Tag Archives: project

Government appeals court ruling that contract with Gove cronies Public First was unlawful

Backhander: if you know the circumstances of the court case against the government over its contract with Public First, then you will know why I’m using this picture. If not, follow the link in the story to read the details.

After spending half a million pounds defending a decision to give a contract worth only slightly more to friends of Tory minister Michael Gove – and losing – the government intends to spend even more on an appeal.

In June, the High Court ruled that a Tory government decision to award a £560,000 contract to Public First gave rise to “apparent bias” and was unlawful.

Mrs Justice O’Farrell said: “The claimant is entitled to a declaration that the decision of 5 June 2020 to award the contract to Public First gave rise to apparent bias and was unlawful.”

You can read the details of the case here.

Now the Good Law Project – which brought the case to court – has revealed that the government is appealing against the ruling, although the exact grounds for the appeal do not seem clear.

“We think his decision to spend more public money on an appeal is likely to be driven by a desire to postpone a further embarrassing loss in a separate challenge we are bringing,” a statement by the Good Law Project claims.

“We are challenging another lucrative contract awarded to allies of Michael Gove, this time to a company called Hanbury. It was due to be heard later this month but will now be delayed.

“However, the appeal gives us a chance to revivify the arguments … that there was time for a proper competitive tender process and/or no need to give such a long and valuable contract without any tender process.

“All of that having been said, we have to recognise Government spent an extraordinary £500,000+ on a one day hearing below – approximately twice what we managed to raise to fight and win the case. With that in mind, we have decided to reopen our crowdfunding page.”

If you are in a position to donate, you can do so here.

Source: Government is appealing – Good Law Project

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Peace and Justice Project update: fighting for the right to protest – and for security WITHOUT war

Positive change: Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project is working to improve the lives of people in the UK and across the world. Isn’t that better than Boris Johnson’s determination to crush anybody who disagrees with him, and to launch pointless wars abroad?

Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project has had a busy month after the Johnson Tory government put forward plans to curb your right to protest and to escalate involvement in pointless wars across the world.

The attack on your right to protest is now well-documented; Boris Johnson and cronies like Priti Patel want to arrest you if you “annoy” them with protests against their increasingly unfair, fascist new laws.

And the plan to spend billions on new nuclear arms and become involved in more foreign wars over lengthier periods of time has also been well-reported.

Here’s Jeremy Corbyn to outline what the Peace and Justice Project has been doing about it – and on all the other issues it is taking forward:

This is worthwhile politics – actually working to make the UK, and the wider world, a better place in which to live.

It is sad that the UK’s system of government has now become so corrupt that the only way of achieving positive goals is as part of a campaigning organisation – but that is the situation that the last 42 years of neoliberal politics has created.

We can either work within that situation or give up and accept slavery to the likes of Johnson, or Keir Starmer, or the next would-be dictator.

If you want to be part of the movement for change, details of how to join the Peace and Justice Project are in the video.

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After 10 years, the Tories are finally launching their ‘Royal Yacht’ vanity project. They’ll make US pay

Artists impression: this is what someone thought a new Royal Yacht might look like last year, when the cost was going to be £100 million. This year the cost has magically doubled for no reason at all. What do you think we’ll get for that – an extra flagpole?

I’ve been busy over the bank holiday weekend, working on material for the new version of my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim. So I thought it was a joke when I saw this:

But it’s not a joke:

A new national flagship is to be commissioned by the government in a bid to boost British trade and industry globally, the prime minister has said.

The vessel will be the successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was retired in 1997.

The government plans to build the ship in the UK, at a reported cost of £200m.

Tories have been trying to build themselves a new luxury yacht – at our expense – since at least 2012, when Michael Gove suggested spending £60 million on it to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee:

This boat would cost £60 million, apparently – a million for every year she’s been on the throne. It would be a pointless present because, at Her Majesty’s age, she’s hardly going to be able to steer it.

By 2016, the projected cost had nearly doubled:

Now 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.

When [Gove] suggested it, back in January 2012, the cost was said to be £60 million. Why has it nearly doubled in the years since?

At least we have an answer to my question of the time – whether Tories try to spend our money on such unnecessary lavishments habitually.

Yes. Yes they do.

Amazingly, that price had remained static when the possibility was floated yet again in 2020:

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).

The idea of boosting trade has been there since Gove, and I addressed it last year:

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 that brings me back to RD Hale’s tweet, pointing out that the government could fund nearly 90 million school meals.

