Tag Archives: Lord

Ex-Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption tells Stage 4 cancer sufferer her life is ‘less valuable’

Lord Sumption: when he opened his mouth, he opened a can of worms.

Are you losing any faith you have in our legal system,s people like Lord Jonathan Sumption in it? I am.*

On a BBC debate show, The Big Questions, discussing the cost of lockdown, he argued that he believed his children’s and grandchildren’s lives were worth more than his ‘because they’ve got a lot more of it ahead’.

It created considerable controversy when podcaster Deborah James, who has Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer, said – well, see for yourself:

Sumption tried to justify himself:

He said: ‘I object extremely strongly to any suggestion that I was inferring that Miss James’s life was less valuable because she had cancer.

‘I thought she was responding to my earlier comments about older people being protected by a total lockdown which is causing immense harm to the young who are unaffected.

‘That harm can be to their mental health or through cooping undergraduates up at university or through the loss of jobs.

‘I was saying this should not be inflicted on the young to protect old people like me.

‘If Miss James has misinterpreted that then I can only apologise to her as it was not my intention to suggest she was less valuable. Sometimes on videolinks it can be difficult to hear what the other person is saying.’

But he did say she was less valuable.

Is this the kind of judgement he made in the Supreme Court?

Were cases decided on whether a person was “more valuable” than another – to society, perhaps? On what would that have been based? Money? Societal position?

And what does that mean for justice? That those of us who are poor, or don’t have a role that Lord Sumption considers “valuable” could not rely on a fair judgement in our court cases?

Don’t ask me for an answer because I honestly don’t know.

Members of the public have formed their own opinions (apologies for the fact that so many of them are attached to the same video):

Yes. And did he make similar decisions, on the basis of his own view of worth, while he was a judge?

If so, bang goes British justice.

Source: Lord Sumption tells Stage 4 cancer sufferer her life is ‘less valuable’ than others | Daily Mail Online

*And it’s a huge concern for me, because I am involved in court proceedings at the time of writing.

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Government buys 100 million doses of vaccine by firm that ‘procurement tsar’ part-owns

Interesting display of priorities by the Conservative government here.

It has bought 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, enough to vaccinate 50 million people, having approved its supply with the first doses to be given on Monday.

This compares with just 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that was approved in early December – enough for 20 million people, with doses already supplied to nearly 700,000.

Is it a coincidence that – as revealed by the New York Times – Lord Deighton, the Tory procurement tsar whose attempts to get personal protective equipment went so badly wrong, is a shareholder in AstraZeneca?

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday amid rising coronavirus cases.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.

This will cover the entire population, when combined with the full order of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

Meanwhile, the number of new Covid-19 cases has soared again, to 53,135 on December 29. This is due to the Tories’ failure to make any real effort to control the spread of the virus.

Even in the current lockdown, schools will reopen when term begins in January – and schools are now recognised as the principle vector for the spread of the disease.

It’s almost as though someone had created an urgent need for a vaccine, in order to supply that demand.

I know.

It’s just paranoia. And I shouldn’t mind that somebody is getting very rich indeed from the suffering of millions of people.

Source: Covid-19: Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine approved for use in UK – BBC News

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Is it too early to demand an investigation into the naked Covid-19 cronyism that has cost so much cash – and so many thousands of lives?

Two-fingered salute: this will be the likely response if we ask Boris Johnson politely for an inquiry into his procurement methods for Covid-19-related equipment and services.

Listen to the following video from our old friend Jeremy Corbyn:

He’s right about the cronyism. The New York Times – a US newspaper and one from a country that supports private enterprise over socialism – recently ran an article examining the phenomenon.

Its findings were an indictment against Boris Johnson and his ragtag gaggle of freeloaders, for whom the phrase, “We’re all in it together,” actually means, “Everyone for themselves!”

Under the heading Waste, negligence and cronyism: inside Britain’s pandemic spending, the paper stated: “In the desperate scramble for protective gear and other equipment, politically connected companies reaped billions.”

It began: “When the pandemic exploded in March, British officials embarked on a desperate scramble to procure the personal protective equipment, ventilators, coronavirus tests and other supplies critical to containing the surge.

“In the months following those fevered days, the government handed out thousands of contracts to fight the virus, some of them in a secretive “V.I.P. lane” to a select few companies with connections to the governing Conservative Party.”

The paper said it analyzed the roughly 1,200 central government contracts that have been made public, together worth nearly $22 billion (£16.28 billion):

About $11 billion [£8.14 billion] went to companies either run by friends and associates of politicians in the Conservative Party, or with no prior experience or a history of controversy.

