Tag Archives: chair

The Johnson age of corruption and patronage: he appoints Dacre to run Ofcom and Moore to the BBC

Charles Moore and Paul Dacre: One doesn’t believe in public-service broadcasting, so he has been put in charge of the BBC; the other doesn’t believe in impartial, statutorily-regulated media so he has been given the media regulator Ofcom.

There was no process about these appointments; they are a gift from Boris Johnson to flunkies he wants to do his will.

He knows Dacre will ensure that far-right propaganda gets an easy ride from the broadcasting watchdog because Dacre published far-right propaganda every day in the Daily Heil and gave it an easy ride when he was in charge at the Press Complaints Commission (now IPSO).

This Writer is less familiar with Charles Moore, which tends to indicate that I had a taste of his work and turned away in disgust. From the words of others, I understand there will be no attempt at political balance while he has any say in what goes on at Broadcasting House.

Here‘s the story:

Paul Dacre, former editor of the Daily Mail, has been asked to run the national broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, while Lord Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph and biographer of Margaret Thatcher, is believed to be considering accepting the role of chairman of the BBC.

The provocative choice of two such hardline anti-BBC voices has prompted anger and dismay across the broadcasting and entertainment industry. Speaking to the Observer on Saturday evening the Labour peer Andrew Adonis summed up the response of many to the news. “If true this is Cummings operating straight out of the Trump playbook with the intent to undermine our democratic institutions.”

The former government minister continued: “These would be really disgraceful appointments. Neither Paul Dacre at Ofcom nor Charles Moore at the BBC would believe in the mission of the institution they are running. Dacre demonstrably doesn’t believe in impartially and statutorily regulated media and Moore doesn’t believe in public service broadcasting, as his refusal to pay the licence fee demonstrates.”

This man refuses to pay the TV licence fee and Boris Johnson puts him in charge of the BBC!

If you’re still wondering why it’s a big deal, it means Johnson will control the media through these two puppets – and will get away with more of this:

And here are the responses:

An oligarchy is a small group of people running an entire country. That’s what Johnson wants and that is what he is getting. See this, also:

This last one is ironic:

All the organs mentioned in the tweet are indeed now in right-wing hands.

In related news…

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Russia report: new intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip but gains respect

Coup: Julian Lewis.

This is very funny indeed – but we may all have cause to be grateful for what has happened.

You will recall that concerns were raised when Boris Johnson nominated Chris “Failing” Grayling – widely held to be one of the stupidest individuals ever to be voted into office – as the chair of Parliament’s important Intelligence and Security Committee.

This is the group that would be responsible for publication of the so-called “Russia Report” on interference by that country in UK politics. The concern was that Grayling would mess up publication of that report. He has a reputation for such things.

The nine-strong committee comprises five Conservatives, three from the Labour Party and one from the SNP.

With a clear Tory majority, it was expected that Grayling would be voted into the chair – but it seems there was a coup.

The Labour and SNP representatives nominated Julian Lewis – a different Tory – for the chair, and his own vote sealed his election. The other Tories voted for Grayling, including Grayling himself.

So Johnson has kicked Lewis out of the Parliamentary Conservative Party – in official language, he has withdrawn the Tory whip.

Apparently…

A senior government source told the BBC that Mr Lewis “has been told by the chief whip that it is because he worked with Labour and other opposition MPs for his own advantage”.

By voting for himself? But wouldn’t Grayling have been working for his own advantage because he voted for himself?

And – considering the concerns about Grayling – isn’t it possible that he was in fact acting in the national interest, rather than “for hiss own advantage”?

You have to be wary of the language these government types use, you know.

It’s clear that Lewis did the right thing. He’ll gain respect for it, in the long run. And he can’t be voted out; the choice has been made.

Perhaps Johnson is just spooked because now the “Russia Report” is likely to be published before Parliament goes into recess on July 22. He has gone to great lengths to keep it away from the public since it was written last October – nine months ago.

