by John O'Connell, Chief Executive
It's a truth, unfortunately not universally acknowledged, that not all countries have started on the path to socialist ruin with hardline socialist governments.
The march to statism doesn't only happen with the guys in army uniforms, though they usually pop up when everything starts going wrong. It is sometimes more of a slow creep. Since the post-war consensus, socialist policies have popped up across the political spectrum. Conservatives - both small and big c - opt for more state intervention too. And state interventions mean taxpayers are hit in the pocket.
For every Labour spending spree, there's been a Tory tax rise. Whether it be a nasty council tax rise in the leafy shires, or a ham-fisted market intervention by government in Whitehall, no political party has been immune. Statist thinking has underpinned many a manifesto and created socialist policies in even the unlikeliest of places. As we've watched hard left communists destroy countries overseas, we've all too often missed the high tax, big state consensus at home.
Corporatism, too, means that taxpayer interests play second fiddle. Younger generations currently embracing socialism - whatever its form - have understandably confused corporatism with free markets. The relationship between state and some business interests means that genuine competition is subdued - and again, taxpayers and consumers lose out as a result.
That's why the TPA is proud to be a non-partisan organisation that doesn't pull its punches. If politicians of any stripe want to try and put up taxes, expand the government, limit competition and beef up the state - we'll stand against it.
The erosion of freedoms, be it personal or economic, logically conclude with the horrors endured by people in countries around the world over the last century - with the current situation in Venezuela offering the most recent insight.
But taxpayers in the UK face their own problems, too. A zealous public health lobby who want to dictate what you eat and drink, who think nothing of using the tax system as lever to tighten the noose around taxpayers’ necks; over-regulation that locks out competition and means costs for consumers; the highest burden of taxation in almost 50 years, with politicians taxing you when you fly, drink, smoke, drink, buy property, protect your family with insurance, earn a living, heat your home, run a business and more; a bureaucracy, media and civil society heavily weighted towards taxing and spending more money, whatever the perceived problem might be.
That’s why we have launched this campaign. We don't want the UK to become a socialist country by stealth. Because from the horrors of dictatorship overseas down to the erosion of economic freedom right here, it’s ultimately taxpayers who pay for it all. And the TPA is proud to fight for UK taxpayers against any establishment.