Meanwhile, smaller firms without political clout got nowhere.

It said the procurement system was cobbled together during a meeting of anxious bureaucrats in late March, and a wealthy former investment banker and Conservative Party grandee, Paul Deighton, who sits in the House of Lords, was later tapped to act as the government’s czar for personal protective equipment.

Eight months on, Lord Deighton has helped the government award billions of dollars in contracts –– including hundreds of millions to several companies where he has financial interests or personal connections.

It looks like we should start making a list of names in advance of a future corruption inquiry, and this Lord Deighton should be at the top of it!*

That’s if we ever get all the information…

Citing the urgency of the pandemic, the government cast aside the usual transparency rules and awarded contracts worth billions of dollars without competitive bidding. To date, just over half of all of the contracts awarded in the first seven months remain concealed from the public

The paper mentions some of the firms with Tory connections that received funding:

Uniserve Group: Awarded $1 billion in PPE contracts, the company is among the biggest winners. Its founder is an adviser to a pro-Brexit think tank panel chaired by two prominent government ministers.**

Randox Laboratories: Awarded $646 million in testing contracts. Owen Paterson, a government minister [and another name for our list], is a paid consultant for the firm.**

Deloitte: Awarded a contract to consult on PPE procurement retrospectively and without competition. The company has made non-cash donations to the Conservative Party and others.**

Around $6 billion went to companies that had no prior experience in supplying medical personal protective equipment. Fashion designers, pest controllers and jewelers won lucrative contracts.

PPE Medpro: This company won its first contract barely three weeks after it was set up. It went on to win nearly $274 million in PPE contracts.**

Ocean Footprint: The marine equipment supplier was awarded a $7 million contract without having any prior experience in supplying medical PPE.**

PestFix: The pest control supply firm won more than $470 million in PPE contracts. It supplied 600,000 face masks that could not be used for their original purpose.**

More than $5 billion was awarded to companies with histories of controversy, from tax evasion and fraud to corruption and human rights abuses.

KPMG: Its UK arm recently faced a negligence lawsuit over alleged accounting failures linked to the collapse of outsourcing giant Carillion.**

Serco: Awarded $285 million for testing and contact tracing. The company admitted… defrauding the government and paid a $30 million fine in 2013.**

Honeywell: Embroiled in two global bribery probes. The UK PPE czar is a shareholder.**

All of the companies named by the NYT have denied wrongdoing, and there is no evidence to suggest that government officials were engaged in illegal conduct.

But there is ample evidence of cronyism, waste and poor due diligence. Some of it has been documented by the British media, but the scale of the problem is wider than previously known.

Officials ignored or missed many red flags. Dozens of companies that won a total of $3.6 billion in contracts had poor credit, and several had declared assets of just $2 or $3 each. Others had histories of fraud, human rights abuses, tax evasion or other serious controversies. A few were set up on the spur of the moment or had no relevant experience — and still won contracts.

The paper contacted the Department of Health and Social Care, which led the Tory government’s pandemic procurement. In denial of all the evidence, a spokesperson said that “proper due diligence” was carried out for all contracts.

How can it have been?

Did this person mean that they ran all the necessary checks, saw the information that showed the firms were not suitable to receive these huge contracts (and this huge responsibility), and handed over the cash anyway?

If so, then the government was negligent. Considering the system as described here, this seems likely:

Junior staffers reviewed thousands of proposals and passed on a chosen few to their bosses, who often had only a day to sign off on contracts, according to a government official involved in the process. Some businesses said they were left waiting months as their proposals went unanswered. Others said it was difficult to keep up with what the government wanted, with safety specifications sometimes changing after deliveries had already been made.

Normally, companies would bid on individual contracts with requirements published in advance. But given the government’s frenzied need for supplies, most companies simply submitted broad proposals through a government website. Government officials then decided yes or no, or in some cases approached companies themselves.

The race to procure PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – is a very clear example (and a sore point for the government).

The necessity to have such equipment easily available in readiness for the arrival of a pandemic infection like Covid-19 was highlighted by Exercise Cygnus in 2016 – the Tory government’s own simulation of the effect of a pandemic on the UK which predicted that the NHS would collapse due to lack of resources – and by top medical journal The Lancet, which published a direct warning to Boris Johnson that he needed to secure “supply chains of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, hospital supplies and the necessary human resources” on January 24.