Labour committee member Kevan Jones seems to think so:

“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. It’s been through both the committee, it’s been agreed through the redaction process, and it’s been agreed by government,” he says.

So it seems Johnson has been foiled.

And Julian Lewis losing the Tory whip is a small price to pay to find out what’s in that report.

Source: Russia report: New intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip – BBC News

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Calls mount for Corbyn to ‘come out fighting’ in support of falsely-accused Marc Wadsworth

Marc Wadsworth.

This is what happens when the Labour Party refuses to acknowledge the facts in a false accusation of anti-Semitism.

I hope you remember the case of Marc Wadsworth, the anti-racism campaigner who was instrumental in helping the family of Stephen Lawrence get an inquiry into his death, and who was then accused of anti-Semitism by right-wing MP Ruth Smeeth for no reason at all.

A judging panel from Labour’s National Constitutional Committee later expelled him from the party on the grounds that he had brought it into disrepute, even though it was the behaviour of Ms Smeeth that had done the damage. She remains an MP and a member of the Labour Party, although her actions certain warrant her removal from both positions.

Calls have been mounting for Mr Wadsworth’s case to be reviewed. At last week’s Labour Party Conference, MP Clive Lewis called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to “come out fighting”

The Morning Star reported: “Mr Lewis said Mr Wadsworth had merely been making a political point about right-wing MPs working with right-wing newspapers.

“‘It was not an anti-semitic trope. It was a political observation,’ he said to applause…

“He added: ‘You’ve seen what happens when you stick your head above the parapet on this issue. It gets shot off,’ but he had had to stand in solidarity with a comrade and for the principle that ‘people should be able to express themselves politically.’

“He declared: ‘I would like to see Jeremy Corbyn come out fighting on this issue.’”

A crowdfunding campaign to fund the cost of Mr Wadsworth’s appeal has raised £30,000 since it was launched in April, and all I can say is I wish my own attempt to raise funds to clear my name had that kind of back-up (I’ve raised more than £5,000 since June – only a fraction of his total. Anyone willing to help me out is invited to visit my JustGiving site). Then again, our situations are slightly different as Labour has yet to arrange a hearing to judge my case.

It’s a curious coincidence that, just when the tide was beginning to turn in favour of this honourable and principled man, someone had to try to put a spanner in the works.

That person was Sarah Ditum, a critic, columnist and fellow member of the National Union of Journalists.

She waded into this matter after attending a meeting of the NUJ in which Mr Wadsworth, in his capacity as chair of the union’s Black Members Council, spoke supporting the choice of Canary editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza to deliver the Claudia Jones memorial lecture (an issue I have discussed in a previous article; NUJ members also voted to support her).

She tweeted:

https://twitter.com/sarahditum/status/1045932834404347904

Notice that it was a carefully-worded attack. Mr Wadsworth had suggested that Ms Smeeth and the Telegraph reporter, with whom she was exchanging a leaflet that he had been distributing, were “hand in glove” – but there was no mention of her Jewishness until she started hollering about it herself. Her tweet stops short of saying that he was engaging in an anti-Semitic trope but that is clearly her implication. And the use of the word “defending” in reference to Kerry-Anne as “The Woman Who Publishes Steve Topple” makes it clear that we are to consider any publication of Mr Topple’s articles to be a bad thing, without having any reason to do so. Sinister.

And she drew out a series of tweets in her support, which I won’t mention any further as it is far more instructive to examine some of the comments in favour of Mr Wadsworth.

Chris Williamson, a Labour MP who has long supported Mr Wadsworth’s cause, wrote:

Mr Wadsworth himself had something to say:

And I think the following is especially pertinent:

https://twitter.com/PeterTwohey/status/1045837536982183936

This is the real issue, is it not?

It isn’t about any claim of anti-Semitism against Mr Wadsworth, that is easily disproved.

It is about his willingness to stand up and talk about what those in positions of power and privilege would prefer to keep hidden.

That’s why a false claim of anti-Semitism was cooked up against him.

