Tag Archives: Rees

Chaotic scenes at Education Department as civil servants outnumber desks

Jacob Rees-Mogg, making a gesture that well defines him.

Is this Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comeuppance after he went around leaving nasty notes on empty civil service desks, for them to see after they returned from home working?

In notes left for civil servants, he wrote: “Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon.”

Nadhim Zahawi took Rees-Mogg’s demand for a return to the office seriously, and told officials at the Department for Education to “immediately” return to “pre-Covid working” after an audit found that the DfE had the lowest attendance of any Government department, at a quarter capacity.

Well, unless pre-Covid working took place in corridors and canteens, he didn’t get his wish!

It turns out that, before the pandemic, the DfE only had an occupancy rate of 60 to 70 per cent because of the department’s flexible working policy.

And changes to the department’s estate, such as giving up space at the DfE’s London headquarters, has meant there are fewer desks than previously – 4,200 to accommodate 8,009 staff.

So after the department’s top civil servant, permanent secretary Susan Acland-Hood, was joined by ministers to tell officials to work 80 per cent of their week in the office, chaos ensued:

Civil servants at the Department for Education have been forced to work in corridors and canteens.

Whole teams have been turned away from some offices because of overcrowding.

According to Schools Week, staff were sent home from the department’s Sheffield office after a mass return earlier this month, despite some staff already working from the canteen.

Online meetings were also forced to take place with staff perched on the end of shared seating because meeting rooms were full.

The Tories have insisted that having more people than desks was the practice at the department.

Were they saying that chaos is supposed to be the practice at the Department for Education and that it was the intended result of Rees-Mogg’s interference. How revealing!

And isn’t it curious that, while DfE staff – and presumably other civil servants – scrabble for desk space, another government department looks set to spend £20 million on a luxury townhouse for a single, privileged representative – so she can hold lavish parties?

Source: Department for Education descends into chaos as civil servants can’t find desks after returning to office

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Rees-Mogg’s Brexit shame: he admits UK trade checks would be ‘act of self-harm’

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he can’t laugh this off.

Import checks set to be imposed on EU goods entering the UK have been delayed for a year and a half after arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted they would be an “act of self-harm”.

But the checks were part of the UK’s conditions for leaving the European Union, so Rees-Mogg – now the euphemistically-titled Minister for Brexit Opportunities – is saying that the UK’s departure from the EU is actually harmful to the nation.

That’s a big u-turn from a major supporter of Brexit. We would be justified in asking why he has spent the last seven years (or so) claiming the opposite. Was it a deliberate lie?

“You’re admitting that this could save £1billion, which is admitting that checks would cost £1billion. I thought that post-Brexit checks were not going to be disruptive?” he was asked by [a] reporter.

“That’s why we’re not adopting them,” he replied. “This would have been an act of self-harm if we’d gone ahead with it.

“It would have increased costs for people and we are trying to reduce costs… free trade is hugely advantageous to consumers.”

It means UK exporters are now at a considerable financial disadvantage compared with EU firms importing goods into the UK:

That’s right – EU goods are allowed through into the UK with no checks while UK goods are still subject to comprehensive checks on entering the EU.

It means that the UK will essentially continue to depend on the EU to monitor food safety.

And who’s to say that other things may be imported into the UK, with no checks to stop them?

People, perhaps?

That would really spoil Priti Patel’s party, after she proudly fanfared her plan to deport channel-crossing asylum-seekers to Rwanda. What if they start coming by unchecked food lorry instead?

Port authorities are considering legal action against the Tory government to recover the cost of building border control posts they believe may now never be used, as well.

The simple fact is that Tories like Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson – who was the poster boy of Brexit alongside that other horror, Nigel Farage – never bothered to consider the consequences of their hasty and thoughtless departure from the European Union.

It seems clear that they had been led to believe in some possibly-mythical profit for themselves (Tories never make changes without expecting to make some money out of it, somewhere down the line).

But now they are being forced to work through the consequences of their stupidity as the nation demands that they solve the problems they have created, that are costing us an alleged £800 million per week.

