Auditors Bribe Tories 74


There is an excellent article today in the Independent (thanks, Stephen) about the massive contribution to the Tories from accountancy firms.

Analysis by The Independent has revealed that leading companies including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and KPMG, have given the Tories nearly £500,000 since the start of last year as they attempt to build ties with the party that has a double-digit lead in the polls.

The firms involved already hold government contracts worth millions of pounds between them. More consultancy contracts would be on offer for auditors and consultants as the party would be forced to grapple with making vast savings across the public sector should it form the next government.

http://tinyurl.com/kuqmul

The Independent reckons these firms already have £4 billion worth of government contracts. Of course not only are they accountants and auditors, but “management consultants”. The idea that private sector consultants always know better took full wing under Thatcher and was enthusiastically adopted by New Labour. I have always found the argument that accountants know best how to fight wars, run hospitals and teach to be complete tripe. As the Independent says:

A single KPMG consultant working in the Department for Children, Schools and Families costs the taxpayer £1.35m over three years, a parliamentary inquiry found.

That’s ten teachers. We could make a start to saving public funds by banning the use of external consultants.

But the Tories’ dependence on these people should shatter any illusions that the Tories will better control the financial services sector. The financial services sector will, as always, control the Tories,

Newly elected Norwich North MP Chloe Smith was of course one of those seconded from the sector – from Deloitte – to the Conservative Party. It is an instructive case. After university, Smith worked for two Tory MPs, Gillian Shepherd and James Clappison – the latter famously bought 156 trees at taxpayer expense to mark the boundary of his country estate.

Chloe’s theoretical “Transfer” to Deloitte – while still in fact working for the Conservative Party on secondment – appears to be not only a subvention from Deloitte in taking a full time Tory hack onto their books, but a deliberate attempt to build up Chloe’s CV by making it appear she had not only worked for the Conservative Party.

As the Times put it:

She describes herself as a “business consultant” but is vague about what she does for Deloitte. Perhaps this is because she is on secondment to the Conservatives’ implementation unit

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6719526.ece

There may be one problem for them from this subterfuge strategy – unlike the secondments and donations mentioned in the Independent article, and unlike other secondments from Deloitte, Chloe Smith’s secondment has not been declared to the Electoral Commission as a donation to the Tory Party.

That is illegal.

Deloittes were, of course, auditors to the Royal Bank of Scotland/Natwest before the massive crash. A comment from Praguetory on a post below argued that nothing was wrong with the RBS audit. Well, that is true, if you overlook the failure to flag up the incredible over-valuation of worthless toxic assets, and the failure to warn that the biggest crash in corporate history was imminent.

I posted on this before, and hugely upset a (usually very interesting) accountants’ blog called The Sharpener, which had given a super review to Murder in Samarkand. But the plain truth is that all the first class financial scandals you can name – Polly Peck, BCCI, Enron, Equitable Life, RBS, Allan Stanford, Bernie Madoff – had blue chip accountants who signed off regularly on accounts giving a wholly false picture.

In not one of those case was it the auditors who blew the whistle.

The entire Western accounting system is based on the compliance of morally corrupt little pen pushers. The fact that it is the company which chooses its own accountants and auditors, who have a vested interest in keeping their mouths shut and are never prosecuted when a scheme folds (along with the hopes and savings of millions of investors), is a scandal.

Our jails should hold less desperate social security scammers, and a great many more accountants.


74 thoughts on “Auditors Bribe Tories

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  • tony_opmoc

    Ruth,

    The original fundamental idea of the Intelligence Services was not necessarily a bad one. Gaining intelligence is a fairly sensible thing to do. Blowing things up and torturing people definitely is not.

    Anyway here is an Article in today’s Independent some of which is bollocks

    Tony

    Britain’s torture role must be investigated, say MPs

    Joint Commons and Lords committee expected to issue damning report on MI5’s part in the rendition of terror suspects

    By Jane Merrick, Political Editor

    Sunday, 2 August 2009

    Binyam Mohamed says he was tortured in Morocco after his arrest

    An MI5 officer was in Morocco when Binyam Mohamed claims he was being tortured

    Allegations of Britain’s involvement in the torture of terror suspects must be subject to an independent inquiry, a parliamentary committee is expected to demand this week.

    MPs and peers on the cross-party Joint Committee on Human Rights will step up pressure on the Government over the role of MI5 in extraordinary rendition. It follows fresh allegations heard at the High Court last week, including claims that an MI5 officer known as Witness B made three visits to Morocco at the time that former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed claims he was tortured in the country.

    The human rights committee is expected to issue a damning report on the Government’s role, saying that only an independent probe will be able to establish whether Britain was complicit. Ministers have denied that Britain has played any role in torture, but have shifted their position on extraordinary rendition since the first revelations of the practice by the US emerged in 2005.

    Related articles

    * Phil Shiner: ‘We torture people, yet no one admits it’

    * Sean Langan: Held hostage and waiting for rescue

    Labour MP Andrew Dismore, the committee chairman, refused to confirm that the report would call for an independent inquiry when asked on BBC2’s Newsnight on Friday. But it is understood the report will be critical of the piecemeal confirmation of details of extraordinary rendition, as well as the way ministers have handled the affair.

