Tag Archives: house

Why is the Foreign Office buying £20m New York townhouse to subsidise art dealer’s court case?

Liz Truss: she’s not a serious politician. Look at that vapid grin and you’ll understand exactly why she’s spaffing away public money like it was newly-ensewaged water.

While the rest of us face a cost-of-living crisis, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is apparently planning to spend £20 million buying a luxury New York townhouse so the UK’s UN representative can have big parties.

Not only that, but the money would be paid to an art dealer who is currently facing trial for a £500 million tax fraud in France.

Should the UK’s government really be subsidising a possible fraudster’s court representation? And does the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations really need a massively expensive building, just so she can host lavish parties?

The memo on the proposed Manhattan purchase argues that ‘the Sutton Square townhouse would provide a high-quality entertainment space close to the UK mission to the UN [and] comfortable accommodation for VIPs’.

The 9,600 sq ft Manhattan townhouse, which has views over the East River, would be used mainly by Dame Barbara Janet Woodward, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Described by the property agents as ‘a grand and iconic residence for the new gilded age’, Dame Barbara… would enjoy the use of a huge kitchen, sauna-like showers, parquet de Versailles wood floors and a filigreed spiral staircase.

The documents leaked to The Mail on Sunday make the argument that despite already owning three residences in New York, in addition to the embassy and ambassador’s house in Washington, the new property is required to help the UK to pursue ‘soft power’ diplomacy through drinks and canapes.

These things are not good for the UK’s diplomats. Apparently there was a huge row when it was revealed in 2020 that Antonia Romeo, now Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, had been investigated over allegations that she had ‘terrorised’ staff who criticised her extravagant lifestyle and reportedly lavish spending when she was Britain’s Consul General in New York.

But the good news is that, as the building is in a “highly desirable” area of New York, it will likely hold or increase its value in the long term. So it’s a good investment. But how will the people of the UK benefit from this extravagant spending.

Ultimate authority over the deal will lie with airheaded Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who doesn’t seem to understand that spaffing our money – yours and mine, not hers – on things that aren’t vital for the nation is offensive to the people of the UK.

She’s also clueless about the new policy of cutting the number of civil servants in the Foreign Office by 900.

Apparently she’s happy to throw away “people whose skills we no longer need” (charming!) but then wants to take on enough new personnel to create a net increase of 1,000.

It would be okay if we knew that more than 1,000 jobs will be going to people who really need them – but you know Truss is just going to dish them out to more Tory cronies. I await proof that my assertion is false.

It seems clear that, not only is Truss a danger to the safety of the UK, with her sabre-rattling comments about Russia – but she can’t be trusted with money either.

Source: Liz Truss faces row over purchase of £20m New York ‘partyhouse’

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Tory Britain: we can’t afford to eat every day and we’re setting fire to our homes, trying to keep warm

Secret smile: Boris Johnson probably thinks it is very funny that his policies have made more than two million people unable to afford to eat every day, and that some people have set fire to their homes while trying to heat them by burning timber indoors.

You may wish to bookmark this article so you can send it to anyone who tries to tell you voting Conservative is a good idea.

Because more than 12 years of Conservative government has laid the once-great United Kingdom lower than it has been in decades – possibly more than a century.

More than two million people – one in every seven adults – can no longer afford to eat food every day:

More than 2 million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat

The latest survey of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households cutting back on food or skipping meals over the first three months of this year, with one in seven adults (7.3 million) estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7 million in January.

And fire brigades are now overworked dealing with blazes in houses where people started burning timber in open fires because they could not afford the cost of central heating any more:

A man in south-west London set fire to his property by burning timber in his living room to keep warm.

The man was trying to avoid putting on the central heating in his home, fire investigators said.

Fuel poverty campaigners said the incident – one of at least 100 involving open fires, log burners and heaters in the capital in the last few months – laid bare “the harsh and dangerous reality of the cost-of-living crisis”.

Some might say that they don’t care; these incidents involve other people. It’s very easy to throw shade on others by saying they are unable to keep their finances in order.

But the Tory cost-of-living crisis affects us all.

Food costs more because of Brexit-related supply issues; housing costs more because the banks have increased interest rates, meaning mortgages and rents are going up; heating costs more because of the shortage of gas created last winter and accelerated by the Russia-Ukraine war; we are paying more tax to the Tory government than any UK population in more than 40 years.

Only people who are extremely rich can afford to blame others for being unable to stay warm or feed themselves in these circumstances. If you’re on a normal wage, you’ll feel the pinch soon enough.

And it’s all due to Conservative economic incompetence – sold to you with a lie that they knew what they were doing.

