IF IT turns out to be true that organisations such as ourselves will be considered to be lobbyists under the proposed Lobbying Transparency Bill, we should all once again be reminded of the deeply pessimistic view of the political left about human nature.
All too often they assume that all lobbying is done in favour of a specific interest seeking personal gain. Leftist factions famously live in a world of political conspiracy and assume that everyone else does too, especially devious capitalists.
As one of the supporting founders of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, I can readily explain that the goal was to support the most generalised interest of all, that of apolitical taxpayers fleeced by an ever-expanding state.
Political scientists have been persuaded for years that the large state, under siege from a huge battalion of special interests, threatened to bankrupt us all in debt and deficit. That threat has turned out to be all too true; and we have been keen to persuade others that this is an empirically observable truth.
As your Leader rightly pointed out (25 July), describing that as lobbying akin to the special pleading of tax-funded special interests for more spending is an odd logic. Ironically, in the United States, our organisation would be described as a taxpayers’ union, which might make it exempt from the proposed legislation. In a world of leftist thinking, those of us who campaign for lower taxes are part of a neo-liberal conspiracy which must be regulated because our efforts threaten the aspirations of the statist collective. That’s a deeply undemocratic and totalitarian perspective.
The people of Scotland would benefit much more from transparency legislation that made every tax-funded entity publish the source and amount of its funding prominently on its website.
Then we would really be able to know who was doing the hidden lobbying – through implicit gains as sock puppet beneficiaries of statist solidarity.
Abercromby Place, Edinburgh