaxPayers' Alliance'. I've always suspected that the TPA was a Tory front organisation, and I've been amazed at the way in which the media have treated them as though they were some sort of independent think tank.

The report is certainly worth a read, because it gives an interesting insight to the minds of those ideologically opposed to the public sector. And let me be clear about this after looking at the report – ideology is what drives it, not economics.

I don't disagree with everything they say – cutting the Eurofighter project, for instance, is something which features in our own proposals. But some of the rest is pretty alarming to anyone who believes in protecting the most vulnerable in society.

So, whilst Plaid argues for an increase in the state pension, this document argues for a freeze – a real terms cut.

Whilst Plaid argues for fair funding for Wales, the report argues for a freeze on the block transfer to the Assembly budget - and then argues for significant cuts in large areas of education, health, and social services spending which would obviously lead to significant consequential cuts in the block as a result of the Barnett formula.

Whilst Plaid remains opposed to student tuition fees, the report argues that student loans should be at commercial interest rates – directly adding to the burden of student debt.

Anyone supporting this report is supporting the abolition of free TV licences for pensioners, means testing pensioners' bus passes, abolishing child benefit, abolishing the EMA, abolishing Sure Start - I could go on. And suggesting that these can in any way be described as 'government waste' or 'efficiency savings' is beyond belief.

The question is – is this an insight to the real agenda of the Tories? Dylan is, after all, the Chairman of the Welsh Conservatives' Economic Commission, and described the report as an 'excellent document'.


Anonymous said...

Why are you surprised the Welsh Conservatives think Free Breakfasts and Prescriptions are Government Waste and would scrap them, Pensions and the like are no different to them.

Dylan's blog is pretty boring these days i used to read it regularly but its turned into a repetitive diatribe against WAG, Labour and Plaid Cymru, exactly the same as his colleagues in the Assembly.

Maybe the TPA leaflet has given him some ideas because the Welsh Tory Economic Forum he is Chairing set up a while ago hasn't made any policy announcements as far as i know.

Illtyd Luke said...

Its the kind of ideology that has seen the Tories throw away a once unassailable lead to one of the least popular governments in history. E-books will be written in the future about how they squandered the election.

Cibwr said...

Yes its cat out of the bag time... the cuts agenda, for that is what it is, is all about reducing the state and its intervention in our lives. Its driven by ideology and not a desire to reduce the deficit (thought that is a bonus). Is about removing the safety net and universality from the system.

The TPA appears on programs as if its a mass movement, its not - I just wish it would not be given automatic speaking rights all the time.

Unknown said...

All the more reason for voters in Wales and Scotland to refrain from voting Labour or Tory - but vote for Plaid and the SNP.
I don't mind if English voters vote Lib Dem or Green ;-)

Unknown said...

One of the most hideous things I have ever read. I have blogged about this. Dylan Jones-Evans is no longer a credible spokesperson for the economy. Any criticism he now makes of the Welsh Government will be blunted because they'll just say 'you endorsed a TPA report'. The TPA is a political front.