Union funded fact-checkers get fat cheques for false facts

Richard Murphy, of the Tax Justice Network, has hurled incorrect accusations at the Adam Smith Institute. Remarkable for a nominee for 'left wing thinker of the year'

Tax Justice Network positions itself precariously
The Commentator
On 19 September 2012 10:31

Licentious government spending got us into this fine economic mess, but now even union-funded mouthpieces are criticizing where the state places its cash.

But this isn’t a fight for less government spending, it’s a fight against what the unions believe is taxpayer funding for ‘right wing’ interests.

In a recent rogue tweet, Richard Murphy, representative and champion of the curiously named ‘Tax Justice Network’ accused one Thatcherite think-tank, the Adam Smith Institute, of receiving government money.

The Adam Smith Institute is 70% government funded and pays its director £1.3 million a year. Why?ht.ly/dOZ5L

Apparently Murphy got confused between the company ‘Adam Smith International’ and the think-tank, the ‘Adam Smith Institute’ (ASI). An easy mistake to make – unless part of your day job is to attack free-market organisations such as the ASI.

A source at the Adam Smith Institute told The Commentator:

“It’s no surprise to see this ludicrous failure to fact check from a man whose entire body of work reflects his inability to get things right. We hope he’ll now apologise.”

But Richard Murphy’s agenda becomes clear when you look at his dated blog and at the Tax Justice Network’s Annual Accounts for the past few years.

Murphy is quite transparent with the fact that he receives money from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), who he says he ‘advises’ on taxation issues. The TUC is of course, the organisation that was embroiled in the ‘Thatcher death t-shirt’ furore at its conference last week. No wonder Murphy is so keen to attack a Thatcherite think-tank.

He also lists as one of his main funders, the Public and Commercial Services Union, and one of our favourite old outlets, Greenpeace International.

The Network for Social Change, another of Murphy’s funders, lists as its goals to; ‘create a fairer sustainable economy, reduce income inequality and end asylum injustice’.

Interesting that this man positions himself as campaigner, hitting out at organisations for taxing government money, when he himself is in thrall to union paymasters and indeed, government itself.

His ‘Tax Justice Network’ itself took £18,654 from the UK Department for International Development last year - a fact that will mire the organisation in calls hypocrisy for criticising DFID's funding of Adam Smith International.

They also received £55,000 from ‘Eurogrant’ a company that describes itself as providing ‘comprehensive services related to the acquisition of EU subsidies’. That’s right – an organization dedicated entirely to helping people get EU subsidies.

Another £44,682 came from Christian Aid, a charity which recently released a report entitled, ‘False profits: Robbing the poor to keep the rich tax free’ and which has recently championed the ‘Robin Hood tax’ – a tax on transactions.

Despite his clear motivations, Murphy is a constant contributor to BBC news programmes – not just for balanced debates, but as an authority on taxation issues – another nail in the coffin for Britain’s most biased broadcaster.

Earlier in the year, Tim Worstall, a senior fellow at the Adam Smith Institute highlighted how Murphy doesn’t believe in objective truths (or ‘facts’) on economic matters. Perhaps this is then why he is so loose with the facts when casting aspersions onto think-tanks and their employees.

Murphy was nominated by the Left Foot Forward blog for the ‘Most Influential Left Wing Thinker 2011’ – an award which perhaps reflects the criteria required to be considered ‘influential’ in left wing circles: inaccurate, hypocritical and prone to a serious dose of Thatcher-hating.

Richard Murphy was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.


Murphy appears to be digging a hole. The Commentator's sources say that while Adam Smith International was indeed founded by a former Adam Smith Institute staffer, the organisations have 'had no links for a decade'.

@asi Adam Smith International and Adam Smith Institute are intimately linked: one spun from other and promote same aims. Where's the issue?


Looks like after our story, Murphy is finally climbing down: "For the sake of clarity:I said earlier today Adam Smith Institute is gov't funded. It isn't.Adam Smith International is."

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