    After talks in America with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, last week, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said London and Washington have a “uniquely close intelligence-sharing relationship based on deep trust and a fundamental principle is that we do not disclose each other’s intelligence publicly”.

    There were more difficult revelations for MI5 last night with claims that the security service mistakenly recruited up to six al-Qa’ida sympathisers in the wake of the 7 July 2005 bombings in London.

    Patrick Mercer, the Commons counter-terrorism committee chairman, said two would-be officers had attended training camps in Pakistan where it was likely they came into contact with al-Qa’ida, while another three or four had gaps of up to three months in their life histories, which led to them being thrown out.

    Mr Mercer said: “I believe that two candidates got some way into training, though I don’t think very far, before they were hoofed out because there was a black hole in their CVs. It probably involved terrorist training in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Three to four others were picked up during the vetting process along the same lines.”

    Mr Mercer said it was “hardly surprising” that terrorist groups tried to infiltrate MI5, just as the IRA had in the 1970s and 1980s, and vice versa.

    It was unlikely the two candidates that had been taken on had ever got inside Thames House, the headquarters of MI5, he said, but he called on the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, to hold an investigation into the incidents.

    The Tory MP added: “It is a relief that it would seem that there was a small number that got into training.”

    A Home Office spokesman said: “MI5 takes vetting seriously indeed. All candidates are required to undergo the most comprehensive process of security vetting in the UK. Applicants go through extensive vetting and it is not unusual for a number to drop out or fail at the earliest stages for a variety of reasons.”

  • tony_opmoc

    Incidentally I think David Shayler’s apparent nervous breakdown is kind of genuine.

    Whilst extremely “convienient”, I don’t think he had been “got at”. I nearly met him a couple of years ago, but he didn’t turn up – though his girlfriend did. Whilst I didn’t meet her because I wasn’t that interested – I was there for the music, not the 9/11 stall – but was sufficiently intrigued to speak to the guy who was there between bands.

    He seemed convinced that he had genuinely lost it…

    I think it is a natural reaction to escape both the emotional pressure, but also the physical threat. He knew the score – and by appearing a nutter in the David Icke shape-shifting messiah alien god thing – he realises that he will be perceived by most people as a complete nutter and not worth being David Kelly’d.

    It will make him feel safe – which is exceedingly important for any person’s sanity.

    Tony

  • mary

    Dorries Dale has been busy over the weekend. I haven’t seen a lot of TV but he was on Sky last night reviewing the Sunday papers. He was introduced as the publisher of Total Politics Magazine?

    Then just now on BBC 24 being asked for his opinion on Harperson’s comment that there should be a woman in the No 1 or No 2 place. He said much the same as he did last night on Sky and not worth reporting. I suppose he picks up token fees for these ‘appearances’.

    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/92529-iain-dale-bites-back-with-new-publishing-venture.html

  • Alec Leamas

    Craig,

    Off topic but would love to hear your thoughts on British Law Graduates in Brazil Fraud story. I’m so sick of the way the media report these stories with the soft focus terribly concerned mother railing at the injustice of it all.

    A.L

  • tony_opmoc

    personally I think manic depression is a completely normal human state, in that you are so close to the real existence of human beings that you can literally feel the terror of others.

    you see i think we are even more intelligent than whales – yet they are so much better than us

    of course life on this planet is not all hell

    but you have got to know what it is

    the real low

    i think my wife has only survived it, because she cries a lot, and we all hug and cuddle her when she is her normal manic completely extrovert lovely loving person

    when she is down which hardly ever occurs now – maybe once a year which usually lasts about 3 days – and she manages to schedule her down bits for when the weather is really crap and we aren’t doing anything much…

    Well, she’s walking through the clouds

    With a circus mind that’s running ’round

    Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams and fairy tales

    That’s all she ever thinks about

    Riding with the wind

    When I’m sad, she comes to me

    With a thousand smiles she gives to me free

    It’s alright, she says, it’s alright

    Take anything you want from me – anything

    Anything

    Fly on little wing

    Yeah yeah, yeah – little wing

    Tony

  • Chris Dooley

    ‘Insanity’ is the only rational response of a caring person in this world.

    People like Craig, make it much more bareable and give a glimmer of hope.

  • tony_opmoc

    I want to see the Video Footage Again

    When Tony Blair won the election and a he Outstreched his hand like he Was God – to This Girl

    And She SAID LIVE ON TV

    I Will Not Shake Your Hand – It Has Got BLOOD On IT

    I thought what COURAGE

    How Come She Did That?

    Tony

  • mary

    The post above was mine from which I omitted my name by mistake. I omitted the footnotes and references which are on the pdf (140 pages long!)

    I should imagine that Craig is seething at the content at the end of Para. 16. We ALL remember the fight he made to be heard. How dare they.

  • NomadUK

    Hey, Craig, I just heard your name mentioned on Today on Radio 4 during a story about the JHRC and the refusal of relevant ministers to sit and give evidence before it.

    Of course, there was some weasel from the FCO given more than equal time to natter on about how Britain needed to associate with murderers, rapists, torturers, and all-around Bad Guys in order to keep the British public safe from the blowback from the War on Terror which her adopted masters, the Americans, started.

    But, hey, it’s a start!

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