Tag Archives: fast track

Is this why Michelle Mone is still free as a bird, despite her (alleged) PPE corruption?

Off the hook? Baroness Mone. One wonders whether she has darkened the doors of the House of Lords again, now Rishi Sunak appears to have cancelled any court action over the PPE procurement scandal involving her.

It seems that – under pressure from UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, whose government green-lit a torrent of corrupt PPE procurement deals during the Covid-19 crisis – judges in our courts have withdrawn permission to challenge PPE procurement deals on any level at all.

Despite the fact that enormous amounts of public money were handed over to friends and cronies of the Conservative government in return for nothing at all useful, these judges have said there is no public interest in how that public money is spent.

Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project, which brought judicial review cases on many of these PPE deals, has taken to ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) to explain what has happened:

The pages from Mr Maugham’s book carry two stand-out passages for This Writer. First is this:

“‘I have the greatest respect for our judiciary and the rule of law in this country,’ wrote Rishi Sunak, before proceeding to threaten a new measure ‘which he would activate in the event of judicial recidivism*’. You can threaten judges who find against you or you can claim respect for the rule of law, but you can’t do both.”

Then we have this: “Our senior judges are drawn from an incredibly narrow section of society. They are the overwhelming beneficiary of the status quo and, the statistics show, went to school and university with those in government whose acts they now judge. Taken as a class, their politics and social outlook are bound to align with those who hold political and cultural power.”

Put it all together and we may conclude that judicial reviews of PPE procurement processes were halted not just because judges were threatened with a loss of power, but because they didn’t want to find against their friends in government and business.

And that brings us to Michelle Mone, who recommended PPE Medpro to provide Personal Protective Equipment to the UK government during the Covid crisis?

It won a contract via the Tory government’s illegal “fast track” – and then failed to come up with the goods; the government said the equipment wasn’t up to scratch, although the firm reckoned it passed inspections.

Baroness Mone and her family allegedly made £65 million from Medpro’s profits. This Site heard about this scandal in November last year, and shortly afterwards, she took a leave of absence from the House of Lords.

Nothing was heard of her for months, and then she suddenly reappeared, being photographed at fashionable London locations:

Is this the reason? Was she tipped off that it was possible for her to return to the UK because Rishi Sunak had made sure she would be protected from any kind of punishment for her actions, and she would not have to return the millions she took from the public purse?

*Recidivism: “the tendency of convicted criminals to continue to offend”. So Sunak was comparing judges with criminals, despite the evidence that it was his government that had behaved illegally.

Gove is desperate to avoid fallout over free schools

Underqualified: This Labour Party campaign meme highlights the drawbacks of Michael Gove's foolish and expensive 'free school' experiment.

Underqualified: This Labour Party campaign meme highlights the drawbacks of Michael Gove’s foolish and expensive ‘free school’ experiment.

The country has been concentrating on government sleaze for the past week or so – and this is a mistake. We should also monitor government incompetence and thankfully Michael Gove is around to provide plenty of it.

He wants organisations that are part of his struggling ‘free schools’ pet project to receive special fast-track attention – to avoid the political embarrassment that would be caused by their failure.

Last year the project was rocked by the failure of the Al-Madinah Free School in Derby, and the resignations of unqualified head teachers at Pimlico Free School in London and Discovery School in Crawley. Vox Political discussed all three at the time.

The Discovery School was one of four that were declared inadequate by Ofsted and closed down at the end of March.

Last week, The Observer revealed that Gove wants to hush up any further damaging revelations by ensuring that problems are tackled before Ofsted can publicise them.

The article stated: “It suggests that party political considerations are now driving education policy a year ahead of the general election.”

Quite. It is also a sharp reminder of how far the Coalition government has deviated from its original claim, to be uniting “in the public interest”.

The plan adds extra pressure to the Education department, where morale has already plummetted due to Gove’s determination to employ his own advisors, to overrule the expert advice provided by civil servants in favour of ideologically-motivated dogma.

It also shows that Gove is giving preferential treatment to his pet project. State schools go into special measures after receiving a ruling from Ofsted that they are inadequate – and can remain there for more than a year.

More damaging still is the fact that many of the problems with free schools have nothing to do with education, but are organisational in origin. According to the article, these include: “Operating in temporary sites without a clear permanent home; new, inexperienced and often isolated trusts needing to upskill themselves to run a school for the first time; instability in principal appointments and senior leadership teams.”

So when you hear that your child’s school has been under-performing because it has been deprived of resources and support from the Department for Education, just remember that this has happened because we have an Education Secretary who is more concerned with hiding his own inadequacies – problems that could have been avoided if he had concentrated a little more on the details.

On the basis of this term work, Mr Gove, we’ll have to give you an ‘F’ – for ‘Fail’.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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