Tag Archives: Grant Shapps

Here’s the reason it is impossible to treat the plague in a post-truth country

The United Kingdom is never going to get to grips with Covid-19 if its government ministers continue to lie about it.

Grant Shapps – a man well-known for playing fast-and-loose with the facts – was up to his old tricks at a press briefing last week when, as Transport Secretary, he claimed trains were not overcrowded since the Tories ordered people back to work, despite numerous photos of overcrowded trains.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

That looks pretty crowded – and this was the Victoria Line. The Central Line at the height of rush hour must be a nightmare.

Bear in mind that social distancing rules still apply and we are supposed to stay at least two metres away from other people.

Shapps claimed that tube trains have been at just five per cent occupancy – which leads This Writer to wonder whether he has been averaging out usage over each 24-hour period, rather than examining the situation at times when people are most likely to be infected by close proximity to others.

He has announced that it will be mandatory to wear face masks on public transport from June 15, when the government intends to ease lockdown restrictions further and send more people back to work.

There is no justification for such easing; the nation remains at Covid alert level 4, meaning the virus remains at large and its reproduction rate is increasing.

But this is a government that won’t accept our truth; it is too busy pushing its own on us.

So snake-oil salesman Shapps told us, in very poor English: “In fact, there hasn’t been very much crowding situation going on.

“It’s not the case … that transport’s been overcrowded. We’ve been watching it very carefully.”

He continued to deny the facts, despite being shown photographic evidence of overcrowding on trains, taken on different days since the lockdown was eased:

“We tracked it on a day by day basis.

“I can literally tell you the trains where there was an issue, because the train was broken down, or Canning Town [in east London], where those pictures were shared very widely.

“But actually the broad picture is there have been one or two people sitting in carriages a lot of the time.”

What can you do, in the face of such blatant denial of the facts from a government minister who is hell-bent on exposing you to a killer disease?

What will you do?

Source: Grant Shapps claims trains aren’t overcrowded despite photos of overcrowded trains – Mirror Online

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As ministers distance themselves from Johnson, he’s not even denying he’s as racist as Sabisky

All Nazis together: unrepentant Boris Johnson probably doesn’t even wish he hadn’t pulled this pose.

Senior Tories have been working hard to repair the damage Andrew Sabisky has done to their credibility – but it’s hard when their own prime minister is refusing to deny that he holds the same racist opinions.

Grant Shapps was the first to claim that Sabisky did not speak for the Conservative government.

He said over the weekend that Sabisky’s reported opinions were views that “neither I or the government share in any shape or form”.

But when a Downing Street spokesperson was asked whether Mr Shapps was speaking on behalf of the government, he replied that Johnson’s views were “well-documented”, adding: “The transport secretary was speaking as the transport secretary. I have answered the question on behalf of the prime minister.”

Of course it is impossible to deny that Johnson has those views; he has expressed them time and again.

For example, on the subject of black people’s IQs, shall we consider Johnson’s novel Seventy-two Virgins? Consider:

https://twitter.com/TheLabourLeftie/status/1229684979279552512?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

And of course Johnson was forced to apologise in 2008, after he wrote an article in The Spectator saying that black people have lower IQs.

Meanwhile Mr Shapps has been joined in condemning this viewpoint by Kwasi Kwarteng, according to The Independent:

“Kwasi Kwarteng broke with Boris Johnson – who has thus far refused to condemn the departing aide – by branding his [Sabisky’s] past comments “racist”, “offensive” and “reprehensible”.

“Calling for an overhaul of recruitment, Kwarteng said: “I think we should prevent racists from coming into No10 or wherever he was working. I think we do need to look at these processes.”

“On Sabisky’s past writings, Kwarteng said: “It was completely reprehensible – they were racist remarks.””

Mind you, Kwarteng never had a word to say in opposition for the whole of the week that Sabisky was in position. Funny, that.

And Caroline Nokes, who was already on the record about this, attacked the prime minister’s office for being silent over Sabisky’s “abhorrent views”.

Again according to The Independent: “Unfortunately we had 48 hours of almost complete silence and no comment from Downing Street, who could have distanced themselves from his youthful comments at any point, but they chose not to do so.”

Nokes also said: “I think you want to have exciting ideas and energy around policy-making in Downing Street, what you don’t want is racism, sexism and the sort of abhorrent ideas that were present in this young man’s tweets.”

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what is in Downing Street – and will continue to be, for as long as Boris Johnson remains in office as prime minister.

