Category Archives: Inquiry

Greensill: Johnson launches government-run review of lobbying. It’ll be another whitewash

David Cameron: he acted very slick in office but it seems he simply refused to do anything right.

Labour has (rightly) attacked Boris Johnson for launching only a government review of lobbying rather than a full independent inquiry in the light of the Greensill scandal.

Revelations about David Cameron’s involvement with the failed finance firm – for which he lobbied Tory ministers after quitting as their prime minister – are coming thick and fast.

The latest is that the government’s former head of procurement, Bill Crothers, was allowed to take a job with Greensill Capital two months before quitting his civil service role.

Having made this decision, the Cabinet Office (run at the time by Matt Hancock) then decided that, because he was already working for the firm before leaving, Mr Crothers would not have to apply to Whitehall’s “revolving door” regulator, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA).

The former civil servant says he did not promote Greensill for any public sector business for more than two years after leaving – but what did he do during those two months in 2015?

Labour’s Rachel Reeves did the morning media rounds today (April 14), saying that an internal review would not be good enough. Considering the Crothers revelations, she had a point:

Adil Ray on Good Morning Britain tried to torpedo her by pointing out that Tony Blair took a job with JP Morgan – one of the world’s biggest banks – after quitting as the UK’s prime minister in 2007.

She responded: “If anyone has any evidence that former Prime Ministers have been using their status to access special treatment for firms they are working for they should be investigated.

“But there are no accusations.”

Mr Ray might have scored a more palpable hit if he had pointed out that Labour has its own experience of whitewashing a corruption inquiry: the Forde inquiry was originally intended to examine whether party officers had worked to prevent the party from winning the 2017 election with Jeremy Corbyn as its leader – but this was subsequently removed from its remit and the inquiry’s report has been suppressed by the Labour leadership for many months.

There will be a vote on the form any inquiry will take later today (I’m writing this at around 11.30am) – but it won’t succeed because of that 80-seat Conservative majority that means Boris Johnson can impose any corruption he fancies; his backbenchers will vote it through mindlessly, herding through the lobby like the sheep they are.

And no doubt many members of the public will believe the findings of that inquiry, drinking the whitewash like the sheep they are, even though they know it is poison to their own well-being; government corruption harms the nation.

But it is good to see Labour attacking Tory corruption at long last.

Johnson has had a free pass from Keir Starmer’s right-wingers for far too long. It is many months past time the UK’s main opposition party actually did some opposing and held him to account.

But I fear that it is only happening because Starmer thinks it will look good in the run-up to the local elections – and that it will prove to be the usual half-hearted attempt from his party: too little, too late.

Source: Greensill: Labour’s call to widen lobbying probe rejected by No 10 – BBC News

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Thousands demand Boris Johnson withdraws race report whitewash

Sulky: Boris Johnson thought he could gaslight us all with a report on racism that pretended it doesn’t exist in the UK’s government and institutions. He was wrong. Will he grow up, throw it away and make a start on tackling race prejudice? I think we all know the answer to that.

Boris Johnson is facing demands by more than 20,000 people to withdraw a report claiming there’s no institutional racism in the UK.

Instead, they say in an open letter that he should implement recommendations from previous investigations, to combat the institutional racism that Johnson’s report claims isn’t there.

Organisations including Charity So White, Liberty, the National Education Union, The Runnymede Trust and, yes, Black Lives Matter called on Johnson to “repudiate the … findings immediately and withdraw [the] report”.

Recommendations by Johnson’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities included:

  • Forcing school children from disadvantaged areas into extended school days to catch up on missed learning caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • Better quality careers advice for children from disadvantaged backgrounds – to be funded by university outreach programmes (This Writer has a few doubts about whether this would happen in any case).
  • Research on why children from some communities do better than those from others, in order to replicate conditions that help all children succeed (again, this seems unlikely to happen).
  • Retirement of the acronym BAME because minority ethnic groups should be recognised for their differences rather than their mutual disadvantages (but doesn’t this open them up to discrimination because of those differences, which is exactly what the report should be avoiding?) and an end to unconscious bias training.

People named as contributors to the report have distanced themselves from it, with some saying government representatives used false pretences to secure their participation, or misrepresented their contribution.

An expert on race-related health inequalities said the report used outdated references and notably underplayed the impact of structural racism in health outcomes.

Sir Michael Marmot said there are health differences between races that are not fully explained by class, and so therefore racism must play some role.

And these are just some of the criticisms that have been lined up against Johnson’s report.

That’s why its lame recommendations have been dismissed by the more-than-20,000 signatories of the open letter.

They want recommendations from previously-published reports to be put into practice instead, like:

  • The Home Office appointing a Migrants Commissioner, develop a programme of cultural change for the department, and establish a race advisory board.
  • The justice system introducing targets for a more representative workforce, to reduce race-related bias; allowing low-level offenders to “defer” prosecution and opt for a rehabilitation programme before entering a plea; and gathering more data on the ethnicity and religion of offenders.
  • Firms with more than 50 workers publishing a breakdown of their workforce by race and by how much they are paid (to establish any disparities between the different races).

To be honest, to This Writer, even these ideas seem like pussyfooting around the subject.

Those other reports, and Marmot’s work, and no doubt many others, have already established that the UK’s institutions are racist, and if measures to combat that racism haven’t been devised already, then I have to ask what all these commissions, organisations and pressure groups have been doing with their time.

So let’s have a bit of honesty about the real situation in the UK.

And then let’s have a bit of real action to put the prejudice in the past.

Source: Race report: Boris Johnson urged to withdraw ‘whitewashing’ inquiry – BBC News

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