Johnson ignored the warnings. In fact,

Ministers could have avoided the panicked spending spree, critics said, had they not ignored their own pandemic preparedness plan and sold off stocks of P.P.E. from rainy-day reserves in the first three months of the year.

So the government’s claim that

the huge global demand for P.P.E. had created “a highly competitive market” and that it used “the quickest and most accessible routes” to buy protective gear

appears to be nonsense.

Having given way his own supply of PPE, Johnson then had to scrabble to buy some back. You can bet he had to spend more doing this than he raised from the sale, too – those are the laws of supply and demand and as a Tory, he should have known such things. But his people’s behaviour was actually worse:

In choosing speed over due diligence, however, ministers squandered millions on “unsuitable” items, including some that did not meet safety standards, according to the National Audit Office.

The government said that only a tiny portion of the supplies, 0.5 percent, had been found unfit for their intended uses.

Yes, but then the government said it followed due diligence in awarding contracts to unsuitable firms as well, so its people are hardly to be trusted.

The VIP lane

As if the above information wasn’t bad enough, Matt Hancock (another name for our list) secretly authorised a so-called “VIP lane” for favoured companies to win procurement contracts, in April.

These firms

proved to be 10 times more likely to win contracts than those outside that group, according to the National Audit Office.

The government did not carry out systematic company checks, including for potential conflicts of interest, until it had already spent nearly $2 billion, auditors found. Officials did not always document who recommended a company or why it was awarded a contract.

This site has already documented the story of Ayanda Capital. Awarded $340 million (£251.6 million) to supply personal protective equipment, it eventually delivered 50 million masks worth more than $200 million (£148 million) that could not be used for their original purpose, because the ear loop fastenings did not match the government’s new requirements.

One of the firm’s senior board advisers was Andrew Mills (another name for our list) who also worked on the government’s Board of Trade, meaning there was a clear conflict of interest even though we don’t know what part he played in the awarding of the contract, if any.

Ayanda has said the masks met all the government’s requirements when the order was placed and – considering the evidence that requirements were likely to change after contracts were signed – it is entirely possible that this is true. It is the fault of Boris Johnson and his government that this process failed. They chose to employ firms that were unable to provide the equipment that was needed.

Meanwhile,

many companies and business people, often better qualified to produce P.P.E. but lacking political connections, had no access to the V.I.P. lane. Multibrands International, a British manufacturer that had been producing P.P.E. for China since December, was among them. Its owner, Rizwana Hussain, spent months trying to reach government officials through public channels.

Ms. Hussain had offered to supply the government starting in March, her emails show. She was still at it in early May when news broke that 400,000 protective gowns that the government ordered from Turkey had proved to be unusable. “I was so upset thinking, ‘Why are we listening to these disastrous happenings when we’re here and are offering our help?’” Ms. Hussain said.

She said that although her company could produce large quantities of P.P.E. at its factories in China and India, she never heard back from the government.

Government officials said the high-priority lane was set up to efficiently prioritize credible offers of PPE for the National Health Service, and that all proposals, whatever channel they went through, were assessed by the same standards. Does anybody really believe that?

But they have not released the names of the nearly 500 companies that made the V.I.P. list., fuelling questions of cronyism.

It seems clear there is enough evidence here – or lack of it, in many instances – to justify an inquiry. This Writer, being a lay person, is unsure what form such an investigation should take. Judicial review? Public inquiry? Perhaps somebody with more specialised knowledge could let us know.

We already know that Johnson will try to brush this scandal under the carpet (his carpets must be bulging with the amount of mess he has hidden beneath them).

It is our responsibility to ensure that he doesn’t get away with it.

*The New York Times had quite a lot to say about Lord Deighton:

Two of the contracts linked to Lord Deighton were P.P.E.-related. One, for $78 million, was awarded to Honeywell Safety Products, a subsidiary of Honeywell International, a company he holds shares in.

Lord Deighton is also a shareholder of AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical company that is developing a vaccine with Oxford University, and was awarded $205 million for test services.

He also holds shares in the consulting firm Accenture, which was awarded a $5.6 million contract to help develop England’s ill-fated contact tracing app and detect fraud in procurement. Another company he has a stake in, UBS, won $770,000.

Neither Lord Deighton nor the companies would divulge the size of his share holdings.

A $406,000 contract was awarded to a consulting firm, Chanzo, to help set up and run the P.P.E. procurement system, including providing a chief of staff for Lord Deighton.

