Monday 15 November 2021

A compendium of Tory corruption

Some people don't seem to grasp the sheer scale of Tory corruption, so here are details of just a fraction of what we already know about (with sources):

🔵 Tory MP Owen Paterson was caught red-handed breaking the ministerial code of conduct by lobbying for his employers within government. Randox were paying Paterson £100,000 per year, he sat in on ministerial meetings about the company, and they ended up getting £600 million in Covid contracts

🔵 A cross-party committee of MPs found that Paterson had brazenly defied the rules, and ordered him to serve a 30 day suspension from parliament. Instead of accepting the findings of the Paterson investigation Boris Johnson ordered Tory MPs to vote through controversial legislation designed to tear down the parliamentary standards authority, and let Paterson off scot free!

🔵 Tory leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg was one of the leading advocates of using the Owen Paterson scandal as an excuse to demolish the parliamentary standards authority. In 2018 Rees-Mogg used his company Saliston to lend himself almost £6 million at significantly below the market rate of interest, and he didn't even bother to declare these loans on the register of MPs interests (no wonder he was so keen to tear down the parliamentary standards authority!).

🔵 Boris Johnson has been caught up in multiple scandals himself, dating back to before he even became Prime Minister. There was the £126,000 in public cash paid to his mistress Jennifer Arcuri without any declaration of their relationship as one of Johnson's registered interests; the dodgy loan he received to decorate his Downing Street flat; his false declaration of a luxury holiday in Mustique; and his recent holiday in the luxury Spanish villa owned by a tax-dodging company operated by former Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, who Johnson gifted a lifetime peerage in the unelected House of Lords after he lost his parliamentary seat in the 2019 General Election

🔵 On the subject of the House of Lords, all sixteen of the Tory Party's former treasurers over the last seven years have been handed unelected lifetime peerages in the House of Lords, after having donated over £3 million each to the Tory operation! 

🔵 Tory politicians have been handing out untendered PPE contracts like sweeties, to such an extent that former Health Secretary Matt Hancock's former pub landlord, and his dad's mate, and his sister even got lucrative £multi-million contracts. Hancock 'accidentally' failed to include his 20% stake in his sister's PPE contract winning company on the register of MPs interests! 

🔵 The Tory government was found to have broken the law in handing a £560,000 coronavirus contract to former colleagues of Tory minister Michael Gove and Boris Johnson's ex-adviser Dominic Cummings.

🔵 Another of the major winners of this no-tender PPE bonanza was Meller Designs, which was a fashion designer until they bagged £160 million worth of PPE contracts, boosting their annual profits from £144k to £13 million. The owner is a regular Tory Party donor called David Meller, who personally lobbied the unelected Tory minister James Bethell for PPE contracts. 

🔵 P14 Medical was turned from a failing company into an absolute cash cow via a whopping £276 million in untendered PPE contracts. The owner Steve Dechan, a Tory party councillor in Stroud, used his profits from the Tory PPE bonanza to buy himself a luxurious £1.5 million country house in the Cotswolds. 

🔵 A company called Clipper Logistics got in on the untendered PPE bonanza with a £1.3 million contract. No surprise that the owner of the company is a major Tory Party donor called Steve Parkin. 

🔵 Another major Tory donor called Haraldur Agustsson bagged over £100 million worth of untendered PPE contracts across his companies Globus Shetland and Alpha Solway. 

🔵 After raking in over £1 billion in untendered coronavirus contracts, Tory-linked firms repaid the favour by kicking back a small percentage of their gains via £615,000 in donations to the Tory party!

The Tory minister who oversaw so many of the astounding no-tender PPE contracts was the unelected House of Lords stooge James Bethell who failed to declare 27 meetings with private health companies that went on to rake in over £1 billion in untendered covid contracts and then made up loads of nonsensical and contradictory excuses as to why he couldn't hand over his phone after he was caught red-handed using private WhatsApp chats to conduct government business.

