Monday, November 09, 2009

The TaxPayers' Alliance jumps the duck

The TaxPayers' Alliance has had a lot of success in getting media coverage, even though it clearly has no right to speak for taxpayers - in other words the entire population of Britain.

Especially when its own director has admitted that he does not pay British taxes because he lives in France.

Perhaps that gives us a clue as to why the Taxpayers' Alliance has so misunderstood the British people today.

The Alliance has been widely quoted as criticising the fire service in Gloucestershire for rescuing a duck that was trapped in a water pipe. According to the Independent a spokeswoman for the Alliance said:
"Whilst no one likes to see a duck suffering, animal rescue is not the central job of the fire service. In this case there were no emergency calls pending, but calls can crop up at the last minute which could be much more pressing than the rescue of a duck."
They are obviously very bright over at the TaxPayers' Alliance. Because they are absolutely right. Animal rescue is not the central job of the fire service.

(If you are not as bright of them and are in doubt as to the central job of the fire service, there is a clue in its name.)

Amazingly, though, the same thought had occurred to the Gloucestershire Fire Service. The Independent report quotes Chris Barton from Stroud Fire Station as saying that if there had been an emergency the crew would have broken off from the duck rescue and returned later.

Isn't it remarkable how sensible some people can be, even if they are not clever enough to work for right-wing think tanks?

The trouble is, people who work for right-wing think tanks tend to be the sort of people who can imagine nothing better than an evening at home sniffing their money. Dead ducks mean nothing to them.

Give me the British people's sentimentality about animals instead.


Simon Titley said...

There is now a useful antidote to the Taxpayers' Alliance:

Jon Whitehose said...

Most fire services, including Gloucestershire, now describe themselves as "Fire and Rescue Services" to reflect the fact that their mission to protect life and property goes well beyond putting out fires and also embraces dealing with road accidents, rescues from water and so on.

Not often ducks though.

When I worked at a county council in the late 1990s I was surprised to discover Fire Services had no statutory duty to provide rescue services. This was due to change but I don't know if the legislation ever went through.

crewegwyn said...

The fire service of Bangor, North Wales, once changed a tyre on my car - on a Sunday!

Boy, were they quick! Of course, it helped that their jack was about the size of my Metro !!

Matt Wardman said...


Dead ducks = lunch or the Wintertons.