Category Archives: Conservative Party

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 can anyone support Boris Johnson, knowing the contempt he has for them?

Contempt: Boris Johnson exhibits his honest reaction to the ordinary people of the United Kingdom who voted him into the highest office in the land.

If you know anybody who still thinks Boris Johnson gives a damn about their interests, or has the well-being of the UK at heart, tell them what happened to Damian Furniss.

Mr Furniss is now a writer and a worker in health and social care, based in Devon. But in 1984, he was awaiting an interview for a place at Balliol College, Oxford, when he encountered Johnson at the bar:

“Three years older than me, and half way through the second class degree in Classics he coasted through with the diligence he later applied to journalism and red box briefings, you’d have expected him to play the ambassador role, welcoming an aspiring member of his college.

“Instead, his piss-taking was brutal. In the course of the pint I felt obliged to finish he mocked my speech impediment, my accent, my school, my dress sense, my haircut, my background, my father’s work as farm worker and garage proprietor, and my prospects in the scholarship interview I was there for. His only motive was to amuse his posh boy mates.

“In short, he demonstrated all of the character flaws that make him unfit to be our Prime Minister. Nothing I see today suggests he has changed. He’s not Falstaff, he’s Faust. If you are an ordinary working person and think he has your interests at heart, think again.”

Read it for yourself, if you are able to read text in images:

The trouble is, there are millions of ordinary working people who still – unaccountably – reckon that Johnson does have their interests at heart.

If you know any of them, please do the rest of us a favour.

Tell them about what happened to Mr Furniss. Get them to read this article if you can.

And then make it clear to them that Boris Johnson would treat them in exactly the same way.

He’s an overprivileged, entitled posh boy whose only interest is his own enrichment. He thinks you exist purely to supply him and his oiky buddies with free money, or to entertain them by submitting to his insults and bullying.

He doesn’t care about you and he never will – and everything he does is intended to harm you.

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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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Is the DWP pushing benefit claimants into Workfare again?

It seems Therese Coffey is sending benefit claimants back into an old scam.

The Work Trials scheme doesn’t appear to be an exact return to the Mandatory Work Activity scam, but may be Workfare by another name in practice.

Unemployed people claiming state benefits are put into unpaid work with companies for up to 30 days, with the possibility that it could lead to a paid job at the end of that time.

But will it?

The DWP says it checks to ensure that employers are offering genuinely worthy opportunities that could lead to employment.

But are they? Or are they only saying that, in order to get their hands on people who will do the work of fully-paid staff for nothing – and then throw them away after a month?

The people doing the work would receive only around a quarter of what they would get on the government’s so-called living wage – a minimum amount that is actually much less than what people need to survive without claiming any benefits at all.

Stewart McDonald, the SNP’s Glasgow South MP, said the scheme ran against what he had been told by the government:

“I have previously been told by Government ministers that unpaid work trials are exploitative and against the law and I see clearly that this is absolutely not the case when the Government’s own departments are helping create such unpaid work trials.

“Jobseekers and those on benefits participate in these programmes out of good faith, sometimes for up to 30 days at a time, and it is not right should they receive no wage and no guarantee of a job at the end of it.”

This Writer agrees. I have spent years campaigning against Workfare.

But the proof of what this policy does will be in the number of people who succeed in getting a long-term job with it.

Do any readers have experience of it, and has it done you any long-term good?

Source: DWP accused of ‘exploiting’ benefits claimants with unpaid work trials – Daily Record

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Shock for Tories as they learn austerity affects THEIR voters too

Steve Baker: the pro-austerity, pro-Brexit High Wycombe MP is claiming surprise that his constituents are starving, and trying to blame it on Covid-19 rather than the policies he wholeheartedly supported.

Tories like Steve Baker, whose High Wycombe constituency has been found to be suffering high levels of poverty-induced hunger, are trying to blame it on Covid-19.

This is not true.

And the falsehood should be pointed out to them.

Yes, the claim that “Mother” puts, below, is correct:

But High Wycome – and Buckinghamshire in general – were identified as suffering from these problems eight years ago. That’s long before anyone ever heard of Covid-19:

So it seems that Tom Bradley has the right idea:

It seems some Tories are using the revelation (in fact nothing of the kind, as the information has been available since 2013) to call for the loss of the £20 Universal Credit “uplift” to be rethought.