It is also why that claim was reheated when he spoke in favour of a social media journalist who the right-wing, mainstream press wanted to silence.

And it is why prominent figures like Mr Lewis are asking Jeremy Corbyn to weigh in and take action.

But Mr Corbyn has been, himself, targeted with false accusations many times – especially over the summer months.

He may conclude that it would not be productive for him to speak out at this time – a decision that, I’m sorry to say, may have been the sole intention of his own accusers.

That is why people like Mr Wadsworth – and myself (don’t forget that JustGiving page) need the help of people of good conscience – from all parts of the political spectrum.

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Why did disability charity United Response appoint a private health insurance boss as chair?

Malcolm McCaig.

What can I say about the Unum corporation that I haven’t already mentioned, years ago?

Nothing. Here’s a recap:

“If we know anything at all about the Work Capability Assessment for sickness and disability benefits, we know that it doesn’t work. In fact, it kills. There is a wealth of evidence proving this, and if any readers are in doubt, please take a look at MPs tell their own Atos horror stories.

“The WCA is, at least nominally, based on the biopsychosocial model developed by George Engel. He wanted to broaden the way people think about illness, taking into account not only biological factors but psychological and social influences as well.

“The theory forms the basis of the system of insurance claims management adopted by US giant Unum when its bosses realised that their profits were being threatened by falling interest rates – meaning the company’s investments were losing value – and a rise in claims for “subjective illnesses” which had no clear biological markers – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease, even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

“The new test aggressively disputed whether the claimant was ill, questioning illnesses that were “self-reported”, labelling some disabling conditions as “psychological”, and playing up the “subjective” nature of “mental” and “nervous” claims.   The thinking behind it was: Sickness is temporary. Illness is a behaviour – all the things that people say and do that express and communicate their feelings of being unwell. The degree of this behaviour is dependent on the attitudes and beliefs of the individual, as well as the social context and culture. Illness is a personal choice. In other words: “It’s all in the mind; these people are fit to work.” (as I mentioned in When big business dabbles with welfare; a cautionary tale)

“This is the model that was put forward to the Department of Social Security (later the Department of Work and Pensions) by its then-chief medical officer, Mansel Aylward, in tandem with Unum’s then-second vice president, John LoCascio.

“Together they devised a new ‘All Work Test’ that would not actually focus on whether an individual could do their job; instead it would assess their general capacity to work through a series of ‘descriptors’. Decisions on eligibility for benefit would be made by non-medical adjudication officers within the government department, advised by doctors trained by Mr LoCascio. Claimants’ own doctors would be marginalised.”

That is how matters have remained. A claimant’s doctor hardly gets a look-in on the process nowadays, and mental health problems are not considered to be of any importance in assessing a person’s fitness for work.

I recently attended a friend’s assessment for the Personal Independence Payment. More than half of an interview that lasted longer than an hour was about her mental health – and none of it was referenced in the decision or the notes on the reasons for it.

That is the legacy of the Unum Corporation.

Its record in the UK is of a decades-long campaign to make it almost impossible for anybody to claim sickness and/or disability benefits, in order to push people into claiming its insurance policies.

And these policies are duff, because every effort would be made to prevent anybody taking one out from ever receiving a payout. The company earned itself a criminal record in the USA because of this behaviour.

So why on Earth would United Response, a charity that is supposedly dedicated to ensuring that individuals with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities have the opportunity to live their lives to the full, have any truck with such a company and its representatives?

Good question. And one for which I have no answer.

The advantage for Unum is obvious. Chairmanship of such an organisation lends the corporation an authenticity that its own record cannot provide.

I wonder if the charity’s policies and behaviour will evolve in alarming ways during the course of Mr McCaig’s chairmanship?

A disability charity’s decision to choose as its new chair the head of a company closely linked with the government’s hated “fitness for work” test has been branded “a betrayal” of disabled people and “a truly disgraceful appointment”.

