If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders?


by Sunny
20th December, 2010 at 10:02 am    

Iain Dale wrote a very muddled rant in the Mail on Sunday against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, combining the sex allegations, the claim that ‘WikiLeaks has revealed nothing really’, and the Andy Coulson story to generate outrage against ‘hypocritical lefties’.

In one paragraph we’re told he’s just published “purient gossip” and in the next paragraph we’re told that our national security is at risk from the man. Julian Assange’s ego is out of control… from the blogger who starts off by talking about how he caused a “minor stir” when he stopped blogging. It’s all par for the course, quite amusing, and easily ignored.

Two points need to be made. Dale says:

You’d have thought that The Guardian would be the first newspaper to support the concept that he should be judged under the rule of law. Its journalists are normally the first to assume that men who face court on rape charges are guilty. And yet here, they’ve done a volte-face.

They haven’t. They have actually published the most detailed account of the allegations so far (causing Assange’s lawyers to howl in outrage) and published an editorial saying the allegations should be investigated. Not sure what the volte-face is over.

Secondly, he says:

Julian Assange purports to believe in total openness – except when it comes to himself.

Erm – there is a difference between details of your private life being all over the media, and details of government policy or workings being released. Even Daily Mail readers (see the highest rated comments) understand that.

But if the right is suddenly interested in transparency and disclosure – why aren’t they demanding that the Taxpayers’ Alliance reveal how they are funded?

Representatives of the TPA are constantly in the media as commentators. They release reports that the media then dutifully regurgitates without fact-checking. They have also sister-organisations such as the Drivers’ Alliance and Big Brother Watch. And yet, despite constant requests, they don’t disclose who is funding them and where their funding comes from.

If you’re going to call for transparency – have some consistency please (not that I expect it, over transparency or free speech)

Update: It’s not just Iain Dale who’s confused, the idiots at Harry’s Place can’t tell the distinction between private and government secrecy either.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Party politics






42 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh


  2. Miranda

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh


  3. Jamie Merrill

    RT @sunny_hundal Blogged: If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh


  4. Lee Hyde

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh


  5. Chris Paul

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh


  6. Emily Davis

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh


  7. Morgan Dalton

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh


  8. Matt Jeffs

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh


  9. Ira

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : If Tories want transparency, why not ask the TPA to declare their funders? http://bit.ly/gzE6uh




  1. MaidMarian — on 20th December, 2010 at 10:13 am  

    First thing to say, I agree that the right should be telling us about how they are funded, but the rest Sunny looks like knee-jerk reaction. Assange has no one to blame but himself and the brand of ‘accountability’ he has championed.

    Assange is not being attacked by some evil empire or X-Files plot, as his media supporters would have us believe. He is being put under the instinctive suspicion and demonisation of anything that have been a main feature of his (and the left’s) ‘campaigning’ over the past decade. Assange is the one that told us all that wild expose, thinking-the-worst over-reaction, publication and media scrums are how people should be held to account. He can have no complaints now.

    You say

    ‘there is a difference between details of your private life being all over the media, and details of government policy or workings being released’

    Not what the ethos of Wikileaks would say. Wikileaks in the past has put details that would classically be regarded as private up. Wikileaks is no friend of privacy. And for that matter, the current leaks are by and large not policy or workings. They are private conversations.

    Unless, of course you think that the politics of expose don’t apply to Assange.

  2. MaidMarian — on 20th December, 2010 at 10:27 am  

    Sunny – Just one other thought on this too.

    ‘But if the right is suddenly interested in transparency and disclosure – why aren’t they demanding that the Taxpayers’ Alliance reveal how they are funded?’

    As much as I agree that they SHOULD tell us, I don’t think it is quite as clear-cut. Presumably there are corporate reporting requirements set out in law. As long as the TPA comply I’m not really sure what they are doing wrong. Anomymous donation is something I have mixed feelings about.

  3. jamal — on 20th December, 2010 at 10:53 am  

    Bigger issue is tax payers alliance not very vocal on big business, who avoid paying billions in taxes. Pretty obvious why tpa hide who funds them shock horror.