Doubtless they will want more for their constituencies as well.

But can you see what this means, for austerity-loving economic incompetents like Rishi Sunak?

He’ll say the money will have to come from somewhere else, and will cut vital funding to constituencies that haven’t voted Tory. See if he doesn’t!

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Rishi Sunak is trying to create another Great Depression. Here are his (bad) reasons

Tweedledum and Tweedledumber: Rishi Sunak wants to cut Covid-19-related spending before the pandemic is over. He’ll cause another huge recession – and more deaths – and Boris Johnson will let it happen because he is too stupid, or too greedy, to care about the harm it will do.

This is worrying from Richard Murphy at Tax Research UK.

He reckons Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak is either so stupid that he wants to kill off even more of us with Covid-19 for the sake of a few extra coppers in cash…

… or he’s so stupid that he thinks the economy will get a huge boost if he puts it into another disastrous recession – possibly even a depression (which is worse).

All the noises Sunak is making at the moment are about stopping Covid-19-related government spending – indicating that he’s putting the Treasury into “full austerity mode”, as Mr Murphy puts it.

He wasn’t calling for a relaxation of Covid-related travel regulations because he thinks the pandemic is over – it clearly isn’t. But he’s indicating that he thinks he is because he wants to stop spending money on it…

… even though all the money he spent on it was specifically created for that purpose and hasn’t done any harm at all as it has washed through the country.

What a strange man.

Mr Murphy continues:

Sunak wants furlough to end, even though he knows this will significantly increase unemployment.

Sunak wants to cut universal credit even though his own backbenchers are indicating this will result in very real hardship in the UK.

Spending cuts are to be demanded.

He goes on to say that this is about maintaining ‘The Treasury View’ as put forward by Winston Churchill in 1929 – a false argument that there is only a limited amount of money and if the state uses any of it, then investment – and growth – by the private sector cannot take place.

It is a completely false view to take:

Churchill spoke when we were on the gold standard. But now we have a fiat currency, and the only constraint on the money supply is full employment at a living wage, which we are very far from achieving.

What is more, there is not a shred of evidence that there is any shortage of capital available to business right now. All business is absent of is ideas.

And to suggest the state does not add value in this era is an insult.

Churchill was economically incompetent.

His decision to follow ‘The Treasury View’ drove the UK into the Great Depression of the early 1930s.

Now Sunak wants his own great recession, whether working for Johnson or in his own account, given that his ambitions are so obvious.

And it seems clear that Boris Johnson is going to do everything he can to help. Already travel restrictions are being lifted.

Not only will the economy bomb, but Tweedledum and Tweedledumber are literally inviting more Covid-19 variants through the UK’s front door, and thousands upon thousands of us may suffer and die as a result.

Source: The UK cannot afford Sunak: he is a massive threat to our well-being

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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Tory crony contracts: MP gave paid roles to lobbyist

Karl McCartney.

Is this another example of jobs for the Tory boys?

And why was a lobbyist being given access to All-Party Parliamentary Groups?

There needs to be an investigation into this – and the other allegations against Karl McCartney (but there probably won’t be, in Boris Johnson’s unaccountable fascist dictatorship).

A Tory MP handed thousands of pounds worth of paid roles to a lobbyist, prompting calls for tighter rules on cash and influence in Parliamentary groups.

Karl McCartney, the Conservative MP for Lincoln, was until last month, chair or vice chair of seven sport-related All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) – bodies set up to allow MPs to discuss a particular subject or interest.

And on each group chaired by Mr McCartney, Three Lines Sport – a firm run by lobbyist Mark Ramsdale – is listed as Secretary.

According to records held by Parliament, Mr Ramsdale’s firm is paid through sponsorship by at least five of the seven groups, earning him or his firm at least £90,000.

Meanwhile, a Business Insider investigation alleged Mr McCartney had used public money to pay a donor, and had allegedly “concealed” his position as a shareholder of his brother’s firm, Moonlighting Systems.

Source: Tory MP handed paid roles on Parliamentary groups to lobbyist amid football team row – Mirror Online

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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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