Archive | June, 2017

Something in the air

28 Jun

There are conjunctions of events which change public perception. There was the Manchester Arena attack, and in its aftermath the video clips where an award winning community based Police Officer from Manchester warning Home Secretary Theresa May of the dangers of cutting this area of policing. His warnings were specific and were concerned with lack of community contact, the loss of intelligence and the dangers of terrorism. May’s answers were not just a flat denial but a direct insult to the professionalism of that officer.

Then came the London Bridge attack, which was dealt with brilliantly and swiftly by an armed response unit. If the terrorist cell had been able to obtain guns rather than use knives the death toll would have been truly horrific. It was a damn close run thing.

The fire at Grenfell Tower showed the penny-pinching policies of Kensington Counsel and the blatant disregard for the most basic of fire safety standards. This happened despite warnings from residents of the borough and the instructions of the manufacturers of the cladding panels. For seven years the very idea of regulation has been anathema to the government. Health and Safety has been cut beyond the bone. Administration of regulation has been handed to private companies whose sole reason to exist is profit, and their bottom line does not count the cost to human life.

Government austerity measures have led to cuts in all areas of health and safety, whether it be the NHS, social care, the Police, the Fire Services, ambulance services, education and regulatory bodies. At the same time the checking that regulations are enforced at local level has been relaxed to a point of ineffectiveness. And now the least empowered reap the whirlwind.

If there can be said to be such a thing as a public mood, then this mood has changed. There may still be an appetite for poverty pornography, like Benefits Street, but the attention has been focussed more on the actions and inaction of the government and connections have been made between austerity and public safety. The mood is angry. This is a deep resentment of the elite, the ruling classes and the mega rich.

I have not known such a deep dislike of a government in my lifetime, not even to Margret Thatcher. The British are slow to develop such resentment, but the fire at Grenfell Tower has set a revolutionary fire in the bellies of many citizens. If there are no major changes there will be a popular uprising against our current rulers. And no distractions by the gutter press or weasel words from government will lessen the deep sense of injustice and the perceived lack of representation.

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Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade

6 Jun

Liam Fox, one of three ministers responsible for Brexit is, by public record, the most corrupt politician in Britain. In March 2010 he over claimed for mortgage interest payments of £22,476.

Fox claimed expenses of more than £19,000 for his mobile phone for the four years between 2005 and 2009. Fox claimed the high bill was due to regular trips overseas. He tried to excuse this by saying that he was looking for a cheaper tariff.

In October 2012, the Commons Speaker blocked the release of data showing which MPs were renting their homes to other MPs for financial gain. However, a study of parliamentary records was published in The Daily Telegraph showed that Liam Fox receives rental income from his London home while simultaneously claiming rental income from the taxpayer to live at another residence.

In October 2013, amongst other claims, Fox  claimed 3p for a 100 metre car trip a year earlier. He also made an additional 15 claims of under £1 for car travel approved in 2012–13, two of which were for 24p and 44p. 

Fox has been found guilty of breaking Parliamentary rules, most spectacularly by accepting five paid trips to Sri Lanka paid for by the Sri Lankan government or the Sri Lankan Development Trust. Fox failed to declare his interest when asking ministers how much UK aid had been given to Sri Lanka.

Then there is his relationship with Adam Werrity, a relationship which was exposed in the media and led to Fox’s resignation. Werrity is 17 years younger than Fox and was best man at his wedding. Werrity lived rent-free in Fox’s flat, and been involved with him in business and in the UK/US ultra conservative think-tank The Atlantic Bridge. While Fox was Defence Minister, Werrity was a regular visitor at the Ministry of Defence and accompanied Fox on numerous official trips, including meetings with foreign dignitaries. Werrity used official-looking business cards which said he was an “advisor” to Fox despite having no government post or security clearance. The media is unclear as to  the source of Werrity’s income. Between 20 May 2010 to 8 October 2011 Werrity was present at 40 of Fox’s 70 engagements as Minister of Defense. In 2005–6, Fox used public money, from his expense claims as an MP, to pay Adam Werritty.

Fox is anti abortion, against gay marriage, (strangely), and wants to fully privatise the NHS. Apart from that I am assured that he is quite charming.

The question is, should he be in government at all, let alone be one of the chief architects of Brexit?

if you have any doubts about the veracity of this blog, look up this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liam_Fox