Chanzo’s founder and chief executive, Jean Tomlin, is a long-time business associate of Lord Deighton, and worked with him on the Olympic committee. Ms. Tomlin is also a fellow director at Hakluyt, a corporate intelligence firm founded by former British intelligence officers, which Lord Deighton chairs.

Lady Alison Deighton, his wife, is a former director of N.M. Rothschild, which won a $770,000 contract for consulting services. Another consulting contract of the same value went to Moelis & Company, an investment bank where one senior adviser and Labour peer, Lord Charles Allen, was also on the Olympic committee board with Lord Deighton.

** The article also provides the following information on the companies it names:

PestFix said it had repurposed its business during the pandemic to supply medical P.P.E. and said the government changed its specifications after it had supplied the face masks. PPE Medpro said that it was awarded contracts based on the considerable experience and expertise of its staff. Uniserve Group said that its director had no connections to the Conservative government. Deloitte said that its U.K. arm does not give cash contributions to political parties. Ocean Footprint said it had previously sold masks to the boat-building industry. Serco said that it “took significant steps to reform itself” after the 2013 fraud scandal. Randox Laboratories did not respond to questions and Owen Paterson declined to comment. All other companies mentioned in the article either declined to comment or did not respond to questions.

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Johnson nominates ‘cash for access’ culprit Cruddas to become a Lord

Brian Moore, below, makes a good point:

He seems to have been referring to Boris Johnson’s decision to nominate arch-Brexiter Daniel Hannan for a peerage (as if Johnson hasn’t already sent far too many of his cronies to the House of Lords):

Far worse than that, though, is the Number Two nomination: Peter Cruddas.

During his term as Conservative Party co-treasurer – effectively the party’s chief fundraiser – Cruddas was filmed by The Sunday Times, apparently offering access to the prime minister in return for a sizable donation: “£200,000 to £250,000 is Premier League – things will open up for you – you can ask him practically any question you want.”

Cruddas sued the newspaper for libel and won – but appeal court judges later ruled that the central allegation of the story – that Cruddas had offered “cash for access” to potential donors – was supported by the evidence.

By nominating him for a peerage, Johnson is effectively rewarding Cruddas for this behaviour – which This Writer considers to be corrupt; he was offering donors a chance to influence government policy – if the price was right.

Do Conservative voters think it’s right that the Upper House of the UK’s legislature is being filled with people connected to such corruption?

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‘Richie’: Sunak’s referral to ethics watchdog over wife’s vast wealth won’t address the real problem

The paper trail: financial holdings of Rishi Sunak, his wife Akshata Murty and her family are explained in this image, originally published by The Guardian.

How can a man as insanely rich as Rishi Sunak is – through the wealth of his wife and her family – honestly have any understanding of the struggles normal people are suffering as a result of his many decisions to cut their income?

He can’t.

That is the concern that we face after the revelation that the Tory Chancellor did not declare wealth larger than that of the Queen in the register of ministerial interests.

It won’t be addressed by Lord Evans, chair of the committee on standards in public life, because there is no rule requiring him to.

So the referral to the ethics watchdog by Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi and James Murray may be seen as a pointless waste of time.

Here are the facts, neatly summed up in a couple of tweets:

More information is in the Guardian stories here and here.

According to the second of those stories, the Labour MPs’ referral to the ethics watchdog arises because they are concerned that Sunak’s wife’s holdings may create a potential conflict between his public and private interests.

But the Treasury has already said that Sunak “followed the ministerial code to the letter” in his declarations.

It seems he met the government’s then head of propriety and ethics, Helen MacNamara, to decide what needed to be declared before he joined the Treasury.

However: as This Writer learned only last week, a person can comply with the letter of the law and still be doing something wrong.

It doesn’t surprise me that Labour MPs are trying to tease out the nature of any wrong-doing by Sunak, because it was Labour that mistreated me.

Despite adhering to the letter of its rules on investigating anti-Semitism allegations against me, Labour ignored the requirements of its actual procedures in order to falsify a case against me, and manufactured an incorrect verdict. I had to go to court to have the facts revealed.

Will anything come of an investigation into Sunak? Doubtful. There’s no law against being ignorant of the way the other half live.

But if we know that Sunak is so far removed from the rest of us, we may also draw logical conclusions about his ability to create policies for everybody in the UK, no matter how deprived – or his lack of any such ability.

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Brexit: outrage as Tory lord falsely claims businesses have ‘head in the sand’

Lord Agnew: he appears to have an honesty deficit.

Business leaders are furious after Cabinet Office minister Lord Agnew told them they’ve had their “heads in the sand” by failing to prepare for new border checks at the end of the Brexit transition periods.

