Category Archives: Corruption

If Tory donors don’t influence government policy, why would they pay such huge amounts?

Grant Shapps: he 

Reality check: the super-rich never pay money for nothing.

So Grant Shapps’s claim on the Thursday morning (August 5) media round that Tory donors have “no influence” on Tory government policy already looks dodgy, before we even go into it in any depth.

Now consider the fact that the people he was discussing have been giving at least £50,000 to join a so-called ‘Leader’s Group’ and have access to the Tory leader/prime minister – and more than five times as much (a quarter of a million pounds per year – to be in the so-called ‘Advisory Board’ (unless they were friends of Ben Elliot, allegedly).

Leader’s Group. Advisory Board. Those are not the names of clubs whose members have ” no influence”. Quite the opposite.

It is true that political parties rely on funding for their existence – from party members and from donors. They don’t manufacture anything that is sellable, after all.

But they do provide a particular service – or at least they say they do – which is to run the affairs of the United Kingdom according to a clearly-defined policy platform.

Most of us – including rank and file party members – get very little say in how those policies are shaped.

But now we come back to that issue of very rich people paying astronomical sums of money purely to be told the policies they are supporting at occasional events – as Shapps wants us to believe.

It simply isn’t plausible.

There needs to be an investigation into these schemes. How are donors enticed into contributing, what are they told they get in return, and what do they actually get?

If Shapps says his party adheres to Electoral Commission rules, then he should not object to an investigation.

In fact, the Electoral Commission should be empowered to run undercover investigations.

It seems to This Writer that the best way to make sure the sleazy Tories stick to the straight-and-narrow is to make them fear prosecution and punishment if they don’t.

Shapps himself was once called “Britain’s most perennially caught-out serial liar” and a glance at his career makes the reason clear.

At least we haven’t heard anything about his aliases Sebastian Fox and Michael Green for a while.

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How will minister be punished for replacing phone before it could be searched?

Lord Bethell: he previously claimed he never used his private accounts for official business so we know he’s a liar. Shouldn’t he be sacked by the Tory government?

The answer is that Lord Bethell probably won’t be punished at all.

But if he were involved in a criminal investigation (and he might as well be – as the awarding of many deals for supply of Personal Protective Equipment to Tory chums and/or donors who were incapable of providing it seems extremely crooked) and he ditched the evidence, he would be charged with a crime.

Here are the facts:

Labour has called for an inquiry into the use of WhatsApp within the government, after it emerged a health minister replaced his mobile phone before it could be searched for information relevant to £85m of deals that are subject to a legal challenge.

James Bethell, who oversaw the award of Covid contracts, is one of those under scrutiny over the way deals for personal protective equipment (PPE) and tests were allocated at the height of the pandemic.

As part of legal proceedings issued by the Good Law Project, the government is expected to disclose Lord Bethell’s correspondence including by email, WhatsApp and SMS relating to the award of £85m of contracts for antibody tests to Abingdon Health.

The secretary of state has a responsibility to preserve and search documents for information relevant to the case from the point at which judicial review proceedings were issued in late 2020, under the government’s “duty of candour”.

However, a witness statement from a government lawyer revealed Bethell replaced his phone in early 2021 and it may no longer be possible to retrieve the information about his dealings with Abingdon, although efforts are being made to recover them from his mobile phone provider.

The statement said Bethell had used his official email account as well as his private email account to send and receive emails relevant to the contracts, and that he had also used his mobile phone for SMS and WhatsApp messages. But it said Bethell had confirmed that about six months ago his phone was broken and replaced and that his new phone did not contain the phone data.

Government lawyers revealed Bethell had not been issued with a “preservation notice” requiring him to save documents because ministers’ official correspondence was routinely saved as a matter of course. However, this did not cover government business conducted by private means.

What does he have to hide?

When they’re under an investigation with legal consequences, people with nothing to fear don’t destroy the evidence.

And Bethell must know that the information will be available by other means – although logically there shouldn’t be anything to stop him from reactivating his WhatsApp, SMS and private email accounts. Why hasn’t he done so?

The fact that government preservation notices don’t cover business conducted by private means, while government ministers are allowed to carry out government business in that way and are trusted to duplicate it into the public system, is a huge opening for corruption.

And it seems clear that this particular minister has exploited it.

Maybe I’m wrong – and I’ll be happy to apologise of Lord Bethell can provide clear proof that he was not responsible for any wrongdoing.

