More from Sunder Katwala

March 19, 2009 9:17 AM

Sunder Katwala, General Secretary of the Fabian Society, is still persisting in his faintly ludicrous attempt to try and define our group for us.  Apparently, instead of debating issues he prefers some kind of taxonomical debate over how we should be described.


The TaxPayers’ Alliance has no party preference.  The slide Mr. Katwala thinks is so important merely highlighted a number of groups that have promoted the limited government, free market views generally associated with conservatism in the United Kingdom.  The Conservative Party is often seen as a part of that movement and so is the TaxPayers’ Alliance.  That doesn’t mean that we owe any kind of loyalty to the Conservative Party or have any preference for them.  We have criticised and praised all parties at various points and have no institutional preference for any of them above any other.


Both the British National Party and the Fabian Society have promoted increased government intervention in the economy.  Does that mean the Fabians have a party preference for the BNP?


Clearly not, though they can be described as both being members of the broad group pushing for a greater role for the state in the economy.  In the same way, our preference for smaller, more efficient government and free markets makes us a part of a broad movement, often described as conservative, but does not mean we have an institutional preference for a particular political party that has taken up similar objectives.


As to Mr. Katwala’s list of approved frames in journalistic reporting on the TaxPayers’ Alliance, there are many ways of describing our group.  We aren’t going to go dictating to journalists which they should use.


Journalists may choose to highlight our ideological position, and there are a thousand ways of doing so.  They could also highlight that we are Britain’s leading, independent, grassroots campaign for lower taxes and less waste in public spending.


To be balanced, if they want to focus on ideological positions, they should do so across the ideological spectrum.  Too often journalists preface right-wing groups or individuals with their ideological preference but avoid doing so with left-wing groups.  If we’re the right-wing anti-taxation campaign, The TaxPayers’ Alliance then the Fabians are the left-wing, pro-taxation campaign, the Fabian Society.


In our view it would be better, when discussing political campaigns like ours, to leave all this ad hominem nonsense behind.


As far as Mr. Katwala’s token attempt to address the substance of our positions goes, the TaxPayers’ Alliance exists as a response to a particular set of circumstances prevailing at the start of the twenty first century.  We are opposed to all tax rises as the British public is bearing far too high a burden already.  As a pragmatic group, we’re not here to speculate about the hypothetical scenarios in which our mission might need to be reviewed.

Sunder Katwala, General Secretary of the Fabian Society, is still persisting in his faintly ludicrous attempt to try and define our group for us.  Apparently, instead of debating issues he prefers some kind of taxonomical debate over how we should be described.


The TaxPayers’ Alliance has no party preference.  The slide Mr. Katwala thinks is so important merely highlighted a number of groups that have promoted the limited government, free market views generally associated with conservatism in the United Kingdom.  The Conservative Party is often seen as a part of that movement and so is the TaxPayers’ Alliance.  That doesn’t mean that we owe any kind of loyalty to the Conservative Party or have any preference for them.  We have criticised and praised all parties at various points and have no institutional preference for any of them above any other.


Both the British National Party and the Fabian Society have promoted increased government intervention in the economy.  Does that mean the Fabians have a party preference for the BNP?


Clearly not, though they can be described as both being members of the broad group pushing for a greater role for the state in the economy.  In the same way, our preference for smaller, more efficient government and free markets makes us a part of a broad movement, often described as conservative, but does not mean we have an institutional preference for a particular political party that has taken up similar objectives.


As to Mr. Katwala’s list of approved frames in journalistic reporting on the TaxPayers’ Alliance, there are many ways of describing our group.  We aren’t going to go dictating to journalists which they should use.


Journalists may choose to highlight our ideological position, and there are a thousand ways of doing so.  They could also highlight that we are Britain’s leading, independent, grassroots campaign for lower taxes and less waste in public spending.


To be balanced, if they want to focus on ideological positions, they should do so across the ideological spectrum.  Too often journalists preface right-wing groups or individuals with their ideological preference but avoid doing so with left-wing groups.  If we’re the right-wing anti-taxation campaign, The TaxPayers’ Alliance then the Fabians are the left-wing, pro-taxation campaign, the Fabian Society.


In our view it would be better, when discussing political campaigns like ours, to leave all this ad hominem nonsense behind.


As far as Mr. Katwala’s token attempt to address the substance of our positions goes, the TaxPayers’ Alliance exists as a response to a particular set of circumstances prevailing at the start of the twenty first century.  We are opposed to all tax rises as the British public is bearing far too high a burden already.  As a pragmatic group, we’re not here to speculate about the hypothetical scenarios in which our mission might need to be reviewed.

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