Tag Archives: Reynolds

Four Johnson advisors quit in disgust – and Tory MPs say he’s doing a great job! What?

Isolated: Boris Johnson has tried to show strong leadership by accepting resignations from top advisors who were going anyway. All he has done is show that he is isolated from anybody who could have helped him retain his position as prime minister.

After This Site (and many others) reported that Boris Johnson’s policy advisor Munira Mirza quit her role – after 14 years with him – in disgust at his attempt to shame Keir Starmer for failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile, a further three advisors have quit.

This is hardly a sign of good leadership.

But here are a couple of brainless Tory MP drones saying it’s a sign that Johnson is doing a brilliant job!

What gives?

I’ll tell you – but you won’t be happy with Boris Johnson when I’m done!

It seems the resignation of Munira Mirza actually rocked Johnson hard. She had been with him for 14 years and quitting in the way she did sent a very clear message that he should be ejected from office; no ifs, no buts.

It left him in a very difficult position, with his authority – and his ability to restore order to Downing Street – under serious question.

So he cast around for a way to at least appear to be exerting control – and his gaze fell on three other advisors:  director of communications Jack Doyle, principal private secretary Martin Reynolds and chief of staff Dan Rosenfield.

All have been implicated in the Partygate scandal.

It seems Johnson reasoned that, if he pushed them out, he would present an appearance of acting decisively to restore order to Downing Street after the parties in which they were all involved.

Doyle and Rosenfield are said to have taken part in a party on December 18, 2020, and Doyle is said to have participated in at least one other event. Reynolds allegedly invited around 100 Downing Street staff to a “bring your own booze” party in the garden of 10 Downing Street in May 2020 when the UK was under strict lockdown.

But…

Doyle is also known to have wanted to quit his job after two years in any event, and it is understood that Johnson had previously refused his resignation.

Accepting it now merely makes Johnson look like a scurrilous (as Ms Mirza put it) opportunist and that, rather than forcing anybody out, he is in fact finally letting them go – because it suits him, not them.

Similarly, Rosenfield and Reynolds may have resigned because they feel it is the honourable thing to do after the party revelations. That would lend credence to allegations that these events took place, of course, in contravention of lockdown rules.

So instead of forcing out people who broke the rules, in order to restore order at Number 10, it seems Johnson is instead trying to spin the loss of three top advisors to his advantage.

It won’t work – or shouldn’t, in spite of the best efforts of nobodies like Stuart (who?) Anderson and Chris (who?) Clarkson.

The reason is clear:

No matter why they went, the four resignations mean Johnson has removed the entire top layer of management at 10 Downing Street, isolating himself from his party and showing he lacks any management ability at all – when he should be trying to show strong leadership. And there are plenty of us who can see that.

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#Partygate: Downing Street won’t investigate MP #blackmail claims – but does it matter?

Laughing at us: Boris Johnson grinned inanely and bobbed about on his bench while MPs attacked his contempt for the rules and denials of guilt at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (January 19).

The prime minister’s office has said there will be no investigation of claims that Tory whips have blackmailed MPs to keep them from launching a leadership challenge against Boris Johnson.

But does it matter? It’s being claimed that the Sue Gray inquiry into parties at Downing Street has seen an email warning Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, against holding a lockdown-breaching party in May 2020.

The official who sent the email, who has so far gone unnamed, appears to have told ITV’s Robert Peston that he “probably” also personally warned Johnson against it “but I honestly can’t remember”.

This would corroborate a claim by Johnson’s former top advisor, Dominic Cummings, who said he had also personally warned the prime minister against the party.

That should be enough to sink Johnson, because it would indicate that he deliberately lied to Parliament when he said he attended it in the belief that it was a “work event”.

Still, the accusations are continuing to land. Today it is being claimed that, after Downing Street said it had seen no evidence to support an investigation into blackmail claims, a group of Tory MPs known insultingly as the “Pork Pie Plotters” (because one of them represents Melton Mowbray) are considering releasing evidence that they have faced such threats.

Apparently this includes text messages and a secretly-recorded, “heated”, exchange of words with Conservative Chief Whip Mark Spencer.

Whether this alleged information becomes public knowledge or not, it is being reported that Downing Street is extremely nervous about what Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry will reveal.

It’s being said that officials are now doubtful that it will clear Johnson – and it could be published as early as Monday.

This would make sense if she has seen the alleged email to Martin Reynolds, as it is understood that it would make the case against Johnson airtight.

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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The big Tory ‘Rethink Reskill Reboot’ blunder that has backfired badly

Boris Johnson should have known better but he didn’t. Neither did his Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, who is more directly responsible.

You see, after he announced that he was re-focusing government support to concentrate only on “viable” employment, Sunak had to answer questions about what was to be done with people whose jobs were “unviable”, according to his reckoning.

His answer? “Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.” He wanted people to re-train for different jobs.

No doubt he is now left wondering why people in some employment sectors have taken his words as an attack…

… especially after a government advert that appeared today:

It specifically targets entertainers – “Fatima” is a ballet dancer, and therefore belongs to a highly-exclusive corner of the live entertainment sector.

And it suggests that her time would be better-spent working at a desk, in front of a computer, making money for somebody else. Hence this response:

(Of course the reference is to the fact that the government lost more than 16,000 positive Covid-19 traces because it was recording them on an Excel spreadsheet that ran out of fields.)

Others have responded equally bitingly – and often amusingly. I’ll intersperse what follows with some of these.

But it is important to mention the elephant in this particular room: the fact that entertainment is a multi-billion pound industry that deserves government support that Sunak and Johnson aren’t providing.

The case was made very well by Rou Reynolds. If you’re not familiar with the name, he’s the lead singer of the band Enter Shikari – a personal favourite of This Writer’s stepdaughter, before you all start labouring under illusions that I’m suddenly “with it”.

In an open letter to Sunak, published by that venerable pop periodical Kerrang!, he made the case for entertainers to receive support – and he made it well:

Musicians rely on live performance for their main source of income.

The music industry has been one of the most drastically hit industries throughout the whole [Covid-19] crisis. And as the government furlough scheme ends in a few weeks, your government has decided to give the least amount of support for one of the hardest hit industries.

Like a fish writhing in the dust at the bottom of a drained lake, in losing the option of gigging, those in the music industry have been deprived of their life-source.

And the government is standing on what was once the shoreline, suggesting to the fish that it retrains as an elephant.

Most people in the music industry are now being told they no longer have a “viable job” and must retrain or otherwise adapt. There is to be no financial support for them. This, from the same government that wasted £2 billion on helping businesses that are actually thriving during the pandemic. From the same government that wasted millions painting planes, handing out dodgy coronavirus contracts to its ill-equipped pals and employing inept private companies to do jobs they aren’t trained for.

Lots of people are rightly focusing on the economics, pointing out that the music industry adds £5 billion a year to the UK economy. Live music specifically adds the same amount as the whole of the UK fishing industry.

But I would argue that even more important than the economics, live music creates community, friendships and it brings people together indiscriminately – something that this country desperately needs. It is a reliable tonic for our mental health, both for the performers and the listeners. It heals, it unites, it gives hope, it provides escape, it motivates us and it connects us.

Of course, these things are not measured in our economic statistics. Nor do they seem to be acknowledged at all.

Telling artists to diversify, retrain, or simply get another job is even odd in itself, to be honest. Most artists do have other jobs already. Most artists juggle multiple aspects of their own career already. Many could attempt to get more hours in the jobs they have outside of the music industry and just what…? Leave it to rot? Leave it in the safe hands of the well-funded, “establishment-approved” mainstream, and lose all the beautiful diversity and nuance of the underground, the alternative and the more esoteric scenes? The very scenes that have made UK music the world’s most inventive and leading cultural force for decades.

And it’s not just artists that are going to struggle either without support, is it? It’s not just whinging, complaining singers like me!

You remember those iceberg diagrams? The musicians are the little bit of the iceberg we see above the water. Look below the surface and you witness the true extent of the colossal size of the industry: it’s huge.

It’s the stage technicians, lighting designers, engineers, management and production teams, agents, press teams, media, photographers, videographers, promoters, venue staff, security, bus and truck drivers, caterers, even the kebab shop near the venue that relies on the gig-goer’s custom to keep its doors open. What happens to them?

And if you remove an artist’s main source of income, how are they then supposed to afford to record new music? You’re then impacting the record producers, the studio engineers, the mixing and mastering engineers, the session musicians, the video directors and music video production teams, the labels and the publishers.

You and your government must reconsider.

Yours,
Rou Reynolds (unviable content creator, awaiting retraining)

Source: An Open Letter To Rishi Sunak, By Rou Reynolds — Kerrang!

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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