Others have made their point too:

I think it will actually be built this time.

And we’ll end up paying for it while Johnson and his layabouts get to traipse around the world in it and their fat Tory donors profit (with the money going into tax havens, as I mentioned above).

Because Boris Johnson has no shame at all.

POSTSCRIPT: There was another tweet, from a guy who said he donated £20 to the Tory Party and was rewarded with a contract to build the new Royal Yacht for £200 million. I laughed because it was funny and I laughed because, in someone’s case, it’s probably true.

Source: Plans for new national flagship to promote ‘best of British’ – BBC News

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His own colleagues said he was a menace. Now see how Jeremy Corbyn is working to make YOUR life better

Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project hasn’t been sitting around waiting for the world to change.

He – and they – have been working on four main projects, along with several offshoots, to make a difference in all our lives – as soon as possible.

In the video clip above, he explains what has been going on while the Tories – and his successor as Labour leader – dithered over the economy, got confused over Covid, and discussed laws to support violence against women.

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Tory tax avoidance advice firm had £145m Covid contract unlawfully, says lawyer

The ‘Big Four’ accountancy firm Deloitte is being pursued in the courts over a claim that a £145 million consultancy contract related to Covid-19 was handed to it unlawfully.

There’s also an issue over the fact that the Conservatives failed to announce details of the five-month contract until after it had expired.

Deloitte is well-known to the Tory government. One of the main accountancy firms involved in creating tax avoidance schemes, it also advised the Cameron government on – guess what? – tax avoidance.

This Writer has a feeling there may have been a conflict of interest there…

Now, Deloitte is being criticised after it received 25 Covid-related contracts, totalling £193.3 million, courtesy of Tory peer James Bethell, the government minister in charge of test and trace. Of these, five – worth £170.5 million – were awarded directly with no competition.

Lord Bethell previously ran a lobbying company that represented Deloitte as they won over £700 million of government contracts on Chris Grayling’s Work Programme schemes for the unemployed.

This Writer has a feeling there may have been a conflict of interest there, too…

The most important issue here is the misuse of public money.

In the Mirror article, Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project makes a good point:

“It’s like we set up a whole new Government department, but instead of civil servants paid £40k a year, it’s run by hundreds of private consultants for whom we pay £40k a month.”

That is not responsible use of public funds! Yet the Tories keep presenting themselves to us as the Party of Economic Responsibility.

It simply isn’t true.

They create money by the billion, shovel it out to their cronies and chums, and then tell those of us who don’t use Deloitte’s tax avoidance schemes that we have to pay for it in our tax bills!

It is corrupt; it is a perversion of government. It is exactly the kind of behaviour we have come to expect from Boris Johnson and his people. And it is right that it should be challenged.

Source: Lawyer says £145m Covid contract given to private company with Tory links ‘not lawful’ – Mirror Online

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Jeremy Corbyn updates us on his Peace & Justice Project – and how you can get involved

It has been a couple of weeks since Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis and others launched the Peace & Justice Project, so Mr Corbyn has kindly made a video to let us all know about developments since then.

It’s self-explanatory so take a look:

The project relies on people power – on members of the public getting involved and contributing to the process.

You can do this by visiting the Peace & Justice Project website and joining one (or several) of the campaigns.

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#PeaceAndJustice Project launches four-point plan for a better future

Jeremy Corbyn: this is from when he announced the Project for Peace and Justice before Christmas. I could have waited for a newer pic but wanted to get the story out as soon as possible.

Legendary thinker Noam Chomsky headed the list of supporters launching the new Peace and Justice Project founded by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today (January 17).

The new organisation aims to bring people together – not just within the United Kingdom but internationally – to devise, and bring into being, radical plans to improve the lives of ordinary people who have been crushed by selfish rich people for far too long.

Speaking at the launch, Corbyn announced four plans, which This Writer put out on Twitter:

Further details of all of these are available here, and the web page provides an opportunity to join each individual project and make a difference.

Will you?

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Jeremy Corbyn has trumped his Labour Party haters – this is what happens when you try to knock a good man down

Peace and Justice: Jeremy Corbyn announces his new project in a video clip on Facebook.

Keir Starmer must be feeling sick.

After everything Starmer has done to sideline Jeremy Corbyn, to discredit his politics and to remove both him and socialists like him from the Labour Party, the former Labour leader has come back with an ambitious project to link like-minded people internationally.

He is not only lighting a new way forward; he is leading it.