    Tax owed is lying in offshore accounts depriving uk of billions. Yet the tpa insist on going after small fish, so come on tpa show us your books and whose puppets are you really?

  4. ukliberty — on 20th December, 2010 at 11:11 am  

    In the case of the TPA, what difference would the source of funding make to the truth (or otherwise) of the statements?

  5. MaidMarian — on 20th December, 2010 at 11:22 am  

    ukliberty – On one level, I agree – hence I believe that if the TPA complies with the law, there is not much more to say.

    But, for example, if you saw some research on (say) climate change, would you want to know about the funding? People can put out there whatever they want to, but it is legitimate to ask who it is publishing propaganda. Truth is a rather flexible concept and it can be bent to the will of whoever pays.

    And though I don’t agree with the comparison with Assange, Sunny is right that there is something distasteful about an organisation screaming for openness whilst being secretive about itself.

  6. ukliberty — on 20th December, 2010 at 11:27 am  

    MaidMarian,

    But, for example, if you saw some research on (say) climate change, would you want to know about the funding? People can put out there whatever they want to, but it is legitimate to ask who it is publishing propaganda. Truth is a rather flexible concept and it can be bent to the will of whoever pays.

    Yes, that’s a fair point and I agree with your openness point too. I do think there is a risk of playing the man and not the ball, though. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.

  7. MaidMarian — on 20th December, 2010 at 11:33 am  

    ukliberty – Indeed, and that is the exact reason that I have so little sympathy for Assange.

  8. Rumbold — on 20th December, 2010 at 12:03 pm  

    Sunny, this isn’t your best work. If somebody else wrote on a similar subject you would accuse them of whataboutery (e.g “you are criticising the Israelis for human rights violations? What about the North Koreans, etc.”). There is something hypocritical about a man/organisation who preaches total transparency and then refuses similar questions about themselves. The TPA is a pressure group. It is fine to critique their arguments, and they shouldn’t be presented as impartial, but in this context their funders are irrelevant. As MaidMarian says, as long as they follow the rules.

  9. damon — on 20th December, 2010 at 1:57 pm  

    I thought Iain Dale’s article was alright. He makes some fair points. Julian Assange really needs to go back to Sweden and get all this cleared up.
    I quite like Iain Dale btw. He always sounds very calm. As for causing ‘a minor stir on the internet’ – well so he’s got a bit of an ego, but so have a lot of people. His blog was the number two political blog in the country a couple of months back.

    I tuned into his London radio programme the other day and his first story of the evening was the one about the Iraqi Kurdish asylum seeker who knocked over a young girl, then ran away and left her to die under the wheels of the car. Dale said he should have been deported … which is quite right wing and controversial, but it’s what perhaps a majority of people in Britain might say too. But a liberal leftie person would be aghast at the idea of that, as the guy had started his own family since coming out of prison. What about his human rights etc?

    Instead of fighting and bickering, I think the left and right should just agree that they see things differently and leave it at that.

    Another good example of this left verses ”right” split can be seen in the story that Harry’s place have done today about the Palestinian guy who had been in Belmarsh prison and then on a control order, being killed in action in Afghanistan.
    Sometimes the right … is right.

    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/12/20/al-qaeda-militant-killed-in-afghanistan-was-amnesty-cageprisoners-guardian-indie-pin-up/

  10. jamal — on 20th December, 2010 at 4:24 pm  

    So we cannot ask about TPA who is funding them or what is their real agenda, say what??

    TPa act like they the spokespeople for everyday folk fighting for tax abuses, but when it comes to big business and tax they turn on the mute button.

  11. Macc — on 20th December, 2010 at 4:36 pm  

    I’m not one of the many conspiracy theorists who believes the case agasint Assange is the product of American intelligences services, I have faith in the Swedish legal system. And I think it is one of the least likely places to come under American influence.