🔵 The Tory government has pumped an astonishing £37 billion into the privatised shambles that is their Test and Trace operation, which has become the largest publicly funded corporate feeding frenzy in British medical history. It's been hit by ballooning costs, missed targets, 600 million lost covid tests, and scandalously high consultancy fees. The Public Accounts Committee have slammed it as an unimaginable waste of money that's had "no clear impact". No worries for Dido Harding who has presided over this absolute shambles, because she's married to the government's "anti-corruption tsar", Tory MP John Penrose!

🔵 The corporate outsourcing giant Serco have been lavished with literally hundreds of millions of pounds worth of Test and Trace contracts. Their CEO is Rupert Soames, brother of former Tory MP Nicholas, and grandson of Winston Churchill!

🔵 Former Tory DWP minister Iain Duncan Smith got in on the private medical pilfering, chairing a government taskforce that produced a report advising the government to give the green light to non-alcoholic hand gel, while earning a £25,000 per year salary from Britain's largest producer of non-alcoholic hand gel (a salary he forgot to declare as an interest in the report). 

🔵 More than a quarter of Tory MPs use the practice of second-jobbing in order to boost their salary of £82,000 (plus lavish expenses).

🔵 In 2015 the Tory government scrapped the requirement that MPs who take second jobs register their employment contracts with parliamentary authorities, which means that the employment details of every single one of the second-jobbing MPs across parliament are secret.

🔵 Perhaps the most egregious Tory moonlighting MP is Ben Bradley who claims salaries for 60 hours per week on top of his MPs duties. The average MP works 69 hours a week, so if Bradley's not shirking his responsibilities as an MP, we're expected to believe that he's putting in 129 hours a week at work, leaving him less than five and a half hours per day for sleeping, eating, travel, leisure, shopping, personal hygiene, and family life. All combined! 

🔵 Tory MP Mark Pawsey has a moonlighting £30,000 per year second job as chairman of the Foodservice Packaging Association. He leads Westminster’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Packaging Manufacturing Industry (no conflict of interests there eh?), and he's repeatedly spoken during parliamentary debates to criticise regulation of the food packaging industry, and to decry efforts to make retailers and manufacturers contribute more to the cost of recycling their plastic waste.

🔵 Tory MP Alun Cairns was hired on a lucrative £15,000 salary (more than £200 per hour) by a company that was part of a consortium that was awarded a £10 million coronavirus contract the following month.

🔵 More than 50 former Tory ministers have taken up private sector jobs in sectors they covered during their time as government ministers, many of them are still in parliament as MPs, or in the vast unelected crony club that is the House of Lords.

🔵 Tory Minister Nadhim Zahawi banked £1.3million from oil company Gulf Keystone Petroleum while working as an MP, but kept his second job earnings secret via a parliamentary loophole that allowed him to avoid declaring the payments by diverting them through a consultancy company he established with his wife.

🔵 34 Tory MPs have accepted political donations from firms linked to the Russian oligarch Viktor Fedotov, whose dodgy dealings were revealed in the Pandora Papers. Not a single one of these donations has been returned. 

🔵 The Pandora Papers also revealed that the unelected Tory lord Paul Deighton, a former government minister, had failed to declare a load of his secret offshore investments.

🔵 Former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has been raking in literally £millions for legal consultancy work, which included representing the British Virgin Islands tax haven, while arguing against closing tax loopholes in parliament

🔵 In 2004 Cox bought a £535,000 Battersea flat, relying on public funds to pay his £1,750 a month mortgage repayments. He now rents the property out for about £1,000 a week, living in a different London flat so he can claim £1,900 a month in public cash to pay the rent

🔵 Former Prime Minister David Cameron was caught lobbying the Tory government on behalf of a company called Greensill Capital, who were paying him absolutely vast consultancy fees. The government then over-rode their own £50 million limit on emergency Covid loans to award Greensill a whopping £400 million, all of which was loaned to companies associated with billionaire Tory-donor Sanjeev Gupta. Greensill went bankrupt a matter of months later! 