Source: Jacob Rees-Mogg makes Remain argument by calling Brexit measures ‘act of self-harm’

Rees-Mogg has been leaving ‘demeaning’ notes for civil servants working from home

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he reckons it’s inefficient for civil servants to work from home and not in the office – but seems happy to have a nap in his own place of work.

Here’s another Tory who wants to make the people who do the actual work of government look bad, while distracting attention away from his colleagues and their lockdown-busting rave-ups.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been leaving nasty little notes on the desks of civil servants who have been working from home – because he refuses to accept that they are capable of providing a better quality of work if they’re not tied to an office.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office minister has been merrily defending prime minister Boris Johnson’s attendance at parties in Downing Street – that break the rules Johnson himself announced to the public.

He said the fact that Johnson had been fined for disobeying his own rules in order to attend parties was “fundamentally trivial” “fluff”. That’s even though Johnson is also accused of the extremely serious offence of lying to Parliament about what he did.

What a hypocrite. If anything is “fundamentally trivial” “fluff”, it’s his determination to leave creepy little notes for the civil servants who make him look competent.

Source: Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised for leaving ‘demeaning’ notes for civil servants working from home

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Partygate scandal is trivial ‘fluff’, says Rees-Mogg. Conflict of interest?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he knows how to rave it up with the best of Tories! In fact, there’s no suggestion that he took part in the scandalous Downing Street parties – but there are still good reasons he should not discuss them.

Does Jacob Rees-Mogg think he’s an ‘influencer’ now?

He’s certainly trying to influence opinions over ‘Partygate’ – the scandal of the Downing Street parties that took place during Covid-19 lockdowns, with Tories raving it up in large groups when the rest of us were forbidden even from seeing our relatives who were dying of the virus.

And that’s not acceptable – because, as a member of the Tory government himself, his words represent a conflict of interest; he simply should not be talking about this issue.

For once, he should take a leaf out of his boss Boris Johnson’s book – and I don’t get to say that very often!

Jacob Rees-Mogg has dismissed the row over parties held during lockdown in Downing Street and across Whitehall as trivial “fluff”.

“All of that is shown up for the disproportionate fluff of politics that it was rather than something of fundamental seriousness about the safety of the world and the established global order.”

He’s wrong, too.

‘Partygate’ showed us that our government holds us in contempt.

Its ministers – including Rees-Mogg – are happy to behave in whatever foul and depraved ways they see fit and expect to get away with it, while the rest of us have to labour under the extreme demands they make of us – and use the police to enforce.

I was wrong. His words aren’t unacceptable; they are unforgivable.

Source: Downing Street partygate scandal is trivial ‘fluff’, says Rees-Mogg

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Rees-Mogg firm sold shares in Russian bank. Did it have insider knowledge?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: He doesn’t have a moustache to twirl villainously, so he had to adjust his glasses instead.

Isn’t this interesting? (And by “interesting” I mean deeply questionable and disturbing.)

Jacob Rees-Mogg is a partner in a company – Somerset Capital Management – that was criticised for investing £60 million in Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, after he called on then-UK prime minister Theresa May to impose tougher economic sanctions against Russia in the wake of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, back in 2018.

Sberbank had been under European Union sanctions since the Russian invasion of the Crimea in 2014.

But the investment seemed a good one at the time. In March 2018 its London-listed shares were understood to be worth four times what they had been worth in May 2015.

But then, 23 days ago – as the Russia-Ukraine crisis started to gain heat – Rees-Mogg’s firm sold its last shares in the bank, netting £44.5 million:

Rees-Mogg himself is not involved in SCM investment decisions – but he does receive money that the company earns from its investments.

And he has been criticised for maintaining shares in the bank while being involved in UK government policy decisions about Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

The fact that he was involved in these debates makes the company’s decision to divest itself of these shares… questionable, if not downright suspicious.

The value of the bank’s shares, we’re told, has halved since SCM sold what it had.

It might all have been above-board. Rees-Mogg may have had nothing to do with the decision to sell.