But I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

Source: Covid contracts: minister replaced phone before it could be searched | Health policy | The Guardian

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Johnson’s crony Con club: his government ignored 171 other candidates to employ his chum

Laughing at us: Boris Johnson appointed his former Bullingdon Club colleague to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog, over 171 other applicants. It seems clear he did it to ensure that he would never be found guilty of the many corruption accusations made against him.

We all screamed “foul” when it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s government had appointed his Bullingdon Club chum Ewen Fergusson to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog.

Was he put in the Committee on Standards in Public Life to rubber-stamp Johnson’s offences as being within reasonable standards of behaviour, we asked (or at least, This Writer did).

Now we have more evidence, and it suggests that he was.

Why else would Johnson’s government have appointed his friend over 171 other applicants who were not directly and personally linked to him – in the face of objections that the connection should disqualify Fergusson altogether?

As The Independent puts it,

The longtime friend of the prime minister was appointed to scrutinise him.

By the way: final say on who got the job went to Boris Johnson. He chose his friend for the position.

If you wanted an honest verdict on your own actions, would you appoint a personal friend to provide it? I wouldn’t. My friends would tell me if they thought I was going wrong, but they’d never voluntarily say so to strangers.

And this was pointed out by the Labour Party (even though it shouldn’t have to be):

Labour said friends of the prime minister should be disqualified from the role on the Committee on Standards In Public Life, given the nature of its job scrutinising members of the government, including Mr Johnson.

“Being Boris Johnson’s chum from the Bullingdon Club does not qualify you to sit on the watchdog that is supposed to crack down on sleaze and cronyism in our politics. In fact, it should disqualify you,” deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner told The Independent.

“This appointment is an utter joke, and out of 173 applicants of course the Bullingdon Boy fits the job description of marking the prime minister’s homework.

It is a joke. And next time Johnson gets accused of corruption, and his Bullingdon chum green-lights it, he’ll be the one laughing at all of us.

Source: Government passed over 171 candidates to pick Bullingdon Club ‘chum’ of Boris Johnson for sleaze watchdog role | The Independent

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Tory protection racket: party chairman’s firm sold Covid-19 tests at a premium when NHS had none

Boris Johnson and Ben Elliot: The latter became Tory chairman when the former became prime minister and then, during the Covid crisis, was miraculously able to provide tests to its rich clients – for a price – when the NHS just couldn’t get hold of them for free.

This is further evidence suggesting that Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is a racket being run to enrich the prime minister and his cronies.

Take Ben Elliot, Tory party chairman since Johnson became prime minister in July 2019.

He founded a concierge company called Quintessentially and remains a director and shareholder.

How much richer did that company become by being able to provide Covid-19 tests to its clients – at £300 a pop – when the government run by his mate Boris was – apparently – struggling to supply any tests at all to the population at large?

Do you believe it’s just a coincidence that this money-making opportunity happened to Johnson’s crony?

Here’s The Times, of all sources:

The Conservative chairman’s company arranged for its clients to buy coronavirus tests for hundreds of pounds while the government was struggling to ramp up testing capacity, The Times has learnt.

Quintessentially, a luxury concierge company, arranged for its wealthy clients to purchase PCR and antibody tests in April last year, during the pandemic’s deadly first wave.

Quintessentially’s co-founder, Ben Elliot, has been co-chairman of the Conservative Party since July 2019, when Boris Johnson became prime minister. He remains a director and shareholder.

The company, founded in 2000, boasts of its ability to “take care of every aspect of our members’ lives, ensuring they’re engaged and experiencing the absolute best the world has to offer”.

Do you think it’s even remotely possible that the – Boris Johnson – government will allow any kind of independent inquiry to take place?

Source: Ben Elliot’s company Quintessentially sold Covid tests to clients when NHS was struggling to increase capacity | News | The Times

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Why did the Tory government use public money for polls about Opposition politicians?

Dominic Cummings (left): when he was chums with Boris Johnson (right), he ordered civil servants to spend public money on party political polling that should have been funded by the Conservatives, not the nation.

More Tory crony contracts: Ex-Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings and ex-Vote Leave Downing Street colleague Ben Warner pressurised civil servants to give more than £1.3 million in contracts to polling firm Hanbury Strategy, run by ex-Vote Leave comms chief Paul Stephenson.

Your money was frittered away on Cummings’s Vote Leave friends. And for what?

For party political polling on Labour leader Keir Starmer and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

And emails show Cummings pressuring officials by saying anybody who would “whine” about it should be told the order came from prime minister Boris Johnson.

The emails, published by the Good Law Project (GLP), show civil servants were uncomfortable about the polling, with one saying in May 2020: “Hanbury measure attitudes towards political figures, which they shouldn’t do using government money, but they’ve been asked to and it’s a battle that I think is hard to fight.”