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Supporters up in arms that HS2 might not be allowed to ruin irreplaceable natural habitats

Saddened: After all David Attenborough’s warnings about damage to the ecosystem on which human beings rely, it seems English people are quite happy to condemn species upon species to extinction in order to shorten their rail journeys by 20 minutes.

The HS2 high-speed rail link between London and the north of England could divide and destroy “huge swathes” of “irreplaceable” natural habitats – but supporters are reportedly devastated that part of it may be scrapped.

So much for our concern for the environment. Nobody cares that any number of rare species could die out, as long as they get to their destination 20 minutes faster.

And after all the warnings from David Attenborough. I wonder how he feels, now he knows he was wasting his breath on the general public.

It may seem trivial but it contributes to the expected destruction of a million animal species, ruining entire ecosystems on which human beings depend, as Sir David says, “for every breath of air we take and every mouthful of food that we eat.”

No, no – you’d rather make your journey 20 minutes shorter.

In fact, it doesn’t matter what members of the general public think.

It seems the Tory government is likely to scale down or even cancel HS2, because politicians like Boris Johnson want to put the money elsewhere.

Johnson’s transport adviser, Andrew Gilligan, is known to be against HS2, and Dominic Cummings, his chief adviser, is also not keen, having described it last year as a “white elephant”.

Johnson has for months been expected to endorse HS2 if it can reduce its costs, after commissioning a review by Douglas Oakervee, which is understood to support the whole line going ahead.

However, the government is dragging its feet over the publication of the Oakervee report and final decision, claiming the document is not finished yet even though it was submitted to the Department for Transport in November.

A DfT source insisted “there is no final report” as Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, “had some questions” about earlier drafts and it was sent back for revisions.

It seems that, if the government does cancel or restrict HS2, it will have made the right choice, at long last – although, as usual, for the wrong reasons.

Source: HS2 supporters fear Boris Johnson plans to scrap part of rail project | UK news | The Guardian

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Conservative Party membership has plummeted – they are withholding the figures to hide the truth

Land of disillusion: Another former Conservative burns his membership card. [Archive image: Daily Mail!]

The only reason Grant Shapps has demanded that the Conservative Party publish its membership figure is to embarrass Theresa May. That’s fine by This Writer.

Mr Shapps attempted to unseat the minority prime minister last year, after her disastrous performance at the Conservative Party Conference – but before the series of further calamities that befell the Tory government in the months that followed.

And the party membership figure is sore point among Conservatives.

Back in 2013, This Site reported that David Cameron had admitted the Tories had a membership of 134,000 – not the nearly-150,000 quoted in the BBC News article below.

That was a drop of almost half the membership, from the 253,600 who voted in Mr Cameron’s leadership election in 2005.

Now, the figures This Writer is hearing suggest that membership has almost halved again, to around 70,000 – that’s a fall of almost three-quarters in less than 13 years.

It doesn’t mean that much, though.

Remember, nearly 14 million people voted for the Conservatives’ selfish and homicidal policies in June.

They won’t die out of their own accord – privilege understands self-preservation.

The battle for Britain has always been one of persuasion. We must overcome unreasoning tribalism and irrational hatred of those who oppose the privileged few, as well as the Tory policy arguments, to win the stewardship of the United Kingdom and its citizens.

The Conservative Party should “come clean” about how many members it has, its former chairman has said.

Grant Shapps said “transparency” on membership numbers was vital even if the figure appeared to be “embarrassing”.

The party last published figures in 2013, when it had 149,800 members but has refused to publish an update since then.

Activists and academics have estimated it has fallen to 100,000, or less.

Source: Tories must come clean on membership figures – ex-chairman – BBC News


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Why is Grant Shapps surprised about abuse from right-wingers? We’ve been banging on and on about it

Grant Shapps [Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.]


Does anybody really think Grant Shapps didn’t expect to disappear beneath a mountain of abuse after he was outed as the man behind an attempted coup against Theresa May?

We’ve all known for many moons that abuse – particularly online abuse – is more prevalent among right-wingers than anywhere else.

Grant Shapps has told Conservative colleagues that he has been subjected to an unprecedented level of “abuse and bile” since being outed as the ringleader of an attempted coup against Theresa May.

In a leaked email, the former Conservative chair, who was added to a WhatsApp group so that he could read the reams of criticism against him, expressed surprise that attacks even came from those who “most rail against cyberbulling”.

He said he was appalled by the way that his name was briefed to the media and “presented in a simplistic villain versus hero fashion”.

Source: Grant Shapps shocked by ‘abuse and bile’ over coup attempt against PM


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Tories have been plotting to backstab Theresa May after series of disasters

Grant Shapps: ‘A growing number of my colleagues realise the solution isn’t to bury our heads in the sand and hope things will get better.’ [Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.]

