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STAG leaves the TaxPayers Alliance after doctrinal disgareement

posted 25 Nov 2013, 02:43 by Peter Webb   [ updated 13 Dec 2013, 04:35 ]

It is contended the citizen taxpayer’s interest is primarily if immeasurably affected by the quality of government. There is very poor quality on widespread evidence  in the fields of Governance embracing management, operational performance, financial control and accountability(and see here at The STAG Says). The TPA under the banner of Better Government seems strangely quiet. An exception is the wholesale reform proposal The Single Income Tax but which will go nowhere without implementation. A timed super-project for tax simplification is an expressed STAG wish. There is no dispute anywhere that the tax system must be simplified, but virtually nothing is being done to achieve that in a managed way. Across the board there is much noise but little music.

 It has long been a disappointment that the TPA does not support, even disagrees with, efforts to get local authorities to adopt the Annual Report process for signing off with elections for continuation in office. This in accordance with the conventional purposes, norms, and   standards for the accountability process across the spectrum of institutions (government excepted) from members club to PLC.

 Unwillingness to join or actively support these efforts seems to based on the mistaken idea that accounting for government and politics differs from accounting for private and commercial trading and profit. But accountability is about the discharge of accountability for performance by report of the principal to the member, subscriber or investor. There is everywhere the democratic imperative of election for which total performance should be known.  WHY DOES GOVERNMENT AVOID THIS ?

 The sectional and tribal tendency of political parties drives them to seek to dominate, even subvert,  the State and its citizens. They do not themselves account to their members in the full sense. They carry with them the mentality of the secret society.  Perhaps the TPA has this mentality, possiblyto avoid embarrassing the political masters it wants to support or with whom it has ties.

 I don’t believe that the TPA realises the contradictions in its own beliefs. It doesn’t believe in advocating the purposes, norms and standards of accountability. But then it tries to re-invent the wheel by promoting primitive data (in local authorities) which does not inform or communicate. It amounts to no more than lists of payments over £500. These while harmless beg questions requiring council staff time because amounting to obfuscation rather than illumination. They also ignore the whole body of reporting and decision-aiding techniques developed over generations of industrial need and experience. 

 In the wider context  where the TPA is also silent, the failure of governance, in spite of all protestations and quangos culls etc , has not been attributed, except possibly by Margaret Hodge Chair of the PAC. The weak Treasury is at the root of the problem. It seems that the political will has been for the treasury to BE weak in the short term. A strong treasury would take on responsibilities currently fragmented across government plus select committee where they exist, for such as managerial infrastructure and ‘reporting up’. A CFO at the cabinet table is needed.