United Response, which provides a range of support services to about 3,000 disabled people across England and Wales, this week announced the appointment of management consultant Malcolm McCaig (pictured).

McCaig has been a non-executive director of Unum UK since July 2009 and was appointed to chair the company’s board last year.

But Unum has spent decades attempting to influence UK government policy on welfare reform and is blamed by many disabled researchers and activists for pushing successive governments to make the process of applying for out-of-work disability benefits harsher and more stressful.

ADDITIONAL: I have been asked to publish the following: “A link to this article was published on the United Response intranet message board. This was the reply from Mark Ospedale, Director of People and Communications:

“‘Trustees including Chair’s (sic) are volunteers and they are appointed as they bring extensive skills and experience to govern charitable organisations such as ours. We undertook an extensive recruitment process resulting in an incredibly strong shortlist of candidates, Malcolm’s skill set and demonstrable understanding of the charity as well as his vast experience led to his appointment.'”

Source: Disability charity’s appointment of Unum boss as new chair ‘is truly disgraceful’

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Judge rules David Gauke was wrong to push Parole Board chair out of his job

Wrongly forced to quit: Former Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick.

This is further evidence to add to the mountain we already have, demonstrating the corruption inherent in any Conservative government.

The simple fact is that they think they can do anything they like.

A high court judge has ruled it was unacceptable for the justice secretary to pressurise the Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick into resigning, and that the board lacks independence from the government.

Hardwick resigned in March when David Gauke told him that his position was untenable following the Parole Board’s decision to release serial sex offender John Worboys.

The case was brought by Paul Wakenshaw, a British prisoner, who argued that although the Parole Board was a de facto court under both common law and the European convention on human rights, Hardwick’s removal proved it lacked the independence of a true court.

He said it was constitutionally improper for the justice secretary to have requested that the head of a judicial body resign without any procedure being followed to determine whether there were grounds for his removal. Wakenshaw also sought an order postponing the recruitment of a new chair, for which interviews are scheduled to take place this month.

On Tuesday Mr Justice Mostyn granted Wakenshaw permission to judicially review the independence of the board on the grounds there was a lack of security of tenure for Parole Board members (including the chair) – as evidenced by the circumstances in which Hardwick offered his resignation.

The judge also said that if the justice secretary decided to remove a member of the Parole Board, there was no mechanism to ensure it was a fair decision.

Source: Justice secretary wrong to push Parole Board chair to quit, judge rules | Society | The Guardian

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Ann Black ousted from chair of Labour disputes panel – but what an odd way to report democracy!

Ann Black: This image only appears to be from a 1970s TV game show.

(For clarity: This Writer is currently waiting for the disputes panel, run by Labour’s National Executive Committee, to make a decision about the false claims of anti-Semitism against me. It’s an open-and-shut case but nothing has been done for nine months and, the evening before I wrote this article, I learned that my case had again been left off the agenda of today’s (January 16) meeting. You will see that I have locked swords with Ms Black in the past. Would you blame me for wondering whether she has used her position to keep my Labour membership in limbo for all this time?)

It should be hard for any impartial observer to see the departure of Ann Black from the chair of Labour’s disputes panel as anything but a good thing.

Ms Black blotted her copy book during the Labour leadership campaign in 2016, when she supported a retrospective decision to impose an arbitrary cut-off date on the right to vote, with members who joined after that date refused the opportunity. And she supported a so-called “purge” of members who were believed likely to support Jeremy Corbyn in that election – which he still won.

Then in October that year, she supported changes to the NEC’s composition that were forced on the party in a vote at conference that did not conform to Labour rules and should not, therefore, have been allowed to stand.

My Labour Party branch submitted a motion to the constituency party where, at a meeting attended by Ms Black, it was passed and sent on to the NEC on which she still sits – and the NEC did absolutely nothing about it. At the debate, Ms Black and I took strongly-opposing positions. I recorded what happened on This Site and Ms Black continued to oppose my position in comments to those articles.

I think those articles, and her comments, are revealing. You can find them here and here.