🔵 Tory MPs have been taking thousands of pounds worth of freebies and junkets from gambling companies and the gambling lobby then making pro-gambling statements in parliament and producing pro-gambling advertorials for websites like ConservativeHome. Probably the worst offender is Tory MP Laurence Robertson who earns £24,000 per year (at £200 per hour) as a gambling lobbyist who argued against stronger regulation of the gambling industry in parliament, then had the barefaced cheek to claim that there was no conflict of interest. 

🔵 The leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross "forgot" to declare £28,000 in earnings from his second job, but insists that it's all just a big mistake.

This lot is just the visible tip of the Tory corruption iceberg!

If you're aware of any other Tory corruption scandals, feel free to add details in the comments.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. Access to my online writing will always remain free. If you see some value in what I do, please consider supporting my work with a small donation/subscription.


Thursday 11 November 2021

Spot the Difference

In 2019 voters in the Don Valley constituency in South Yorkshire elected their first ever Tory MP, a private landlord by the name of Nick Fletcher.

It's absolutely astonishing that people in a poverty-stricken post-industrial part of South Yorkshire would wilfully elect a member of the Tory party as their MP, but political memories are clearly incredibly short, and it seems like people have already forgotten the horrific Tory de-industrialisation policies of the 1980s and 90s that annihilated local economies across the north of England.

They've forgotten the disastrous de-industrialisation policies; they've forgotten the demented Tory "leave it to market forces" fanaticism of just leaving entire towns to rot, so that younger generations had no choice but to leave for more affluent areas where they could actually find decent well-paid jobs; and they've forgotten the Tory austerity ruination that siphoned £billions out of local government budgets as they were simultaneously lavishing tax cuts and handouts on corporations and the mega-rich!

It's bad enough that people in a left-behind former coal mining area elected any Tory to represent them on the political stage, but it's especially galling that he's a property-hoarder who profiteers off parasites like him buying up all of the affordable housing, so that ordinary people are forced into paying off his mortgages, rather than buying houses of their own.

He's not just an economically unproductive exploiter representing a party that inflicted ruination on the area he represents, he's also ridiculously dishonest, to the extent of taking people for absolute mugs.

On December 21st 2020 he posted a Facebook selfie, taken in the town of Thorne.

On September 20th 2021 he posted the exact same selfie, with Christmas trees still visible in the background.

And on November 10th he posted the same selfie again claiming to have visited the town, and seen it "thriving again after a tough year".

Of course using the same photo over and again isn't even remotely on the same scale of dishonesty and corruption that Johnson's Tory party is absolutely mired in (dodgy PPE contracts, the Owen Paterson scandal, Geoffrey Cox skiving parliament to earn £hundreds per hour representing a tax haven; Tory donors apparently buying peerages at £3 million a pop; MPs accepting freebies from gambling companies then lobbying for them in parliament; David Cameron lobbying for Greensill to get £350 million in Covid loans just before they went bankrupt; Rishi Sunak's wife investing in a firm just weeks before her husband gave them a massive loan ...), but misleadingly posting the same photo multiple times is the kind of dishonest behaviour ordinary people would call their friends out for, isn't it?

It's similar to Tory liar Lucy Allan's bizarrely staged election pictures in 2017.

Of course her mendacious lie about not being invited to remembrance day events (when she actually had her constituency manager reject both invitations) is worse, as is the way she fabricated a death threat in order to smear a constituent who wrote to her in 2015 urging her to oppose David Cameron's war-mongering in Syria, but the fact these people resort to deception, when it would almost certainly be easier to just tell the truth is illustrative of their characters, isn't it?

It absolutely boggles the mind that people wilfully vote to put charlatans like this in parliament, especially when it's people in deprived former coal mining areas like the Don Valley.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. Access to my online writing will always remain free. If you see some value in what I do, please consider supporting my work with a small donation/subscription.