As the IEA gets a doing today, remember Reporting Scotland’s fondness for such ‘independent’ think-tanks in 2014?


On BBC Politics Live today, Mark Little, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs looked as if he might burst a blood vessel as their interviewer pushed him to reveal who funds the IEA. They showed secret film of him boasting of his access to politicians and evidence of donations from the extreme right in the USA. Another two men representing The Taxpayer’s Alliance and the Academy of Ideas promptly went beetroot-red too. Hiding something gentlemen?


It’s worth a watch:

As I watched, my mind returned to 2014 when Reporting Scotland made regular use of research reports of variable reliability often from ‘independent’ thinktanks, to undermine the case for Scottish independence. In the year from 17th September 2012 to 18th September 2013, they used such sources to attack independence 22 times while only reporting 4 times on research favourable to it.

Then in the four months before UK General Election of 2015, they used such reports to undermine the case for independence 36 times with none supporting it.

To find where the IEA stands on Scottish independence requires no great research expertise. From their own site:

Scottish independence and the sterling-zone controversy

Healthcare in Scotland: Careful what you wish for, ‘Yes’ campaigners

Against subsidised home rule: Why Scotland should pay for its own healthcare

In further evidence of their impartiality, the previous DG of the IEA, John Blundell, campaigned for the privatisation of Scottish water and predicted the death of Scottish farming in the EU:

To finish, here’s Mark in 2014 on how the English model for health provision could improve things in Scotland:

‘Allowing complete freedom of choice and empowering people to choose private commissioners and providers will promote competition across the health sector. This will see hospitals, as well as GP surgeries and commissioning groups, competing to look after the health care of all Britons, as their livelihood will depend on it.’

The IEA’s paper argued that the health services in Scotland have suffered as a result of not introducing the type of market reforms pioneered by Labour in England.

I guess he has private health provision but if the company goes bust, he might think of moving up here before his blood pressure goes the same way.