And now Ms Black has been voted out of the chair of the Disputes Panel, in a move that is being reported as the Left taking control of it.

But wasn’t Ms Black elected to the NEC on the so-called Left Slate, meaning she is (nominally, at least) one of the Left?

Perhaps I’m not supposed to mention this as it might upset Paul Waugh’s apple cart.

The reporting of this vote seems very odd indeed.

Perhaps reporters like Mr Waugh need to remember that all but two people on the NEC were elected onto it (the two exceptions being the representatives of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, who were selected for the role after the rigged conference vote); therefore their choices are entirely democratic and not part of some leftie conspiracy, as the reporting of this decision seems to suggest.

Let’s remember, also, that Ms Black remains a member of the NEC.

And if a future NEC vote goes against the left-wing members, will Mr Waugh be writing about “Progress-backed members of the NEC”?

Jeremy Corbyn supporters have used their new majority on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to take control of the party’s crucial disciplinary committee, HuffPost has learned.

Momentum-backed members of the NEC voted by 22 to 15 to oust Ann Black, the longstanding chair of the Disputes Panel, and replace her with veteran leftwinger Christine Shawcroft.

The unprecedented move means that the Left now have control of the body that decides whether to investigate sexist, racist, homophobic and anti-semitic abuse and other disciplinary cases.

Source: Momentum’s Christine Shawcroft Elected Chair Of Labour’s NEC Disputes Panel


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Tory announces ‘chair’ solution to NHS winter crisis

The culprit: Philip Dunne thinks pressures on the NHS can be handled, as long as patients have a chair to sit on.

If Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle was an attempt to divert attention away from the winter crisis that has already killed many National Health Service patients, it has failed…

… mostly because one of her health ministers managed to make a career-defining mistake during a Parliamentary debate on the situation, while Mrs May was discussing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s Cabinet position with him in 10 Downing Street.

For those of you who are unaware of the situation (or at least, of what the Tories are saying about it), Mrs May has said the NHS has been better-prepared for what she called “winter pressures” (she doesn’t accept that there is a crisis) than ever before.

Here’s what Accident and Emergency doctor Adrian Harrop has to say about that (hint: he disagrees profoundly):

Still not convinced? Watch this:

That’s what it looks like on the ground. Here’s another doctor – Dagan Lonsdale – with the facts and figures – and a message about Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt:

The message was so strong that Ralf Little, who came under fire from Mr Hunt for suggesting that the Health Secretary had been lying to the British public, satirised himself – and landed another blow on Mr Hunt – with the following:

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/949395807417053191

Meanwhile, Theresa May had been trying to calm concerns about overcrowding in hospitals. Faced with claims that some had no beds free at all, she said that delayed discharges – where elderly people (for example) were being kept in hospital when they did not need to be – were “coming down”. We’ll come back to the issue of crowding momentarily but in the meantime, here’s a graph courtesy of another doctor, Lauren Gavaghan:

Or perhaps Mrs May simply had not done her research and was saying whatever she thought people wanted to hear, in the hope that nobody would notice the falsehood. That seems to be epidemic in Conservative ministers at the moment.

Dr Gavaghan goes on to explain the situation in slightly more detail:

Some saw the Cabinet reshuffle – and the possibility of a new Health Secretary – as a ray of hope amidst all this misery:

Others were more realistic:

It was at this point that Philip Dunne MP, Conservative Minister for Health, made his career-defining contribution to a Commons debate on the crisis:

No doubt that will have provoked a reaction in you, dear reader. It certain did in others:

(Mr Mason was comparing the NHS with the case of Toby Young, whose appointment to the Office for Students was vigorously defended in the Commons chamber after the NHS debate, despite his blatant unsuitability for the job, only some of the reasons for which were mentioned in the tweet above.)

So there you have it.

There is no winter crisis because Theresa May says there isn’t.

Jeremy Hunt has been rewarded for decisions that have caused the deaths of NHS patients by being handed control over social care as well as health, in the Cabinet reshuffle.

