Good riddance to bad rubbish.
This Blog has followed the career – if you can call it that – of the creature that currently calls itself ‘Grant Shapps’ for several years now. It is a catalogue of disgrace that would make normal men blush and could even provoke some Tories to dip into the drinks cabinet for fortification.
It is impossible to comment on the allegations that have forced the former Conservative Party chairman’s resignation from his latest job, as International Development Secretary.
It is claimed that he ignored repeated warnings over the actions of party youth organiser Mark Clarke, after the apparent suicide in September of Tory activist Elliot Johnson.
Mr Clarke has denied any wrongdoing and it would be wrong for This Blog to comment on the subject of an ongoing investigation.
It is telling, though, that Shapps has resigned over the mere allegation of his involvement in this matter.
This is the man who coined the term “spare room subsidy” as a euphemism for the Bedroom Tax and as an excuse to diddle social housing tenants out of the housing benefit they needed in order to keep a roof over their heads. He said the removal of this “subsidy” (which was never enshrined in UK law) was necessary to free up “a million empty bedrooms in this country” for the use of “so many people in desperate need of a house”.
It would have been fine if that was what happened, but in fact the Bedroom Tax meant large families were unwilling to move into social rented dwellings with two or more bedrooms because they feared the possibility that these homes would be taken away from them, just as soon as any of the children became old enough to move out. With the previous tenants having been evicted for skipping rent payments, this left the properties free to be sold off to developers at rock-bottom prices – to be converted into luxury dwellings for the obscenely rich.
This is the man who claimed that new assessment criteria in the work capability assessment medical test for people on incapacity benefits meant 878,000 people had dropped their claim before taking it – when in fact this total was entirely due to the natural wastage you get from people getting better or finding work they can do while ill.
This is the man who threw a hissy fit after the UN special investigator on housing, Raquel Rolnik, described the Bedroom Tax’s effect on the vulnerable as “shocking”. He said she had not been invited to the UK by the Conservative-led Government, even though it was the Tories who gave the Brazilian housing and architecture academic permission to carry out the study.” When this was exposed as a lie, Shapps joined fellow Tories including Iain Duncan Smith and attacked her for her racial origin, national background, and beliefs – political and personal.
This is the man who claimed the BBC should face a cut in its licence fee or be forced to share it with other broadcasters unless it rebuilt public trust after receiving bad publicity over payouts to top executives and the way it handled the Jimmy Savile scandal – a claim that would have had more impact if Shapps himself did not have his own issues over trustworthiness.
This is the man who, as ‘Michael Green’, in the run-up to the 2005 election and afterwards, “charged clients £183 an hour for advice on how to make money from the web as well as offering tips on how to beat the recession blues, including splashing out on a jet-ski or learning to play the guitar,” according to the Daily Mail. Apparently he said his use of the name was to keep his business interests separate from his future political work, but he said he had ended his involvement with that business before entering Parliament when in fact his involvement stopped in 2009, four years after he entered Parliament. ‘Sebastian Fox’ was another alias he used on Howtocorp, the web publishing company he created in 2000.
The nature of the web marketing business was also criticised in the media. The 20/20 Challenge publication cost $497 and promised customers earnings of $20,000 in 20 days. Upon purchase, the “toolkit” was revealed to be an ebook advising the user to create their own toolkit and recruit 100 “Joint Venture Partners” to resell it for a share of the profits – in other words, a pyramid scheme.
This is the man who, following on from these shady practices, said Ed Miliband could never run the UK because he had never run a business in his life.
This is the man the Labour Party claimed should be suspended and an investigation launched under the ministerial code of conduct after the police said one of his companies may have committed “an offence of fraud”. The Metropolitan Police had stated in a letter that the company’s sales of TrafficPaymaster software, that ‘spins and scrapes’ content from other websites, “may constitute an offence of fraud, among others”, but that this would not be investigated further. The official Tory line was that there was no case to answer.
This is the man who has been described as “Britain’s Most Perennially-Caught-Out Serial Liar” due to all of the above – and now he has resigned over an unproved allegation.
Make of that what you will. At least he’s gone.
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