And he was working on this, we see, from the moment he relinquished his role as Labour leader – possibly from even earlier.

But don’t take it from me – here’s the absolute boy himself:

Already, established (but probably not Establishment) figures have been lining up to support the new project:

This Writer has signed up to take part in the launch event because it touches on a large number of ideas that interest me deeply. I was only recently discussing on the social media the possibility of linking up with like-minded people internationally to share information on how to cope with universal challenges.

Of course, there are likely to be some detractors. I saw this, already:

The replies seem to be overwhelmingly spitting hate at Corbyn, indicating that they haven’t cottoned on to the fact that it is the association with Tony Blair that should be considered toxic.

(I wonder if Peston realised this when he wrote it?)

No doubt much more will be said to put this idea down.

But I intend to keep an open mind and I urge you to do the same.

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Is Dominic Cummings championing ‘air scrubber’ tech to starve more viable green projects?

Dominic Cummings: if he’s trying to rehabilitate his rep after the Rose Garden debacle, this might not work.

It seems Dominic Cummings’s plan to pump £100 million of public money into “air scrubber” technology is intended to help the bosses of energy companies that pollute the UK in the first place.

The “direct air capture” technology would use metal “air scrubbers”, to chemically strip carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The excess carbon could then be stored safely underground.

Here‘s a graph, courtesy of The Times:

There’s just one catch: it currently costs nearly £500 to extract a single tonne of CO2.

So if all the cash the Treasury has apparently devoted to the project went on scrubbing the air alone, it would extract only £200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

In 2018, the UK’s carbon footprint – the amount of CO2 emitted in the country – was 364 million tonnes.

In other words, the amount that would be cleaned is negligible compared to the amount emitted.

Meanwhile, it seems this expensive, long-term scheme is diverting investment away from more realistic near-term solutions.

So what’s going on here?

Is Cummings really trying to help?

Or is he sucking cash away from greener solutions, while trying to give polluters an excuse to carry on stinking up the planet?

Source: Technology which ‘sucks’ excess CO2 from the air could hurt UK’s green ambitions

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Psychiatrists try to defend failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ Universal Credit project

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has tried to explain its reasons for failing to object to a pilot project in Cornwall in which Job Centre advisors – with no training – decide whether claimants need mental health care.

This Site reported on the project in August:

The department… is trying to cut doctors working on mental health out of the benefit system by claiming that rank-and-file Job Centre advisers are just as able to spot mental health problems – and recommend the best treatment.

They aren’t; they can’t. It’s just a cynical bid to stop people with mental health problems from claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

The Tory government’s press release stated: “The initiative means work coaches can continue to refer people with mental health conditions to specialist one to one support, without the need for a GP or clinical assessment.”

I responded:

“Without the need”? Translation: “Without the support of evidence from a qualified doctor who can bring their expertise to a benefit tribunal.”

The press release said: “The support is also designed to help people find their way back into the workplace when they’re ready.”

I responded:

Translation: “The intention is to ensure that people with mental illnesses must continue to seek employment, whether they are ready or not.”

Disability News Service is now reporting that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has responded to this insult against its practitioners – after being nudged to do so by no fewer than five disability groups.

RCP states, according to the article, that:

RCP’s social inclusion lead has “continued to raise concerns and provide expert advice about the impact of welfare reform on people with mental illness and those with learning disabilities”.

[It says] it is “clear that anyone undertaking a mental health assessment needs to be sufficiently qualified to do so and, as part of the assessment, should engage with clinicians involved in providing care to the person concerned”.

[It also says] RCP believes that a jobcentre would not be “a suitable therapeutic environment to assess and discuss an individual’s mental health”.

[It adds:] “Having to do so would likely increase the stress and pressure on people with a mental illness when seeking support, and the possibility of them seeing the receipt of benefits as being conditional on them agreeing to mental health treatment.

“In addition, there is a risk that being referred to the wrong type of treatment may reduce the likelihood of seeking help in the future, make their illness worse and increase the likelihood of experiencing a future crisis.”

The disability groups are not happy with this response – and rightly so.

Why the delay in responding? Were these psychiatrists hoping the issue would go away?

Is the RCP going to talk to the Department for Work and Pensions about its concerns? Or were its comments just a sop to the disabled people’s representatives?

And what about the people of Cornwall?

What have they experienced while the RCP stood by in silence?

Source: Dismay over psychiatrists’ failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ universal credit project – Disability News Service

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