Amazingly, we now have something for which to thank Grant Shapps!

The former Tory chair, whose own sordid history has been well-covered on This Site in the past, has emerged as the man behind the inevitable plot to oust Theresa May from the Tory leadership and from 10 Downing Street:

Some cabinet ministers privately agree Theresa May should step aside, a former Conservative party chairman has said, as pressure grows on the prime minister to call a leadership election.

Grant Shapps, who served as Tory chair for nearly three years, has emerged as the ringleader of a backbench plot to force May to step down. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the solution to the leadership crisis was not “to bury our heads in the sand”.

Shapps said he had the support of about 30 MPs, including five former cabinet ministers, and suggested some cabinet ministers privately agreed but would be reluctant to back him because they were on the “payroll”.

Shapps said he had hoped to speak to the prime minister privately but the Tory party whips had unmasked him in the Times newspaper. He revealed that No 10 was aware of his discontent and had urged him not to go public.

He said the group of MPs supporting him included Brexiters and those who supported remaining in the European Union.

(Source: Tory ministers privately agree May should go, says Grant Shapps | Politics | The Guardian)

Unfortunately, the fact that it is Grant Shapps, and that his own reputation isn’t spotless, means some are already seeing this as a storm in a teacup:

This Site has already commented on reports that Mrs May was being “bullied” towards resignation by Boris Johnson, with Conservative donors saying she should stand down.

Twitter has, of course, been full of gossip about the latest crisis to hit to Tories:

 

It’s all very enjoyable for those of us who aren’t Conservatives, but it is worth reminding everybody that this is a dangerous distraction at a time when the United Kingdom – as a world economy – is extremely vulnerable.

Just by having a debate about Mrs May’s leadership, the Tories have caused another run on the value of Sterling:

Brexit represents huge threats to the UK, as does the underlying economic weakness of the country due to Conservative mismanagement.

A leadership election and the arrival of a replacement will not lead to any improvement in these serious issues.

The only solution is the resignation of the Tories and the election of a Labour government that is prepared for these challenges.


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The overdue and much-deserved demise of Grant Shapps

As his name tag ('Michael Green') shows, Grant Shapps is not a novice in the art of bending the facts.

As his name tag (‘Michael Green’) shows, Grant Shapps is not a novice in the art of bending the facts.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

This Blog has followed the career – if you can call it that – of the creature that currently calls itself ‘Grant Shapps’ for several years now. It is a catalogue of disgrace that would make normal men blush and could even provoke some Tories to dip into the drinks cabinet for fortification.

It is impossible to comment on the allegations that have forced the former Conservative Party chairman’s resignation from his latest job, as International Development Secretary.

It is claimed that he ignored repeated warnings over the actions of party youth organiser Mark Clarke, after the apparent suicide in September of Tory activist Elliot Johnson.

Mr Clarke has denied any wrongdoing and it would be wrong for This Blog to comment on the subject of an ongoing investigation.

It is telling, though, that Shapps has resigned over the mere allegation of his involvement in this matter.

This is the man who coined the term “spare room subsidy” as a euphemism for the Bedroom Tax and as an excuse to diddle social housing tenants out of the housing benefit they needed in order to keep a roof over their heads. He said the removal of this “subsidy” (which was never enshrined in UK law) was necessary to free up “a million empty bedrooms in this country” for the use of “so many people in desperate need of a house”.

It would have been fine if that was what happened, but in fact the Bedroom Tax meant large families were unwilling to move into social rented dwellings with two or more bedrooms because they feared the possibility that these homes would be taken away from them, just as soon as any of the children became old enough to move out. With the previous tenants having been evicted for skipping rent payments, this left the properties free to be sold off to developers at rock-bottom prices – to be converted into luxury dwellings for the obscenely rich.

This is the man who claimed that new assessment criteria in the work capability assessment medical test for people on incapacity benefits meant 878,000 people had dropped their claim before taking it – when in fact this total was entirely due to the natural wastage you get from people getting better or finding work they can do while ill.

This is the man who threw a hissy fit after the UN special investigator on housing, Raquel Rolnik, described the Bedroom Tax’s effect on the vulnerable as “shocking”. He said she had not been invited to the UK by the Conservative-led Government, even though it was the Tories who gave the Brazilian housing and architecture academic permission to carry out the study.” When this was exposed as a lie, Shapps joined fellow Tories including Iain Duncan Smith and attacked her for her racial origin, national background, and beliefs – political and personal.

This is the man who claimed the BBC should face a cut in its licence fee or be forced to share it with other broadcasters unless it rebuilt public trust after receiving bad publicity over payouts to top executives and the way it handled the Jimmy Savile scandal – a claim that would have had more impact if Shapps himself did not have his own issues over trustworthiness.

This is the man who, as ‘Michael Green’, in the run-up to the 2005 election and afterwards, “charged clients £183 an hour for advice on how to make money from the web as well as offering tips on how to beat the recession blues, including splashing out on a jet-ski or learning to play the guitar,” according to the Daily Mail. Apparently he said his use of the name was to keep his business interests separate from his future political work, but he said he had ended his involvement with that business before entering Parliament when in fact his involvement stopped in 2009, four years after he entered Parliament. ‘Sebastian Fox’ was another alias he used on Howtocorp, the web publishing company he created in 2000.

The nature of the web marketing business was also criticised in the media. The 20/20 Challenge publication cost $497 and promised customers earnings of $20,000 in 20 days. Upon purchase, the “toolkit” was revealed to be an ebook advising the user to create their own toolkit and recruit 100 “Joint Venture Partners” to resell it for a share of the profits – in other words, a pyramid scheme.

This is the man who, following on from these shady practices, said Ed Miliband could never run the UK because he had never run a business in his life.

This is the man the Labour Party claimed should be suspended and an investigation launched under the ministerial code of conduct after the police said one of his companies may have committed “an offence of fraud”. The Metropolitan Police had stated in a letter that the company’s sales of TrafficPaymaster software, that ‘spins and scrapes’ content from other websites, “may constitute an offence of fraud, among others”, but that this would not be investigated further. The official Tory line was that there was no case to answer.

This is the man who has been described as “Britain’s Most Perennially-Caught-Out Serial Liar” due to all of the above – and now he has resigned over an unproved allegation.

Make of that what you will. At least he’s gone.

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Tories put Labour’s cart before their horse in budget row

Iain Duncan Smith has had 15 months in which to tell us where he'll make £12 billion in cuts to benefits. He simply doesn't want you to know and can't be bothered to tell you.

Iain Duncan Smith has had 15 months in which to tell you where he’ll make £12 billion in cuts to benefits. He simply doesn’t want you to know and can’t be bothered to tell you.

This writer is a big fan of The Critique Archives. Martin Odoni has no problem saying what he means and backing it up with facts – and the latest piece, In a democratic process you are supposed to tell us what your own damned budgets are before you insult someone else’s, is a prime example.

“Well, that was a blundering start to the Election campaign, even by the standards of the modern Conservative Party,” he writes.

“According to [Iain] Duncan Smith, the Conservatives have not yet made decisions on exactly how they are going to make the pledged cuts of twelve billion pounds to public spending, even though they announced them well over a year ago. They just have a nice, juicy-sounding target-figure to aim at, without even calculating whether it is a suitable target, and they are going to work out a budget to reach it ‘after-the-fact’? However, they have managed to calculate a budget for the Labour Party’s plans – and in such impressive detail that they can even tell us how much extra tax the average household will pay?

“After four hundred and fifty days of not figuring out their own budget, that may go down as a disproportionately-rigorous examination of Labour’s plans.”

Having gone on to show that the Institute for Fiscal Studies had comprehensively debunked the Tory claims, the article gets downright festive in its description of how “Britain’s Most Perennially-Caught-Out Serial Liar” – that’s Grant Shapps – responded. You’ll have to go and visit the article to read it.

The point is that the Tories were more concerned with lying about Labour’s plans than they were with telling the public about their own.

In an election period, those details become very important, don’t you think? And the Tories can’t be bothered… after around 15 months.

There are more festive descriptions of the possible outcome of any further Tory spending cuts, then we get to the meat and the (blue) blood: “It says a great deal about the arrogance and inflated self-importance of Cameron and his closest circle of colleagues that they see no need to explain to the country what they hope to do next. Make no mistake, these are people who see themselves as ‘above’ most of the rest of Britain, and as such, feel no compunction over lying to them, and sneer at the very thought of being ‘accountable’ to them. No, it is their innate ‘right’ to lead.

“It is the nature of democracy, if it is ever to work, that the public are trusted with the truth, so that they can make informed decisions on whom to trust in turn with their vote. The Conservatives will not co-operate with that ideal though. Their priority is power alone, and they rightly fear that an informed public, aware of precisely what a Tory Government would do to them, would never trust them with that power.”

That’s worth bearing in mind when you’re watching the televised leader debate on ITV tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Vox Political proved right over Grant Shapps’ business interests

As his name tag ('Michael Green') shows, Grant Shapps is not a novice in the art of bending the facts.

As his name tag (‘Michael Green’) shows, Grant Shapps is not a novice in the art of bending the facts.

Remember when Vox Political took issue with Grant Shapps over the business he ran while sitting as a member of Parliament?

Back in October 2013, this blog stated: “As ‘Michael Green’, in the run-up to the 2005 election and afterwards, he “charged clients £183 an hour for advice on how to make money from the web as well as offering tips on how to beat the recession blues, including splashing out on a jet-ski or learning to play the guitar,” according to the Daily Mail. Apparently he said his use of the name was to keep his business interests separate from his future political work, but he ended his involvement with that business in 2009, four years after he entered Parliament.

“‘Sebastian Fox’ was another alias he used on Howtocorp, the web publishing company he created in 2000.”

Today – March 16, 2015 – the BBC tells us: “Mr Shapps admitted he had ‘over firmly’ denied continuing his writing career – under the pen name Michael Green – when he entered the Commons in 2005.

“In an interview with LBC Radio three weeks ago, Mr Shapps said it was ‘absolutely clear’ he was not doing business as Michael Green while he was an MP, saying ‘I did not have a second job while being an MP, end of story’.

“However, Mr Shapps has now acknowledged that he was mistaken ‘over the dates’ of his outside employment during the interview.”

“This came after the Guardian issued what it says is a recording of a sales pitch made in the summer of 2006 in which Mr Shapps, using his Michael Green pen name, says he will be running his ‘mentoring programme’ to hire staff and produce software to create websites.”

Shapps has told us he fully declared all his business interests, but Labour wants an inquiry. After all – if he can get his dates mixed up in a radio interview, who knows what else he has “over firmly” denied?

Meanwhile, the fact he was making a sales pitch in 2006, at a time when he reckoned he was “winding up” the business, suggests that Vox Political was right to pick up on it.

As Labour MP Chris Bryant said in a tweet yesterday, “So, basically, Grant Shapps has been fibbing all the while. Is that right? Or was it Michael Green that was fibbing?”

This writer responded: “Definitely Grant Shapps. Michael Green only does what Shapps says.”

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‘If you vote SNP, you can’t expect a Labour government’

Don't they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they'll justify this little gem?

Don’t they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they’ll justify this little gem?

Scottish voters have been pulled hither and yon over the past few months – mostly by the claims of the SNP.

It is good, therefore, to have clarity from the Labour Party.

The message is clear, as reported by the BBC: “Labour leader Ed Miliband has told party members in Edinburgh … that ‘every one less Labour MP’ made it more likely the Conservatives would be the largest party” after the general election.

The much-maligned Jim Murphy added: “The biggest risk of Scotland getting the government it didn’t vote for is to believe you can get a Labour government while voting for somebody else.”

We’ve had a lot of SNP spin about Scotland’s relevance to the larger picture in general elections. “It doesn’t make any difference,” according to that party and its followers.

In that case, why are they hoping for a minority Labour government that needs SNP support to pass its policies? According to their own argument, this should not be necessary because Scotland “doesn’t make any difference”.

It is obvious that this argument is “pish”, as SNP adherents like to describe anything they don’t like.

Nicola Sturgeon has dropped demands that a minority Labour government must abandon the Trident nuclear weapon system if it is to have SNP support, indicating her own desperation for a deal (although, in reality, it may not make much difference; 75 per cent of Labour Parliamentary candidates oppose Trident out of principle).

The Tories are stupidly calling on Labour to rule out a deal with the SNP on the grounds that Labour would be relying on a party that wants to weaken the United Kingdom and eventually break it up altogether. Grant Shapps said: “Ed Miliband and the SNP have signed the pre-nup and are now half-way up the aisle.” Rubbish, of course.

But Murphy pointed out that the SNP brought down a Labour government in 1979 by opposing it in a vote of no confidence. That is what led to the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Labour hasn’t forgotten that betrayal. When somebody comes calling who has stabbed you in the back, you don’t welcome them with open arms.

Meanwhile, the SNP has been stupidly claiming that Labour is considering a coalition with the Tories, based on the flimsy evidence of a tweet from a now-departed Scottish Labour functionary and an off-the-cuff comment from an MP.

That silliness has also been dumped unceremoniously into the grave.

“We’ve got so little in common when it comes to the big issues that that is never going to happen,” said Murphy.

So if you’re Scottish, you’ve got the SNP claiming Labour will do a deal with the Tories (ha ha), and the Tories saying Labour is “halfway up the aisle” with the SNP (ha ha).

Only Labour is making any sense at all.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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