    Therefore I believe its is important for Assange to face his charges at the earliest opportunity. Because as long as his own legal predicament is front and centre of the media agenda (something that is much more probably subject to government influence) the real public interest (i.e. the cables) is relegated to the inside section.

  12. Truth — on 20th December, 2010 at 6:28 pm  

    Sunny’s right. Even the Guardian has dropped its support for the rapist Julian Assange.

    Leaving Jemima Khan, John Pilger and Sunny as fervid supporters of the rapist Julian Assange.

  13. Truth — on 20th December, 2010 at 6:32 pm  

    Sorry. That should read: “alleged rapist” of course.

  14. Don — on 20th December, 2010 at 7:12 pm  

    Truth,

    Wow, if Truth is here everything is clear.

    The charges against Assange are irrelevant to the leaks. I agree with Hari’s position.

    http://johannhari.com//2010/12/07/julian-assange-has-made-us-all-safer

  15. Shami — on 20th December, 2010 at 9:22 pm  

    Sorry Don – in fact Wikileaks has justy done the opposite and made the world less transparent -

    how in the hell has it made us more safe – pls tell me

  16. Shamit — on 20th December, 2010 at 11:57 pm  

    In fact idiots like Johann Hari, John Pilger continuously trying to paint terrorism as “its all our fault” is either naive or just following the adage of my ideological “enemy’s” enemy is my friend.

    Otherwise, how could one say argue for Milosevic like Pilger did or forget that one of the Glasgow bombers was an Indian whose family is well off and well regarded in India. So there was no reason for him to attack – his homeland wasn’t attacked and neither was his family, friends. But Hari conveniently forgets that in his article defending a megalomaniac.

    More importantly, what these well educated “idiots” forget – these assholes who blow innocent people up are actually going against the ethos of the religion they are supposedly defending.

    And, the actual defenders of Iraq turned against Al-Qaeda and the Shia militants and supported the American led forces by their sheer torture and killing of innocent people. Whether in Anwar or in Basra -it happend. But Pilger and Hari does not.

    Let’s not try to lionise either Assange or Wikileaks. Irresponsible at best and dangerous at worse in the case of Wikileaks – and as for Assange, hey everyone in the world must be held accountable except for the Wikileaks editor and his organisation. Who works for Wikileaks? We have no right to know. But Wikileaks has the right to know the advice the Secretary of State is giving the President of the United States.

    I am getting really tired of people defending this asshole Assange and his organisation in a typical “can’t we all get along” attitude of the left that refuses to take responsibility of running anything.

    Hope no one forgot the guy in the White House has done more for the lefty cause than all the commentators and the so called “oh we are liberal” fucking crowd.

  17. Shamit — on 21st December, 2010 at 12:02 am  

    Sunny today on twitter wanted people to read an article about how Obama got his Defense Secretary and Chairman of Joint Chiefs to work out how best to go about repealing DADT. And rightly so. It shows how politics and governance in real life works – its not a club of people patting each other’s backs. Its about persuasion and ensuring there is a legitimate process to implementing decisions.

    If Wikileaks had its way, it would have wanted the President to hold that meeting on You Tube and publish those memos and legal findings on wikileaks – and guess what dumbasses, DADT would not have been repealed.

    So, grow the fuck up people – and what about if Middle Eastern intelligence agencies and foreign ministries refuse to share intel on terrorists with us because of Wikileaks – and then people died. What then? Oh its just collateral damage and truth will have to come out would say Assange.

    If he is so for the truth why doesn’t he go to Sweden and clear his fucking name.

    grateful to Assange – my ass.

  18. earwicga — on 21st December, 2010 at 12:04 am  

    So Shamit, just to be clear, you don’t approve of WikiLeaks then?

  19. Shamit — on 21st December, 2010 at 12:24 am  

    Earwicga –

    I do not like Wikileaks –

    - because its unaccountable while it wants accountability from everyone;

    - so far especially in its latest batch of “opinion” release has made transparency more difficult:

    I have a good example – ever since the law came into place where all emails and memos of the Executive Branch had to be kept and could be subpoenaed by Congress or forced by Courts to turn over to Congress – there has been very little real record keeping of decision making.