And there’s no need to worry about hospital overcrowding because at least the very sick will have chairs to sit on.

And in the background, Tory privatisation cheerleaders are waiting for the right moment to claim that private companies could do a better job.

That moment must never come – because private companies not only can’t do a better job, they won’t.

Profit-making firms pick and choose the healthcare work they do, and wouldn’t go near Accident and Emergency treatment.

The problems we are seeing at the moment have been created entirely by the Conservatives’ decision to cut funding to the health service – a decision that has no rational basis at all.

They did it because they felt like it.

And people are dying.


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‘Sour grapes’ lie won’t save Theresa May from a social mobility crisis of her own making

Resigned: Alan Milburn.

Theresa May is desperate for us to believe her lie that Alan Milburn’s resignation from the social mobility commission is due to “sour grapes” after he was told a new chairperson would be appointed by an open application process.

This means the former Labour MP’s chairmanship of the commission has been terminated, after his term in that position ran out in July.

But, if Mr Milburn is quitting the commission because he’s upset about losing the top job, why is former Tory Education Secretary Gillian Shephard quitting as well?

According to the Guardian report quoted below, “It is understood that Shephard, former Tory education secretary and deputy chair of the commission, will also resign. She is said by friends to be ‘absolutely livid’ with the way in which the commission has been treated.”

And what way would that be? Perhaps the following extract from Mr Milburn’s own letter to Mrs May provides some illumination: “I do not doubt your personal belief in social justice, but I see little evidence of that being translated into meaningful action.”

In other words: The social mobility commission was a ‘dummy’ organisation, set up to provide the illusion that the Conservatives were doing something positive, when in fact they weren’t.

Look at the examples the government spokesperson put forward to show the Tories have done something: they increased the national living wage (but not enough), cut income tax for the lowest paid (while the cost of living increased by more than the saving) and doubled free childcare (but there are huge issues around its provision).

Social media commentators have drawn the obvious conclusions:

https://twitter.com/KamBass/status/937086405909598212

Meanwhile, the resignations have come at a time when Mrs May can ill afford another high-profile embarrassment – for reasons detailed in the extract below.

If anyone has a case of “sour grapes”, it must be Theresa May.

Theresa May was plunged into a new crisis on Saturday night after the government’s social mobility adviser revealed he and his team were quitting, warning that the prime minister was failing in her pledge to build a “fairer Britain”.

In a major blow to No 10, Alan Milburn, the former Labour cabinet minister who chairs the government’s social mobility commission, said that he and all three of his fellow commissioners were walking out – including a leading conservative, Gillian Shephard. The move will be seen as a direct challenge to May’s vow in Downing Street to place fairness and social justice at the heart of her premiership.

In his resignation letter, seen by the Observer, Milburn warns that dealing with Brexit means the government “does not seem to have the necessary bandwidth to ensure the rhetoric of healing social division is matched with the reality.

“I have little hope of the current government making the progress I believe is necessary to bring about a fairer Britain,” he tells the prime minister. “It seems unable to commit to the future of the commission as an independent body or to give due priority to the social mobility challenge facing our nation.”

In a devastating assessment of the lack of progress, Milburn says: “The worst position in politics is to set out a proposition that you’re going to heal social divisions and then do nothing about it.”

The resignations come with the prime minister already under pressure, as she faces crunch Brexit talks and questions over the future of her most senior minister, Damian Green.

Milburn says failing to deal with the inequalities that fuelled the Brexit vote would simply lead to a rise of political extremes.

Source: Theresa May faces new crisis after mass walkout over social policy | Politics | The Guardian


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Rona Fairhead’s record should disqualify her from public office, but the Tories have found her two. Why?

Rona Fairhead: With people like this in charge of banks – and then going on to important roles in Conservative-led governments, can either the banks or the government be trusted to do what’s right for UK citizens? [Image: David Hartley/Rex/Shutterstock.]

Rona Fairhead was well-known to be a Conservative when she was appointed as chair of the BBC Trust. I commented on her political persuasion here and here.

It turns out she was also chair of HSBC’s audit committee when the bank was mired in tax avoidance and money laundering scandals. It also transpires that George Osborne, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, warned the US government not to press criminal charges against HSBC for allowing terrorists and drug dealers to launder millions of dollars.

One has to question whether Mr Osborne would have – if he had been editing the Evening Standard at the time – discouraged reporters there from writing about HSBC, as happened at the Daily Telegraph. Ah, but of course the Torygraph had recently benefited from a stonkingly huge HSBC loan – £250 million. That kind of money can seal a lot of laptops.

But then again, it was alleged earlier this year that HSBC laundered £5 million into Conservative Party hands, in advance of the 2010 general election. Would that be enough to buy George Osborne’s loyalty? I leave that to your own judgement.

Meanwhile, Ms Fairhead is now the Tory minister in charge of trade and export promotion, after being rewarded with a peerage for… well, for being involved in lots of scandals, apparently.

Tories have ‘form’ in this respect – former HSBC chairman Stephen Green quit his job (after the bank was involved in the scandals listed above) to become a Tory peer and minister of state for trade and investment in 2011.

Stephen Green: With people like this in charge of banks – and then going on to important roles in Conservative-led governments, can either the banks or the government be trusted to do what’s right for UK citizens?

Here‘s the Guardian‘s piece on Ms Fairhead’s appointment:

The former chair of the BBC Trust Rona Fairhead has been appointed as an international trade minister with a life peerage, Downing Street has announced.

Fairhead will replace Mark Price, the former Waitrose managing director who quit after a year as trade policy minister. The MP Greg Hands has taken over the policy role, and Fairhead’s title will be minister for trade and export promotion.

Fairhead was the chief executive of the Financial Times Group before taking on the BBC role, from which she resigned after Theresa May indicated that she would have to reapply for the job to which she had been appointed by David Cameron.

Fairhead was the chair of HSBC’s audit committee when the bank admitted to “past compliance and control failures” in the group, after it was mired in a tax avoidance row uncovered by the Guardian’s HSBC files investigation.

The Graun reported that Labour’s Margaret Hodge had attacked the appointment, saying it was “not down to her capabilities”. And she’s not the only one with issues:

It seems clear the Conservative government has a problem understanding the concept of trustworthiness.

A person who has been involved with a business that has regularly and unrepentantly engaged in criminal activities should not have been made chair of the BBC Trust, as David Cameron did. It casts doubt on the reasons for the appointment and raises questions about interference with BBC current affairs coverage.

Theresa May was right to demand that Ms Fairhead re-apply for the job, under those circumstances. But now she has shown a colossal error of judgement in giving the same person a peerage and ministerial appointment. Why? One has to ask what is behind this decision.

Whatever the answer to that question, we can be sure that Ms Fairhead’s appearance in the House of Lords can only undermine what little faith is left in the Conservatives as a party of government.


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Now shipping bosses are lining up to criticise Tory Brexit

Foreign-registered trucks enter the Port of Dover [Image: Graham Mitchell/Barcroft Images].

How many more experts and industry representatives have to line up against the Tories before the general public finally accepts that Theresa May’s Brexit is a national disaster?

Note – I didn’t write “will be”. It is already a national disaster.

It can only get worse. That’s what these people are telling us.

Shipping and port bosses will warn Theresa May that a two-year transition period after Brexit will not be long enough to ensure “frictionless” trade continues in Dover and other British docks.

David Dingle, the chairman of Maritime UK, which represents marine and shipping industries, said he was “very nervous” about the future and concerned the government was putting £16bn worth of business in jeopardy with threats of no Brexit deal.

His concerns stemmed, he said, from the reality of developing new customs declarations systems in time to prevent gridlock at ports and their approach roads.

Source: Shipping bosses: two-year Brexit transition will not be long enough | Politics | The Guardian


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