Mr Cummings wrote: “Pls sign off immediately so Paul S can get our large scale polls into field TODAY. Anybody in [the Cabinet Office] whines tell them I ordered it from PM.”

A civil servant wrote: “This all makes me really uncomfortable. Ben Warner wants us to spend £110k of public money per month with the agency who were behind Vote Leave who have no mainstream polling experience.

“And he wants to be in on the call/talking to Hanbury directly. Q is what do we do?”

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner is no angel, as we’ve all discovered, but This Writer thinks she was right when she said, “This has the hallmarks of a racket, not a government acting in the national interest during a pandemic.

“Taxpayers’ money that has been abused in this way should be paid back by the Conservative Party.

“Taxpayers’ money is not the personal cashpoint of Conservative Ministers to dish out to their mates.”

Source: Government used public money for polls about Keir Starmer and Sadiq Khan – Mirror Online

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Tory cronyism: Johnson appoints Bullingdon chum to ethics committee. Contradiction?

Two-fingered salute:: Boris Johnson’s answer to those of us who accuse him of cronyism.

We point out their corruption by taking them to court for giving cash to their cronies, and the Tories simply shrug and do it again.

Boris Johnson has appointed a former Bullingdon Club colleague, Ewen Fergusson, to sit on Whitehall’s “sleaze” watchdog – the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Is this so his friend can rubber-stamp all Johnson’s own offences as being well within reasonable standards of behaviour?

Questions have already been raised about the appointment, which was approved by Johnson, as you can read in this Guardian article.

And the reaction outside the Tory bubble has been… as one might expect:

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Atkins falsehoods are quietly edited out of Hansard. Will she now be dragged to the Commons to apologise?

Speaker: Lindsay Hoyle in action. He looks fierce in this image – but will he be quite so fierce in defending the reputation of the House of Commons, that Victoria Atkins has so casually besmirched?

After This Site highlighted the fact that the official record of Parliamentary proceedings had been ‘doctored’ to misrepresent Home Office minister Victoria Atkins’s smear against Jeremy Corbyn, we learn today that it has been quietly edited again.

Now the record presents her words as she said them, as this tweet from Leftworks shows:

Sadly, this has been done without a word of apology or explanation from the authorities, and this is not acceptable.

Furthermore, Atkins’s speech means she knowingly lied to Parliament – she misrepresented Jeremy Corbyn as a racist, wrongly using the EHRC investigation of the Labour Party as supporting evidence.

Lying to Parliament is a serious offence, and it is also considered extremely poor behaviour to accuse another member of Parliament in the way Ms Atkins has.

She should be dragged back to the Commons to apologise for her speech and explain why she thought it was acceptable to lie that Jeremy Corbyn was a racist in the same debate where she defended Boris Johnson, the prime minister, against the same charge, despite the many known occasions where he has exhibited such behaviour.

I have written to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to that effect. Here’s the text of my letter:

I published an article on my website Vox Political yesterday, referring to surreptitious editing of Hansard to misrepresent the debate on the Urgent Question about racism in the social media, in the Commons on July 14.

In that debate, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins stated, “I remind the House of the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission under his [Jeremy Corbyn’s] watch: Labour ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’.”

This was edited in Hansard with three words added as follows (I have capitalised them for ease of identification): “I remind the House of the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission under his [Jeremy Corbyn’s] watch, TO DETERMINE WHETHER Labour ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’.”

In the debate, Ms Atkins went on to say, “I will listen to many people about tackling racism and I will work with pretty much anyone, but I will take a long spoon with which to sup with this particular member.”

The effect of her speech as a whole was to falsely present Mr Corbyn, a lifelong campaigner against racism and discrimination of any kind – as I am sure you, being a Labour Party member, are awre – as a racist.

The effect of the editing of Hansard was to corruptly mitigate that falsehood in the record, making it seem she said Labour was only investigated by the EHRC when in fact she presented Labour, and Corbyn, as having been found to have committed the offence stated.

I notice that Hansard has now been surreptitiously edited for a second time, with the offending words removed. I welcome this, although I believe the people of the UK deserve an explanation as to why the falsehoods appeared in the official record in the first place. In fact, I am writing to demand one. How many other falsehoods have been edited into Hansard, unnoticed?

Additionally, the new version makes Ms Atkins’s false claim against Mr Corbyn clear again. It is unacceptable and hypocritical for a UK government minister, who defended the prime minister against allegations of racism in the face of documented historical records of it, to also falsely accuse a former Labour leader of racism in the way she has.

