sackboris2012Being criticised by the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance certainly reassures me I’m doing something right. I’ve come to their attention for having the temerity to oppose a second term for BoJo in London while – shockingly – continuing to live in Edinburgh. Having heard on the radio one morning that the King of Misrule was planning to run again with the help of a @backboris2012 Twitter account, I quickly jumped in and registered @sackboris2012 to give the other point of view.

I also bought the relevant domain name on a whim, and tweeted a small subset of Boris’s incompetence for a day or two. I then quickly realised I wouldn’t be able to give this enough time, so I dropped a few sensible friends in London a line offering to hand it over to them – some Greens, some not. Sian Berry, a former Green activist and former mayoral candidate herself, took it on through Common People, who I do think have done a great job with it. Their Oyster card holders with Sack Boris on them are all the rage, I understand.

Enter Mark Wallace, of anti-public service astroturf outfit the Taxpayers’ Alliance, who used the magic of the Allwhois public database to work out that Sian was involved with the Common People website, which in his mind makes it a Green front. Subsequently, Mr Wallace remembered how to use the same public database, and also established that I registered the domain. Or he wanted to spin one small non-story out into two even smaller non-stories.

We had a little Twitter back-and-forth, in which I thanked him for describing me as exalted, and in which he claimed that the TPA have members in Dundee, although he refused to tell me how many. Any view on that yet Mark? I’d settle for a number of Scottish members of your organisation, to be honest.

So far so silly. But it’s a real question. Should I be permitted to take an interest in London’s politics, just like the TPA take an interest in Dundee’s? Is this very minor instance of involvement in London politics somehow offside?

I don’t think so. I do have a direct interest, and not just as the holder of an Oyster card. As long as Scotland is part of the UK, Scots have a legitimate interest in how the capital is run. The TPA regularly fuels the myth of English taxes being used to subsidise Scotland, when they know fine well that London is the best-funded part of the UK. I have no problem with a decent level of funding for vital public services, but the taxes paid by Scots help to pay for services in the capital and Scots taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to ignore London politics.

Also, nobody should be at all surprised that Green activists (and ex-Green activists) do what they can in their spare time to oppose Boris Johnson’s campaign and Tory politics more generally. So do activists from across the left, and I doubt there’s anyone in the party who’s uncomfortable about this kind of thing. If I’d been a London resident for the last mayoral election I’d have absolutely voted Green 1, Labour 2 – Ken’s got some spectacular personality flaws and some serious policy blindspots, but an AV choice between him and the public-transport-hating blond buffoon wouldn’t exactly have been hard.

There is also a delicious irony to being accused by the Taxpayers Alliance of setting up a front organisation. They’re widely regarded as a partisan hard-right front organisation for the Tories’ ideological assault on public services. They unashamedly represent the interests of a tiny minority of very wealthy taxpayers, people who tend to engage in tax evasion tax avoidance tax efficiency, not the interests of the great majority who rely on and value public services.

And of course, like so many of the TPA’s core arguments, I’m afraid my title here is simply a lie. There is a decent organisation of that name which stands up for the interests of taxpayers, and they’re right here.