But we will never know. And that’s what makes this suspicious.

There is a clear conflict of interest that has gone undeclared, unremarked, and ignored.

As part of the most corrupt UK government in living memory – if not in history – we all think he’s entirely capable of passing on information from policy meetings for the purpose of his own enrichment.

And that undermines trust in the UK government and its decisions – as a whole. We cannot safely assume that our leaders’ choices are made solely in the national interest because we have reason to believe that they are acting for themselves.

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#BorisJohnson reshuffles #Cabinet to shift blame – but can’t even do that well

Thumbs up: Boris Johnson has announced new roles for some of his MPs in a bid to be seen to be cleaning up the government. But there’s no indication of HOW they’ll do it – so what’s the point?

Errant prime minister Boris Johnson, still trying to divert attention – or blame – away from his (alleged) participation in those lockdown-busting Downing Street parties, has decided to reshuffle his Cabinet.

Many of us predicted that he would carry out a reshuffle to present one or more scapegoats to the public – and save his own alcohol-soaked neck.

But this one seems more a case of Johnson lining up sacrificial lambs – to take the heat off him in the future.

So Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, even though experience has shown that there are no opportunities arising from Brexit that are worth having.

That being said, the wording of his new title is vague enough that it could refer to opportunities arising from Brexit for a very few, very rich people – those for whom Brexit was originally intended.

As for government efficiency – exactly what does Boris Johnson want his government to be efficient at doing?

Ultimately, This Writer doesn’t think it matters – if public opinion turns against Johnson because of misbehaviour by government personnel, it will be Rees-Mogg’s responsibility; if the cost of living rises further because of Brexit (for example, due to increased bureaucracy at our borders), it will be Rees-Mogg’s fault.

Chris Heaton-Harris becomes the new chief whip, because his forerunner Mark Spencer is replacing Rees-Mogg as Leader of the House of Commons.

Spencer’s appointment has been questioned because he is currently being investigated for Islamophobia after allegations were made by former Tory Cabinet Minister Nusrat Ghani.

Logically he should have been suspended from any position of responsibility, at least until such time as the investigation is complete – not promoted to a position of more responsibility.

Indeed, as Leader of the House, he is responsible for standards of behaviour in Westminster. Doesn’t that make him responsible for the investigation into himself? And isn’t that a conflict of interest?

I think it is.

Paymaster General Michael Ellis takes on some roles currently carried out by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, lifting some weight from Steve Barclay, the incumbent, who Johnson appointed as Downing Street Chief of Staff this  week, in addition to his ministerial role and his duties as a constituency MP.

Questions have been raised about Barclay’s ability to carry out three jobs at once, and Ellis’s appointment seems to have been an attempt to address that issue – alongside being a reward for his attempts to defend Johnson from allegations about the Downing Street parties in Parliament.

In agreeing to take on three jobs at once, of course, Barclay has shown that Johnson didn’t learn any lessons at all from the Owen Paterson scandal last year, which was all about MPs having more than one job (although, admittedly, their second and subsequent jobs were outside Parliament, not in it).

So it seems that Johnson is lining the ways of the Cabinet Office with potential fall guys if the government comes under further criticism for letting us all down.

And – crucially – we’ve heard nothing about how putting these people into these jobs will ensure that Downing Street – and the government generally – will clean up its act. Are we just to take it on trust? Only, some of us don’t have very much trust left for Boris Johnson.

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#Eton under pressure after #RickyGervais rant about the politicians it produces

Eton: has this school done more to ruin the UK than any other organisation.

When are we going to stop taking ‘went to Eton’ as a qualification for running the country?”

With those words, embedded in a sweary rant, Ricky Gervais once again struck a chord with the people of the UK:

He was attacking Boris Johnson, of course – and rightly so.

But the criticism rings true of so many more politicians, especially in recent years.

So the social media erupted:

It would be fair to say that Eton produces high-flyers who are both arrogant and ignorant, and only ever gain positions of power because of the Old Boy Network.