They say they have spent the last four years asking the Tory governments of David Cameron, Theresa May and now Boris Johnson what they need to do, only to be met with silence.

You can read the news story here

… or just see the reactions for yourself:

The facts seem clear:

  1. Businesses have spent four years – ever since the EU referendum vote happened – demanding clarity from the Tories on what Brexit will mean for them. They received no response.
  2. Now that the reality is almost upon us, Lord Agnew has been wheeled out to pretend that the situation in 1. above has not taken place.
  3. His lie has been exposed, and
  4. The government has still not told businesses what they need to do.

Have I missed anything?

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We knew the Tories’ inquiry into court challenges of their decisions would be corrupt; this just proves it

Lord Faulks: He thinks a Tory government should be above the rule of law.

Typical Tories – they won’t keep their promise to test people in care homes, but they will keep one to stop us making a fuss about it.

I refer to the promise on page 48 of the Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto. You know the one: “We will ensure that judicial review is available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays.”

It seems reasonable but actually means: We will impose a Conservative dictatorship that the courts cannot stop from acting illegally.

A judicial review stopped Johnson’s illegal prorogation of Parliament last autumn and showed the nation what a rancid liar he is.

Sadly, too many people were happier to believe a lot of lies about Jeremy Corbyn and voted him back into power last December with a whopping great 80-strong majority in the House of Commons.

So now he’s getting round to ensuring that the courts will not be allowed to examine his government’s decisions on the Covid-19 crisis, by opening an inquiry into court challenges against his decisions – headed by a former Tory minister who has already indicated he wants to gag the courts:

Basically, he thinks a Tory government should be above the rule of law. The Nazis felt the same way about their government in Germany, I believe.

This Writer is willing to bet the judiciary will be tied up in all the red tape that David Cameron said he’d eliminate 10 years ago, by the time anyone gets around to an inquiry into what the Tories did during the Covid crisis.

Such an inquiry has already been demanded, by the way. Johnson said it wasn’t the time for that kind of investigation.

You see how this is working for him – and against the rest of us, and democracy?

Source: Judicial review: Labour query independence of government probe – BBC News

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Tories should blame their own bad messaging for the Covid-19 deaths of poor people

Johnson’s Covid-19 strategy: muddle the message.

Here’s another reason to abolish hereditary peerages: Lord Bethell.

This Tory health minister, who inherited his place in the House of Lords rather than earning it, tried to blame poor people for making poor decisions that result in their own deaths from Covid-19.

He said there were “behavioural reasons” for these deaths, listing “the decisions that people make about social distancing, about their own health decisions”.

But those decisions are influenced by his Tory government’s messages!

The Tory response to Covid-19 is now well-acknowledged as muddled, confusing and dangerous.

Boris Johnson made bad decisions before the virus even arrived in the UK that increased the death toll when it did – and he has continued as he started ever since.

The fact is that more poor people have died because poor people have not had the opportunities to hide from exposure to the disease that the rich have enjoyed – mostly because Johnson’s administration told them to stay at work.

So people in service industries were told to put themselves in danger – and many of them died as a result. Black people and those from ethnic minorities were particularly hard-hit because more of them work in these low-paid jobs due to the systemic racism underlying the UK’s culture.

The government said hospitals should send care home residents who had the disease back to those homes, even though those places did not have the facilities to treat them – and tens of thousands of them died.

The government said people could go to the beach, to the pub, back to work – and Covid-19 infection rates spiked every time.

So now nobody at risk trusts a word the Johnson government has to say about Covid-19.

survey by King’s College London and Ipsos Mori has found that 52 per cent of British adults aged 16 to 75 were sceptical about the relaxation of lockdown.

It also showed that more people thought the coronavirus crisis had been handled badly in the UK (42 per cent) than believed it has been handled well (36 per cent).

The figures revealed that Labour voters, who are more likely to be poor, were three times more likely than Conservative voters to believe the response was mismanaged. Because they have been twice as likely to die as rich Tories?

It follows that people should not trust the government’s advice on when it is safe to return to work, school and leisure activities – even when it may actually be accurate.

The result is a much more dangerous society – because the Tories made it that way. Crocodile tears from a know-nothing toff won’t change that.

Source: Minister Accused Of ‘Blaming The Poor’ For Their Own Deaths From Coronavirus | HuffPost UK

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Bread and circuses: why should we be uplifted if £100 million of our cash is spent on a new royal yacht?

