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An Italian investigator, a world expert on organised crime, says Britain is likely the most corrupt country on earth. Why is this not apparent? In Britain, the parliamentarians make parliamentary corruption legal or legislate to remove it from scrutiny.
The sums are so vast; the secrecy so shocking, that mutual back-slapping doesn’t begin to capture what Britain has become. To compare Britain’s ruling caste with banana republics like Zimbabwe is about right. Britain survives only because of its status and certainly not because of its civic righteousness.
The Good Law Project, the highly regarded not-for-profit public-cleanser proved in the high court that the Westminster regime ~ the term is appropriate, had breached what the judge called the ‘vital public function’ of transparency over ‘vast quantities’ of taxpayers’ money. Think of a Banana Republic.
A VIP fast-lane for protective equipment contracts made the contacts of ministers, MPs, peers and officials 10 times more likely to win contracts. PPE prices sky-rocketed: even body bags were being charged at 14 times their previous cost. The Good Law Project’s demands for publication of those favoured suppliers, their VIP sponsors and prices paid have been denied so far.
Why the secrecy? Real investigative journalists have already revealed that the medical regulator is investigating Alex Bourne, Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s ex-neighbour, who won £30m of work producing medical vials, despite having no experience in the field.
In the panic over empty PPE shelves in hospitals and care homes, the haste to procure might be forgiven were it not that favours to friends is the everyday modus operandi for Boris Johnson.
Alex Allan felt it impossible to stay on as the prime minister’s official adviser on the ‘integrity code’ thrown to the gullible Press and public by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Alex Allan found it impossible to continue after his findings on the corruption of Home Secretary Priti Patel, for bullying was rejected. Nor could Jonathan Jones remain as permanent secretary to the government legal department while Johnson broke international law with the internal market bill. Altogether, under Johnson, six permanent secretaries have gone..
The Good Law Project now also seeks a judicial review into the Guardian newspaper’s revelation of a £564,000 contract for opinion polling, given without tender to Dominic Cummings’ close chum Rachel Wolf, who co-wrote the 2019 Tory party manifesto.
What an irony that in her Downing Street days she planned for all civil servants to face constant exams to guard against a culture where everyone rises to their position of incompetence. Yet she was put to no test, not even basic tendering for a fat contract.
The Sunday Times reveals that Lord Udny-Lister, as deputy mayor of London under Johnson helped approve £4bn of property schemes for developers, and within months of leaving office went on to work for them. As Downing Street strategic adviser last year, he stayed on their payrolls.
In a blast at Tories ‘rife with conflicts of interest’, Rachel Reeves, the shadow cabinet office minister, made a ‘sack Serco’ pledge that Labour would return private contracts to the public sector.
Yet it seems nothing shames this government. The National Audit Office is a fine institution for checking on financial integrity and value for money. But, though it found that business owners with political ties to the Tories were given high-priority status over pandemic contracts, it has no machinery to force a government that doesn’t give a damn to act on these findings.
Which leaves the public-spirited crowd funders of the Good Law Project as the last stand against collapsing civic integrity. Although, as Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr, he doesn’t even care that he’s broken the law.
The commissioner for public appointments, Peter Riddell, all too rarely makes public protests, but recently he rose up against ‘unregulated appointments’, such as that of Tory peer Dido Harding to head the chaotic test-and-trace programme.
Last week the health department’s own evidence showed the £22bn she has spent had had a ‘relatively small’ effect. Riddell also protested against stacked interview panels: utterly unqualified ex-Tory MP James Wharton was appointed head of the Office for Students by a selection panel devoid of higher education experts.
Four non-executive directors appointed as ‘independents’ to oversee Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office are all Gove allies, including Gisela Stuart of his Vote Leave clan. According to a recent survey, more than half of all departmental board appointments, far from being independent outsiders, are special advisers and close political allies.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s chum, the Tory donor dual-passport holder Richard Sharp, was made BBC chair. Why no investigation into communities secretary Robert Jenrick’s improper initial intervention to help Tory donor Richard Desmond avoid tax over a £1bn planning bid? Not only this, but packing the Lords with donors is the new normal.
Had Labour committed any of these outrages, the Tory press would have hounded it to death. Remember Jennifer Arcuri, Johnson’s close friend’, given £100,000 from his London mayoral fund and invited on potentially lucrative trade missions? The Independent Office for Police Conduct found that the officers making decisions on sponsorship and trade missions knew of this relationship, ‘and this influenced their decision-making.
Clean democracies are defined by how well they guard against their leaders favouring family and friends. But the essence of the Westminster self-styled elite runs far deeper.
Nepotism stinks as badly as awarding contracts to VIP pals: glorying in both, the government, rotting from the head, spreads the stench of corruption through everything it touches. Source
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