    In fact one of the biggest decisions in recent times made in the White House, which included Congressional leadership, the Federal Reserve, The Treasury of the bailout of the US financial system – numbers and ideas were written on napkins – because legally that;s all that could be thrown out. So you see the danger there –

    Wikileaks and its call for transparency at all levels such that every conversation or email between a cabinet member and the President has to be public would first stop out of the box ideas and second force people to go around it.

    And on top that the megalomania of assange and the contempt shown by assange and his supporters towards the victims of rape just the final reason that sort of blew my top.

    And please – somehow gaddafi having a blonde nurse is apparently very useful and transparent but it is not transparent or appropriate for this little piece of shit to go to Sweden and answer the prosecutor’s questions.

    So yes, while I had sympathy with Wikileaks initially when it first started – lately its just become a egomaniac’s private toy to play with the world – sorry that’s unacceptable. Especially when he claims Wikileaks cannot be held to account while everyone else should be.

  20. Sunny — on 21st December, 2010 at 12:33 am  

    lol at @earwicga.

    Rumbold: I agree the TPA is a pressure group. And WikiLeaks is a private publishing entity. It’s not even based in one country. So why should it have to reveal its funding sources more than the TPA should?

    This isn’t whataboutery – it’s simply to say that Tories have selective standards on transparency.

    I’m still 100% supportive of WikiLeaks of course. But Dale’s muddled rant didn’t even make any sense.

    Lastly, I swear Spiked online are paying damon to plug them at every comment. I can’t think of any other explanation.

  21. earwicga — on 21st December, 2010 at 1:23 am  

    Shamit – I am in total agreement with you re Assange answering the allegations. And yes, there is much contempt towards the women making the allegations, and horrible rape myths being bandied around because of this.

    I’m still not sure what I think of WikiLeaks.

  22. damon — on 21st December, 2010 at 1:28 am  

    You are as ideological as Spiked are though Sunny, don’t you think? Over the climate issue for example.
    I didn’t even mention them in this thread, but just one story from Harry’s Pace which I thought was worth looking at and is the kind of story that just doesn’t get covered on PP or LC.
    HP are overly ideologically driven too IMO.
    I tend to be be somwhere between all of those sites I’ve mentioned and try not to be ideological.

    The TPA? Who on earth are they even? They don’t have a high profile as far as I’m aware. They’re as about as interesting as UKIP.

  23. Sunny — on 21st December, 2010 at 1:57 am  

    Oh I’m completely ideological… though that’s the politics side. You can separate the science from the politics on climate – which the people at Spiked can’t. They think everything is a conspiracy against freedom.

    That said, my point was about you posting links to them all the time these days, if that were relevant

  24. damon — on 21st December, 2010 at 3:16 am  

    For me it’s not really about the science, as I couldn’t understand that anyway, but can agree with them when they slag off some of the more ‘Climate Rush’ kind of activists, because that seems like activism for activism’s sake. It’s not actually going to do anything in the real world.
    I do understand that between your views and their’s that there is little common ground as it’s an ideological fault line.

    It’s a pity things are like that, but that’s the way it is. The ‘fault line’ itself is a most interesting area for me, but, like with a Northern Ireland forum that I also read, there seems to rarely be common ground, just adversarial positions to be argued.

    Personally I’d like it if there was more of a cross-over between my favourite blogs, as I think they all have strengths and weaknesses. And from the pure left, accept that populism has some legitimacy and that fighting the good fight can also get a bit boring sometimes.
    Maybe that’s one of the things you don’t ‘get’ about the Spiked people. It’s too much of a step.

  25. DSD — on 21st December, 2010 at 3:44 am  

    MaidMarian is still a typical fascist and it’s no surprise the morons on here are against Assange.

  26. DSD — on 21st December, 2010 at 3:45 am  

    Especially that bint dumbold!

  27. Sarah AB — on 21st December, 2010 at 6:16 am  

    Spiked is fun – if a bit strange – and too repetitive to read regularly.

    I think I agree with Sunny’s reservations about the logic of the Dale piece – though I’m at best ambivalent about Wikileaks. Are you really 100% supportive of Wikileaks Sunny?! Even the Israel Shamir connection?

    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/12/14/israel-shamir-and-his-son-are-official-wikileaks-gatekeepers/

    I think that article also sums up my own response to wikileaks too.

  28. MaidMarian — on 21st December, 2010 at 10:15 am  

    Sunny –

    1) Spiked is an excellent read. I don’t agree with all of it. Their view of ex-Yugoslavia (coloured by the old LM) is particularly disappointing. But it is challenging and it has a quality of writing that knocks spots off most media outlets.

    2) On Wikileaks/Assange, I think that Tony Benn made a good point when he said that we should ask five questions.

    What power have you got?
    Where did you get it from?
    In whose interest do you exercise it?
    To whom are you accountable?
    And how can I get rid of you?

    I don’t like how Assange fits into that, quite aside from the allegations against him.

    3) You say, ‘I agree the TPA is a pressure group. And WikiLeaks is a private publishing entity. It’s not even based in one country.’ Surely openness is a wonderful end in itself or not, regardless of public/private or location? Wikileaks believes in no secrets, surely no secrets means none – so they should name thier sources?

    4) There is an interesting question to be asked (in the context of the TPA) about anonymous donations. On one level, donating could be a sign of civil participation and if privacy helps then so be it. On the other hand, groups publishing propaganda and demanding openness should be open about their funding – it’s a tough one.

  29. Sunny — on 21st December, 2010 at 3:47 pm  

    Sarah – it all looks like people speculating with others adding scary quotes and more speculation, and then a pic of some guy standing over Assange with the caption: “look at him! doesn’t he look anti-semitic to you? What does that say about Assange? Is he also absorbing those vibes? I bet he is. You can just feel it…”

    yada yada. There’s no established fact in that post. Just a whole bunch of speculation and hearsay that looks like conspiracy bollocks. Pretty much what I expect from Alan A these days.

  30. Sarah AB — on 21st December, 2010 at 8:33 pm  

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/14/the-assange-employees

    I suppose it’s difficult to be sure of the authenticity of any such story – but the link above seems to give more info at least.

  31. reminder — on 22nd December, 2010 at 1:01 am  

    Sunny: If you can’t spot a problem with a known antisemite and conspiracy theorist being given a privileged position in an organisation such as Wikileaks then you are either having a daft moment or being disingenuous.

    Noone is calling Assange an antisemite by association. Unless I’m misreading his footnote, Alan A is simply pointing out one of the weakness of Wikileaks as it is today. Their slack approach to weeding out cranks could prove pretty detrimental to their otherwise (mostly) good work.

    As for tell[ing] the distinction between private and government secrecy, is this the same Wikileaks who published the home addresses of the entire BNP membership a year or so ago? Not that there’s anything wrong with that in my eyes: I’m happy to see the scum treated as such. But clearly that was a case of a breach of “private secrecy” (as you call it) and not governmental.

    I’ve already said – I’m happy for there to be one rule for the BNP and another for the rest of us. But are you Sunny? Because it’s the only way you can defend that argument.

  32. ukliberty — on 22nd December, 2010 at 9:38 am  

    damon,

    Another good example of this left verses ”right” split can be seen in the story that Harry’s place have done today about the Palestinian guy who had been in Belmarsh prison and then on a control order, being killed in action in Afghanistan.
    Sometimes the right … is right.

    It’s right to detain people without trial, is it?

  33. ukliberty — on 22nd December, 2010 at 9:42 am  

    I’m increasingly persuaded by Shamit’s case against WikiLeaks. MaidMarian makes the point too with Tony Benn’s question about power.

    (I’m not sure about the napkins thing though and I would like a cite! I first read about things written on napkins in a great book called Bombardiers.)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.