Typical Tories: faced with a choice between helping people who need it and spaffing a fortune on a boat for a super-rich toff’s jollies, they will always make the wrong decision.

This is the third time a Tory has tried to foist a new Royal Yacht on us; the twist this time is a proposal to split funding three ways between businesses, the public and the National Lottery (so the public pays twice).

This time the idea is being suggested by Lord Jones of Birmingham, formerly Digby Jones, who ran the Confederation of British Industry for six years between 2000 and 2006. He also served as a minister in Gordon Brown’s Labour government, which tends to ruin any left-wing credentials New Labour might have claimed.

The cost – this time – is £100 million. That’s the same as it was in 2016 and £40 million more than in 2012, when Michael Gove was the one putting it forward.

In 2012, This Site treated the idea as comedy. We were in the grip of the Tories’ pointless austerity drive that caused a huge amount of harm – we may never know how many UK citizens died as a result of the cuts inflicted on them by David Cameron and his cutthroat cronies, because they simply didn’t bother to keep a record of the fatalities.

I wrote: “Would he [Michael Gove] spend his own money on such lavishments? Perhaps he’s trying to tell us that his Department for Education and Science is bucking the national trend by making money hand over fist. This would be strange behaviour for an organisation that is supposed to spend money in the most cost-effective way possible.”

In 2016, I concentrated on other uses for the cash: “We learn that Conservative MPs want to give the Queen another yacht – at a cost of £100 million that could be better-used elsewhere, perhaps on benefit payments for a further £16,666 sick people for a year.

“Ah, but the last Royal Yacht secured trade deals worth billions between 1991 and 1995, they argue.

“Sure – but times have changed hugely since then. With no guarantees, this is the equivalent of burning £50 notes in the faces of the poor.

“Perhaps Conservative MPs should be searched for matches and cigarette lighters before being allowed into the Treasury.”

The point about trade deals is interesting at a time when the Tory government is desperately trying to re-establish the UK as a trading nation after severing ties with the European Union.

But who benefits from such deals?

Rich businesspeople, perhaps – but would they pay their taxes or send the cash to tax havens?

If the latter, then why should the public pay for something that will not help us in the slightest?

And why should we ever be expected to be happy about it?

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.

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Labour anti-Semitism report: Starmer acts – to cover his supporters’ arses

No Labour leader: Instead of taking action to identify and expel the wrongdoers in the leaked Labour report on anti-Semitism, Keir Starmer seems to be trying to protect them.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has issued a statement on the leaked Labour report that shows evidence that right-wing party staff members actively campaigned to undermine previous leader Jeremy Corbyn – by promising to protect the members implicated in wrongdoing, and investigate how the public got to find out about them.

Or so it seems to me.

In a joint statement with deputy leader Angela Rayner, he said the following. I’ll comment on his words [in bold] as we go through it:

“We have seen a copy of an apparently [apparently? It is an official Labour document on anti-Semitism and as such he is certain to have known about it. Isn’t he? Skwawkbox reckons he had a copy of the report shortly after his election as leader was announced yet he was completely relaxed about it until it was leaked] internal report about the work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism. The content and the release of the report into the public domain raise a number of matters of serious concern.

“We will therefore commission an urgent independent investigation into this matter. This investigation will be instructed to look at three areas. First, the background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned and the process involved [which, as leader, he should already know. In any case, it is made explicitly clear in the text of the report]. Second, the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report [which suggests an attempt to deny the findings and whitewash the wrongdoers]. Third, the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain [which suggests he would have preferred it to remain secret and the wrongdoers to go unquestioned, let alone punished].

“We have also asked for immediate sight of any legal advice the Labour Party has already received about the report.

“In the meantime, we ask everyone concerned to refrain from drawing conclusions before the investigation is complete [why? The report is complete and its conclusions are clear] and we will be asking the General Secretary to put measures in place to protect the welfare of party members and party staff who are concerned or affected by this report [but not party members and former party members who were clearly victimised by those party members he is trying to protect].”

I would not want to see anyone face unreasonable abuse – either verbal or physical – for having taken part in the activities mentioned in the report.

But the behaviour it describes is utterly vile and, if true, anybody who was involved in it should – no, must – be expelled from the Labour Party forever.

If anyone thinks a lifetime expulsion is too much, bear in mind that these senior Labour staff used language that was considerably more abusive and inappropriate than that cited as justification for suspending many Labour members who supported Jeremy Corbyn in 2016.

Labour members past and present are lining up to demand action.

But it seems Mr Starmer is more interested in protecting the perpetrators of these offences.

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.

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