Maybe once it educated genuinely great and good people. But even that is debatable. And those days – if they ever existed – are long gone.

As a private school, providing education to those who can pay its exorbitant fees, Eton does not take the most intelligent people; it takes those whose parents have the most money.

Teachers there may do their best to implant an education into this stony ground but the evidence suggests that the best way Eton equips its alumni for success is by allowing them to say they were “Eton-educated”, even though (in some cases), it would have been more rewarding to educate a brick. It would do less damage, even if it were used only to break windows.

Former Eton pupils help each other into the plum jobs and deny those jobs to more deserving people who went to other schools.

And that’s why the United Kingdom has flushed itself down the toilet.

The quality of the education provided may be excellent. I don’t think anybody is denying it.

But if Eton’s current owners and staff really want to maintain their school’s reputation, that is being trashed by former pupils including Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Jacob Rees-Mogg and, yes, Justin Welby, there’s something they need potential pupils to do before they take any money:

An intelligence test.

Of course, it’s possible that Eton does actually get potential pupils to take such a test.

If so, then it needs to be changed.

To one that works.

Confirmed: #JacobReesMogg party video was made THIS year – and was still in extremely poor taste

Jacob Rees-Mogg: It’s all very funny to him.

A video of Jacob Rees-Mogg joking at a party about whether police would investigate it, and about non-existent social distancing, was made in 2021, not 2020, according to the MP.

Rees-Mogg was shown in a clip to be making jokes that proved to be in extremely poor taste, after the video of Allegra Stratton laughing and joking about the party that happened in Downing Street on December 18 last year was made available to the public.

Here’s the Rees-Mogg clip:

Many people – including This Writer – were led to believe that the Rees-Mogg clip was made a year ago, because of the proximity of its release to that of the other video. The comment about “a year’s time” might have been considered an obvious indicator that it was current, but it was also entirely possible that someone back then might speculate on how long it would take for such a thing to go public, so some of us erred on the side of condemnation.

It’s still extremely poor taste. Rees-Mogg was still laughing it up at the expense of everybody who died during the Christmas restrictions last year, and of everybody who lost loved ones at that time. So were all the other attendees at the Institute of Economic Affairs (remember that name) think tank party where the clip was taken, who can be heard appreciatively guffawing at his callous so-called humour.

Guidelines in force at the time didn’t demand social distancing but did urge people to consider the risks of close contact. They can be seen standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and Rees-Mogg himself makes light of it. Won’t it be a shame if there’s a Covid-19 outbreak there as a result?

Rees-Mogg himself has since spoken up – not to apologise, but to justify the extreme offence he caused.

He said: “What I was saying was how nice it was to be free of restrictions so that we can have parties this year. That was what I was being pleased about.”

No – he was taking the piss out of everybody who followed the rules over the last nearly two years by laughing about how nobody had to follow them at that party.

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Evidence shows there WAS a #DowningStreetparty – after all #BorisJohnson’s lying denials

It’s been said before: it isn’t the wrongdoing that brings down governments – it’s the cover-up.

Yesterday (December 7, 2021), ITV News screened video of Boris Johnson’s then-press secretary, Allegra Stratton, laughing and joking about a Christmas party that government representatives, MPs and ministers have sworn blind did not take place on December 18, 2020, in a press conference rehearsal that happened four days later:

So there it is. Four days after the party – and we know now that it definitely took place – Downing Street staff were rehearsing how to lie about it. Remember, nobody would even claim publicly that it had happened for almost an entire year after the time this was recorded.

After the allegations were finally made, the lies started flying thick and fast. For brevity, here’s Peter Stefanovic’s video that captures all the televised falsehoods, including Boris Johnson’s own lie:

Do you still have doubts?

If so, just run your eyes over the following, which appears to be video of Jacob Rees-Mogg, taken at the Downing Street party on December 18, 2020:

The Metropolitan Police, having refused to investigate allegations of a party earlier this week – on the basis that they don’t investigate crimes that have already happened – are apparently looking at the Stratton video and considering whether to investigate.