Or was it a lie? How much worse would you find it if this enforced starvation and these house fires were intended to happen by Boris Johnson and his party?

Source: More than 2m adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day, survey finds | Food poverty | The Guardian

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Talk of the Parish: MP resigns after admitting he watched porn in House of Commons

Neil Parish: he has admitted looking at porn in the House of Commons and is resigning as a member of Parliament.

This Writer’s biggest question now is, what tractor website has a name similar to an internet pornography site – and will it be changing its name in the near future?

Neil Parish has said the first of two occasions in which he admits watching pornography in the House of Commons was when he was trying to look at tractors; he accidentally opened a porn site with a similar name, he said.

He later returned to the site he had found – deliberately – while sitting in the House of Commons, waiting to vote, he admitted. It was after this occasion that two female colleagues claimed they had seen him looking at porn on his phone while sitting near them.

It is right that he should go – if only because he tried to brazen it out at first.

Like his erstwhile party leader Boris Johnson, Parish initially said he would wait for the results of an inquiry led by his party’s Whips’ office before making any decision on his own future – and he refused to say whether he had watched porn in the Commons, even though he obviously knew he had.

Johnson had previously refused to discuss his alleged attendance at lockdown-busting Downing Street parties and whether he had lied to Parliament about them (an offence for which he should resign, according to the Ministerial Code). He has since been fined for attending one such gathering, with investigations continuing regarding five others.

Parish’s resignation may be seen as an attempt to prevent another scandal from affecting the Conservatives’ chances in the local elections, which will take place on Thursday (May 5).

But is anybody going to want to elect a representative from a party whose members watch porn rather than concentrate on their work, and then try to lie or dissemble their way out of the blame when they’re caught?

Raab was wrong: process that made Lebedev a peer can be easily perverted

Dominic Raab: as Foreign Secretary, he refused to return from a foreign holiday when the Taliban took over Afghanistan – and the public reacted appropriately. Should we really expect his comments on Lord Lebedev to be any more reliable than his reaction to that crisis?

We should not be surprised that Dominic Raab has emitted a flurry of falsehoods in defence of Evgeny Lebedev’s elevation to the House of Lords.

His prime minister, Boris Johnson, has been accused of creating a security risk to the UK by letting the son of a former Russian KGB agent have access to Parliamentary documents via the front door.

So Raab appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Programme spouting a lot of nonsense that “There is a very strict and stringent process when anyone is granted a peerage” and that the rules around the honours process were “applied very rigorously in this case. This was done properly and correctly and we have procedures and systems in place to make sure it is.”

It is possible that he was right in all these statements but they are nonsense because the procedures he described do not prevent people who are a huge security risk from being granted a peerage.

We know about this because The Guardian told us, back in October 2020 [boldings mine]:

Two days before Johnson met Lebedev in March [he did this on March 19, right after telling us all to stay in our homes because of Covid-19, so this happened on March 17], the House of Lords appointments commission (Holac), which scrutinises all nominations, wrote to the prime minister. It is understood to have expressed concerns about Lebedev’s proposed peerage and asked Downing Street to reconsider.

The commission, made up of cross-party peers, carries out “propriety checks” on candidates. It does not have the power of veto. But it can suggest that a party come up with an alternative, which is what is understood to have happened in Lebedev’s case.

Peers were apparently alarmed following a confidential briefing from the UK security services. They told the commission Lebedev was viewed as a potential security risk because of his father, Alexander Lebedev, a one-time Moscow spy. During the late cold war period, Lebedev Sr worked undercover at the Soviet embassy in London. His real employer was KGB foreign intelligence.

In reality, the security risk has been defined as low – because peers do not see classified documents.

But in reluctantly accepting Johnson’s insistence on ennobling the Russian-born son of a spy, Holac allegedly called on Johnson to examine Russian influence in the House of Lords, something highlighted by parliament’s intelligence and security committee in its Russia Report.

And the security services said Lebedev’s “family links” meant he was still regarded as a potential concern.

So Keir Starmer’s call for Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to review all the reports on Lord Lebedev that Holac saw seemed entirely reasonable and proportionate.

Downing Street’s claim that “all peerages are vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission” fails to acknowledge that Holac can’t veto an appointment, which always remains within the gift of the prime minister. Neither does Raab’s.

So these government representatives, it seems, are deceiving us about their treatment of a potential Russian security risk at a time of high international tensions between the UK and Russia. Fit to lead?

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Do working-class Tories realise their government is going to take away their homes?

The Tory decision to charge people £86,000 up-front for social care casts a new perspective on the Conservative Party’s policy on housing from the 1970s onward.

Margaret Thatcher’s government was very hot on giving us all the “right to buy” our homes, including council houses, thereby reducing the amount of social housing available and increasing homelessness.

The buyers were told the purchases would be investments that they could pass on to their successors.

Thatcher’s – and successive – Conservative governments were also opposed to state-run social care. They passed it into private hands with a series of increasingly-inadequate funding agreements that have led to the plan in the Health and Care Bill.

So it seems the plan has always been to fool working-class people into spending their money on houses that would be taken away from them again in their old age; if these dwellings had remained as council housing, it would not have been possible to demand them as payment.

And now we are seeing messages like this.

How many millions of people like Sir Norman of Nowhere’s Dad are there, out in the United Kingdom right now, ignoring the fact that their own political decisions will ruin their retirements (or earlier life, depending on whether they need social care before then)?

What a breathtakingly evil long-term plan.

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Aircraft owner Grant Shapps lobbies against his own government’s plan to built on private runways

Grant Shapps: he’s not stranger to controversy. Check out the businesses he ran under his pseudonyms Michael Green, Sebastian Fox and Corinne Stockheath.

The Transport Secretary of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is spending public money paying private lobbyists to argue against his own government’s plans to build on aircraft runways that are privately-owned, it has been alleged.

The reason? The government minister concerned – Grant Shapps – is the owner of a private aircraft, and also of a private runway.

The allegations are made in a Times article hidden behind a paywall:

So that’s all the information we have. Alok Sharma was certainly being cagey about it when Andrew Marr interviewed him:

The issue is clear: government policy is to build houses on land currently occupied by the runways used by owners of private planes.

Shapps is paying private lobbyists to try to get the government – of which he is Transport Secretary – to change this policy. He is using public – government – money to fund this activity.

So the government is paying your money to fund opposition to its own policy.

It has been said before but could it ever be more clear?

These Tories really do think it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.

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Tory donors pay £3 million for a seat in the House of Lords? Bargain!

Tories will sell anything: or so it seems. This particular Tory seems to have been selling seats in the House of Lords for £3 million a time.

Boris Johnson does it again.

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the country that was to become the United Kingdom was plagued with places known as Rotten Boroughs. These were Parliamentary constituencies with very few voters, whose choice in elections could be bought by corrupt politicians.

They were outlawed many years ago but the concept is explored very thoroughly in an episode of Blackadder The Third.

Now we have ‘Rotten Boris’ Johnson who, it seems, has been selling places in the House of Lords instead – at £3 million a pop!

A complaint has been lodged with the Metropolitan Police…

… but will officers investigate?

Some would say the Met, under its current commissioner, Cressida Dick, is as corrupt as Johnson; we have allowed our institutions to degrade to a point where it is impossible to find an honest person who will hold the criminals to account.

I wait to be proved wrong. But I won’t hold my breath.

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Starmer backtracks on yet another Labour leadership election promise. He’s a grubby liar

All in it together: Keir Starmer (right) is on better terms with Tory prime muppet Boris Johnson (left) than with the party members he deceived into electing him as their leader under false pretences.

Keir Starmer has admitted that yet another of the promises he made to Labour Party members in order to be elected their leader was not true.

He said, in order to be elected leader in April last year, that a Labour Party under his leadership would replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber of regions and nations.

But on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on November 7, he backtracked, saying he would “change” the House of Lords, rather than abolish it:

This is u-turning on one of his so-called ’10 pledges’, made to Labour Party members in order to encourage them to elect him as party leader:

He was never serious in this promise – as he was not serious in any of the 10 pledges he made.

This Writer would suggest that his deliberate deception of the Labour membership makes Starmer lower even than the Tory vermin he pretends to oppose.

As Boris Johnson has been criticised only days ago for even considering granting disgraced corrupt former Tory MP Owen Paterson a place in the Lords, it seems to me that Starmer wants to make sure he has a place to go – and more cash flowing in – when he is finally ejected from the role he cheated his way into winning.

Considering the fact that he no longer intends to carry out any of the promises on which he was elected, shouldn’t this charlatan step down as Labour leader and make way for a candidate who is – at the very least – honest?

Ah, but that would require this knight of the realm to act with integrity.

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Aftershocks of the Paterson scandal: qui bono?**

Owen Paterson: he quit his job as an MP, but will he – and his corrupt Tory party – be REWARDED for it?

If you’ve been locked away for the past couple of days, here’s the situation:

The primary result of Paterson’s fall is that there will be a by-election in North Shropshire.

No indeed. It will be an opportunity for Keir Starmer to parachute his ex-Tory trophy John Bercow in (perhaps), but Bercow would not be an acceptable choice for the Labour Left, so such a decision may lead to a further split in that party.

Labour has refused to countenance the possibility of a single Opposition candidate, chosen from among all the non-Tory parties. Presumably Starmer sees no advantage for him, especially if such a candidate – from another party – wins and then reneges on any agreements.

So the Conservatives are likely to retain North Shropshire, even if they put up a shaved monkey for the seat (and they probably will) – because the other parties are squabbling among themselves.

Meanwhile, the Tories who are actually occupying Parliamentary seats have been disgracing themselves all over the place. Here’s Nadhim Zahawi, admitting that he didn’t bother to read the report on Owen Paterson’s behaviour before voting to support him last Wednesday (November 3).

Note his scrabbling attempt to backtrack with a claim that he didn’t take in every detail. It’s nonsense, of course; he didn’t read the report. He was told to support Paterson so he did, without thinking. That’s Fascist Britain for you.

Here’s a good question:

The fact is that Zahawi would not have been able to answer, as he would know that either position would be unsafe for him.

Still, his choice seems to have been less difficult than that faced by other Tory MPs who (presumably) were leaning against supporting Paterson.

We are told that they were threatened with sanctions if they didn’t vote the way Boris Johnson wanted:

So much for justice, honesty and decency in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government. Even if you’re on his side, you have to do what you’re told, without thinking, or face sanctions. There’s another fairly recent national government that did much the same but I can’t quite recall where it was…

To prove the point, Tory Angela Richardson was fire from her job as a secretary to Michael Gove, because she stuck to her principles and refused to support Paterson. The following morning, when it had become clear that the Tories would not be able to save him and their plan to corrupt the standards system had failed, she was reinstated:

One would hope that her stand would put her in a much better position than her blindly line-toeing colleagues (including This Writer’s MP, Fay Jones. I’d like to know her reasons for supporting corruption!) in a general election. But in tribal England, that seems unlikely. Sad.

And what of Owen Paterson himself?

Perhaps we should all lobby the production team of HIGNFY, never to invite a corrupt, disgraced former MP to guest on the show?

As for the knighthood, why stop there?

So it seems he’ll be heading for the House of Lords – which is already bursting at the seams with Tories after previous efforts by David Cameron and Boris Johnson to fill the place with people who don’t deserve to be there:

Crime really does pay in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, doesn’t it?*

It seems the Tories will keep the Parliamentary seat that their corrupt MP just vacated, even though their conduct throughout the affair shows that none of them deserve to be in Parliament at all.

And Paterson himself is set up for a nice little peerage and more than £300 per day for turning up at the House of Lords.

*All right, what he did is not defined as a crime, otherwise he would be facing criminal charges. But it is certainly not acceptable behaviour, as this entire affair demonstrates.

**What an illiterate! I meant cui bono. After realising my mistake I decided to leave it in, mostly because I reckon more people might read the article, simply to correct my spelling! What a world we live in.

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Chris Packham’s house firebombed – because he campaigns for conservation?

Inferno: the exploding Land Rover damaged the gates beyond repair.

At a time of worldwide animal extinctions and potentially irreparable damage to the ecosystem, what kind of psychopath firebombs the house of a conservationist who campaigns to save our wildlife?

Shockingly, masked intruders parked a Land Rover outside a Hampshire house belonging to TV naturalist Chris Packham last weekend and set fire to it. This was the day before he was due to deliver a 100,000-signature petition to Buckingham Palace, calling for the Royal Family to conserve nature on Crown estates and to reintroduce species like beavers and wild boar.

Mr Packham himself has attributed the attack to online trolls:

He said: “These people are angry at some of the things that I campaign against.” He campaigns against the wilful destruction of our natural environment! How can anybody be angry about that?

Sadly, This Writer can understand and sympathise with much of his experience with online trolls.

It is very easy to whip up extreme hatred on (for example) Twitter. I’m currently fighting a court case against another TV personality, who claims that her own behaviour on that platform didn’t encourage her Twitter followers to bully and intimidate a teenage girl with mental health problems. My question is simple: if she didn’t focus her followers on that girl, who does she say did?

Mr Packham says the social media companies have done nothing to enable justice or prevent hatred from being whipped up, and I am (again) inclined to agree.

But the Tory government is (allegedly) putting legislation through Parliament to change that. The Online Harms Bill will propose penalties for such behaviour.

I am eagerly awaiting it. Depending on what measures are finally imposed, it may be the best thing this Tory government does.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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