In addition to my demand for an explanation of the editing-in of falsehoods into Hansard, I am therefore also writing to demand that Ms Atkins be brought back to the Commons to apologise for smearing another member of Parliament in the despicable way she has.

Let me make myself clear: I am not requesting these things – I am demanding them. Ms Atkins’s behaviour has seriously harmed the reputation of the House of Commons and if you fail to act, that institution will suffer further reputational harm.

I await your confirmation that you will comply with my wishes and look forward to seeing them carried out.

I don’t expect Hoyle to comply with my demands.

Like all tribes, MPs tend to stick together when they perceive they are being attacked by someone else.

But he knows that this offence has been seen, and he’ll have to record that he received a complaint about it.

Whatever happens next, I think we should all follow some of the prime minister’s advice, and be vigilant.

Let’s make it clear to our MPs that we’re sick of their antics. They were elected to represent us in a responsible way – not to engage in playground insults and lie about it afterwards.

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Who doctored Hansard to protect this Tory racist? Did she do it herself?

Boris Johnson [Image: The Agitator].

Not only did a Tory minister make false claims to Parliament about racism in the Labour Party, but the official record of the debate – Hansard – was doctored to make it seem that she did not.

Worse still, Victoria Atkins had already added to her party’s tally of racism by telling a fellow MP who happens not to be white to know her place and not be uppity with her betters (although she didn’t use those exact words).

Her shocking abuse of her position has sparked a demand for the Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, to take action – not just to correct the record but to save the reputation of the House of Commons.

Here’s just one complaint to Hoyle, from Twitter, with follow-up messages to show the issue:

You can see that Leftworks is absolutely correct by watching this video (ironically posted by a fan of Atkins).

She did indeed quote the EHRC’s remit as though it were that organisation’s conclusion – it was not – and Hansard did indeed insert three words to falsify the record.

The effect of Atkins’s words at the time they were said, and in that place, would have been to negate Jeremy Corbyn’s argument – she was effectively saying that he was a racist and therefore had no right to accuse others.

Furthermore, of course, her claim about Luciana Berger needing police protection was false.

Right-thinking people are up in arms about this – and rightly so:

Ms Atkins, who was standing in for her racist boss, Home Secretary Priti Patel, was in the Commons to answer an urgent question on what the government would do to stop racist abuse on the social media.

Patel had been – rightly – accused of “stoking” such abuse by Tyrone Mings of the England football team, whose teammates Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were victims of it.

When she was tackled on the racism of her own prime minister by rising Labour star Zarah Sultana, Atkins treated her as if she were a black housemaid in the pre-Civil War American south, warning her to “lower” her “tone”:

I make no apologies for adding in this tweet, which includes much of the same video material, for the sake of Seema Chandwani’s observation about the way Ms Sultana was treated:

Shall we have a think about racism by the prime minister – that’s Boris Johnson, by the way – and by Atkins’s boss Patel?

Let’s start with Priti Patel, who locked asylum-seekers from foreign countries into filthy concentration camps where overcrowding caused hundreds of them to catch Covid-19. How many of them died? We haven’t seen the figures.

She wants to bring in a new law making it an offence to help refugees into the UK – even by saving them from drowning in the sea off the UK’s coasts.

Another Bill passing through Parliament at the moment will target the GRT community – Gypsies, Romanies and Travellers – by assuming that they are committing crimes simply because they are Gypsies, Romanies or Travellers. This is classically-defined racism.

The Home Office at which Atkins is a minister destroyed the records showing that members of the Windrush Generation were UK citizens – and then pursued an aggressive policy to deny them services they had spent decades funding, like NHS healthcare and state benefits, while taking action to deport them. One may conclude from this that Atkins is a racist herself.

Need I go on?

As for Boris Johnson, Twitter has been full of commentary on his racism:

That’s right – he actually approached a black woman at a party, made monkey noises at her and tried to hand her a watermelon.

How about some more references to Johnson’s historical pronouncements?

This is now a summary of commentators’ attitude to Johnson:

And – thankfully – the fact of his racism is filtering through to the general public, despite the protection he gets from the Tory media:

Perhaps the last word on Johnson’s racism should be this, that relates it back to Atkins:

As for Hansard: it seems the record may be edited – possibly by MPs themselves – but not if the meaning of the words spoken is changed by those edits:

The changes to Atkins’s speech change the meaning of the words and are therefore not permissible.

As Commons Speaker – the MP who chairs sessions of the House of Commons – Lindsay Hoyle needs to act to save its reputation.