(It probably means they are trying to find a good reason not to. Hopefully the Rees-Mogg video will tip the balance and they’ll have to do something. Interviewing Stratton and Rees-Mogg might be a start.)

This Writer had thought no new evidence was likely to be seen yesterday beyond the revelation that a ‘secret Santa’ present-giving had taken place – meaning the party had been planned well in advance (otherwise the secret present-givers would not have had time to arrange their gifts), and had not been cancelled after London went into Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions and all social gatherings were banned. How much more wrong could I have been?

Downing Street itself has doubled-down, continuing to insist that all relevant rules had been followed and adding that Johnson himself certainly did not attend a party.

But that doesn’t matter, because he lied about it.

And he lied while Conservative Party vice-chair Nickie Aiken was on television (BBC Politics Live) telling us all how accusations of lying were bad because they encourage people to think they can’t trust politicians. She even mentioned the Covid-19 pandemic and said she didn’t believe any member of the government would bring Parliament into disrepute:

I would like to see her on tomorrow’s Politics Live, commenting on the Stratton and Rees-Mogg clips. What does she have to say now?

Because it’s the lying that is hurtful.

Yesterday evening I watched the ITV News report on this. Anchorman Tom Bradby seemed to be so angry he couldn’t get his words out properly, and a pre-recorded insert was shown featuring members of the public, including one of the many who lost loved ones on the day of the party, reacting to it. The rage was palpable.

It should never be forgotten that 489 people died with Covid-19 on the day these Sloane Rangers and Hooray Henrys were raving it up in Downing Street – and more than 600 on the day Allegra Stratton was laughing about it in her mock press conference.

The reason people are angry is because they were laughing at us – the people who had to obey the rules while they flouted them.

Allow me to show you just a taste of that anger, from Twitter:

“Dear Allegra Stratton

“On the day you partied, my mother called me, breathless and feverish. I didn’t visit. On the day you joked, she was admitted to hospital. I didn’t visit. As you celebrated Christmas, she died without family by her side. I promise you, it wasn’t funny.”

Let’s not forget that the Metropolitan Police – the same force that initially refused to investigate allegations that people in Downing Street broke the rules – are this very week prosecuting members of the public over a house party in Ilford.

How much evidence does Cressida Dick need? She has video evidence that the party took place – including a clip from inside the event itself, and because Downing Street is guarded by police at all times she has the names of everybody who was signed into and out of the premises at the time the party happened. That should be enough to build what should be a watertight case – and now there really is no excuse not to.

So we come back to Boris Johnson – who is also in trouble now because he lied that he did not interfere in the evacuation from Afghanistan to allow a dog rescue charity to remove its animals to the UK.

There was a party. It took place at 10 Downing Street – where he lives. It was illegal. It happened when all social gatherings were banned. It involved a large amount of people who weren’t even attempting social distancing. Johnson’s then-press secretary joked about it being a “cheese and wine” event or “fictional”. And Johnson lied about it.

All of the above suggests that TV funsters Ant and Dec were right on the button when they said these words on yesterday’s edition of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!:

He is still prime minister… for now.

But for how much longer?

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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#ReesMogg is facing #sleaze #investigation by watchdog he tried to scrap

Shifty: Jacob Rees-Mogg is facing an investigation into his business practices outside Parliament – by a Standards Commissioner he tried to have abolished. Now, why would he have wanted to do that?

Karma comes around quickly these days, doesn’t it?

Remember how Jacob Rees-Mogg tried to shut down Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone after she found Owen Paterson guilty of corruption?

Now Ms Stone is investigating claims that he took £6 million of loans from his company, Saliston Ltd, between 2018 and 2020 – and failed to make an “open and frank” disclosure of them in the register of members’ interests.

The details are here:

It’s highly suspicious, isn’t it?

Rees-Mogg tried to have the Standards Commissioner’s role abolished, and is now being investigated by the Standards Commissioner.

Was he corruptly acting on his own behalf, rather than (as he undoubtedly claimed) in the interests of justice?

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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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook