Waste Bashing Wonks

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: The Bumper Book of Government Waste: The scandal of the squandered billions from Lord Irvine’s wallpaper to EU saunas has had a massive amount of media coverage. The book lists £82bn of government waste and the message is hitting home.

The Treasury fielded the financial secretary, John Healey, to bat against it when it was launched. Healey sees himself as an attack dog, but is really more of an attack puppy. He tried the New Labour tactic of rubbishing it (without reading it). Healy described it as shoddy and not worthy of serious consideration. So why field a Treasury minister to rubbish it?

Something tells Guido that Matthew Elliott is getting under the skin of the Treasury. The polite, mild mannered CEO of the Taxpayers’ Alliance is deceptive, beneath the Clark Kent exterior is a superman of a campaigner. The former aide to David Davis is building a relatively broad anti-tax alliance which will make a strong case to a future Conservative government for the proceeds of growth to be shared with taxpayers. It is strategically advantageous for the Tories that there is a non-party grassroots lobby for lower taxes besides the business lobby. Gordon’s penchant for tax and waste is a rich vein of opportunity for the Tories. If they themselves are not willing to make the case, than the quietly combative Elliott will have to lead the charge.


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Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”

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