How many other changes are being made to Hansard, that nobody catches because they happen surreptitiously?

And why would Hoyle – or anyone working in Parliament – wish to support or enable these Tory racists?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Covid-19: Boris Johnson gave more than the GDP of 140 nations and territories in contracts to crony companies

Spaffer: Johnson spaffed £52.5 billion up the wall in so-called Covid-19 contracts to Tory crony firms – and got practically nothing in return.

Boris Johnson used the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse to give cash totalling the Gross Domestic Product of 140 nation states and territories – your money – mostly to companies that were run by Tory donors or friends of people in his Conservative government.

And now he’s saying the cost of the Covid crisis means he’s cutting overseas aid. Doesn’t he mean there’s no money for Johnny Foreigner because he’s spaffed it all up his fatcat crony donor friends?

Of £52.5 billion in contracts, £27.5 billion was awarded without competitive tender. Experience shows that this means the cash went to cronies of the Tory government, many of whom had no experience and had literally just set up a company name in order to take the money. Meanwhile, experts in their field were denied any funding at all.

Profiting most from the handout was a firm called Innova Medical Group, with whom most of the contracts were for test kits that the US government has said are inaccurate and should be thrown away.

The National Audit Office says only 96 million out of 691 million Innova test kits have been registered as used.

The travesty is explained in excruciating detail by The Citizens, below:

Yes, the government has serious questions to answer.

Sadly, it is a government led by Boris Johnson so we know that all the answers will be twaddle.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Everard murderer was known to police colleagues as ‘The Rapist’. How long can Cressida Dick stay in post?

Cressida Dick: Platitudes outside a court must not save her from the consequences of her failure to root out corruption and crime among her officers.

How did a man who was nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ three years before joining the Metropolitan Police manage to pass its vetting process, let alone get into a position where he could kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard?

Those are the questions that should be forcing Met Commissioner Cressida Dick out of her job now, yet she seems secure in her post. For how long?

Wayne Couzens, who last week admitted raping and murdering Sarah Everard, was given the unsavoury nicknameby colleagues at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which he joined in 2011, because he made some female colleagues feel uncomfortable, according to the Evening Standard.

The paper also reported that Kent Police took no action in 2015 after it was alleged that he had been seen driving around Dover, naked from the waist down.

And the Met – which he joined in 2018 – received further accusations of indecent exposure by Couzens on two further occasions. Neither of them were investigated properly in the days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard.

We’ve heard this story before: it isn’t such a long time since PC (yes, he’s still on the force) Oliver Banfield was convicted of assaulting a woman while she was walking home – just as Sarah Everard was when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered. His colleagues on the Warwickshire force had initially ignored the complaint and would have done nothing about it if the victim had not found CCTV footage that could be used as evidence.

The BBC has reported that the Independent Office for Police Conduct said a total of 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices had so far been served on police officers from multiple forces in relation to the Couzens case, including about the handling of two separate claims that Couzens had indecently exposed himself; the Banfield case wasn’t a single instance of police turning a blind eye to the crimes of fellow officers – it is an epidemic.

Ms Everard’s murder sparked a wave of protest across the UK that was put down mercilessly by police forces – most notably the Met and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. An independent Parliamentary committee has found that both forces breached the fundamental rights of protesters but neither has accepted the finding and nothing will be done to improve procedures.

Indeed, women across the UK have cause to be even more concerned that the Tory government is bringing in a law to reform criminal investigations and justice – that will put women like Sarah Everard in even more danger.

Two-faced Cressida Dick, who presided over the Met Police throughout, and who supported police in their despicable mishandling of the Sarah Everard vigil, hypocritically voiced platitudes of regret over the murder and anger over the crimes of her now-former officer after attending court.

She said she felt “sickened, angered and devastated” by the crimes: “They are dreadful and everyone in policing feels betrayed.

“Sarah was a fantastic, talented young woman with her whole life ahead of her and that has been snatched away.”

But that hasn’t saved her from the court of public opinion:

This Writer is willing to suggest that public confidence in the Met – and in policing in general – has never fallen so low (although it will fall further if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is allowed to become law in its current form).

Dick has presided over a quantum plunge in the reputation of the police, ignoring one scandal after another and allowing her force to become a cesspit of corruption and crime.

Meanwhile, the successful investigation of crimes against the public has suffered. How can it not? We can’t trust the police to do their job and we’re living in fear that they will commit crimes against us themselves.

It is a poisonous situation and Cressida Dick has done much to create it.

How long are we going to allow her to continue worsening it?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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