Banana Republic Corruption 204

The Ayanda Capital contract to supply £250 million of PPE to the NHS has not caused anything like the stir it should, because UK citizens appear to have come to accept that we live in a country with a Banana Republic system of capitalism. I suppose when you have a Prime Minister who handed out £60 million of public money for a Garden Bridge that there was no chance would ever be built, and who had no qualms about directing public funds to one of his many mistresses, the norm has changed.

But the Ayanda Capital PPE deal represents all that is wrong with UK capitalism.

Ayanda Capital self-describes as a “family office”. It essentially carries out investment and financial engineering, including tax avoidance, for the private wealth of the Horlick family. “Family office” has a very specific meaning in the City of London. The best simple definition I could find is here:

Family offices are private wealth management advisory firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) investors. They are different from traditional wealth management shops in that they offer a total outsourced solution to managing the financial and investment side of an affluent individual or family.

Sometimes family offices invest the wealth of more than one “very high net worth” individual or family, but they do not invest or raise funds from the wider public or from institutions.

The only named “person with significant control” of Ayanda Capital is Timothy Piers Horlick, but he owns it through a Mauritius company. Mauritius is now a notorious tax haven; it offers zero tax and keeps company officers and owners secret.

There is no reason to suppose that the activities of Ayanda Capital in private wealth management were illegal, or any more than part of the execrable trend of late stage capitalism towards super concentration of capital assets into private hands and away from the traditional more distributed forms of institutional and shareholder ownership. What Ayanda does is plain enough from its website:

As you would expect from that profile, Ayanda Capital itself, rather than the wealth it invests, is little more than a shell company. It has two directors, Nathan Philip Engelbrecht and Timothy Piers Horlick. In fact, in December 2019, Ayanda Capital’s balance sheet shows that it was only kept from bankruptcy by “intangible assets” worth £2,890,000. That was an increase of almost exactly £2,000,000 in the value of those “intangible assets” in twelve months, allegedly due to “development” spending of that amount. What was being developed is entirely unclear. It is difficult to see how a private wealth investment company develops some form of intangible asset with a value of nearly £3 million. I find it hard to see all that as more than an accounting wheeze – and a rather hoary one at that.

So far, so unremarkable. So the question is this. Why would the NHS turn to this ethically sordid but zeitgeist banal private wealth management office to provide a quarter of a billion pounds worth of PPE to the NHS? Wealth Manager magazine, who have done excellent journalism on this story, have the contract as supplying only face masks. They have confirmed the astonishing fact that there was no published tender for the quarter billion pound contract. Normal tendering processes were suspended in March through secondary legislation at Westminster for the Covid-19 Crisis.

This is all simply astonishing.

The normal public procurement tendering process has pre-qualification criteria which companies have to meet. These will normally include so many years of experience in the specific sector, employment of suitably qualified staff, possession of the required physical infrastructure and a measure of financial stability. This is perhaps obvious – otherwise you or I could simply stick in a bid to build the HS2 railway that is £10 billion cheaper than anybody else, win the contract then go and look for a builder.

Ayanda Capital would fail every single test in normal procurement criteria to supply PPE to the NHS. I can see no evidence that anybody in the company had ever seen PPE except when visiting the dentist. They appear to have no medical expertise, no established medical procurement network, no quality control inspection ability, no overseas shipment agents, no warehousing or logistics facilities. We have of course seen this before from these crooked Tories with their “emergency procurement”, with the “ferry company” with no ferries. But this – a quarter of a billion pounds – is on a whole different level.

I understand that normal procurement chains were struggling, but I would still trust any of the UK’s numerous long established and globally successful medical supply companies to go out and get the right kind of medical supplies, of the right quality, and arrange their supply and delivery, rather than throw an incredible sum of taxpayers’ cash at the first couple of City wide boys who said they can do it. From a company with a very dodgy balance sheet.

What are Ayanda Capital in this transaction other than the classic Banana Republic “Mr 10%”? Precisely what kind of country has the UK become? No wonder it is falling apart.


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204 thoughts on “Banana Republic Corruption

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  • cimarrón

    @craig: “The only named “person with significant control” of Ayanda Capital is Timothy Piers Horlick, but he owns it through a Mauritius company.”

    Seeing the word ‘Mauritius’ and knowing Johnson’s ways it did make me wonder if Horlick was the person who paid for Johnson’s holiday; the awarding of this contract being payback – though I know that owning ‘a Mauritius company’ may mean nothing more than simply the usual tax avoidance.

    ‘Labour demands inquiry into Boris Johnson’s holiday
    Call comes as PM and Tory donor fail to disclose who paid for £15,000 Caribbean break’


    Yet more –

    ‘PPE procurement: the government responds to legal action
    The government has hit back against Jolyon Maugham’s pre-action protocol letters issued in June against Health Secretary Matt Hancock concerning multi-million pound contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) awarded to Pest Fix Ltd of Littlehampton and Clandeboye Agencies Ltd, a chocolate wholesaler in Antrim.

    ‘Maugham challenged their lawfulness on the grounds that there was no evidence that either company had experience in supplying PPE and that the “extreme urgency” which dictated single-bidder contracts was of the department of health’s own making through a lack of forward planning’

  • Spencer Eagle

    Well done on exposing this, Craig. I can’t help thinking that hidden within the miasma is some kind of creative VAT money go round, PPE of course is zero rated for the purposes of VAT.

    • Antonym

      Correct. The present Netherlands under PM Rutte is also heading a banana monarchy, following directions of the anti Russia faction of the Anglo 5 Ayes and ignoring the natives.
      Just check the MH17 false flag op, executed through Ukrainians and blamed on Putin: the former had motive, the latter non.

  • Anonymous

    If you really want to know about the British Banana Republic I suggest you read these articles from Truepublica, starting with Thatcher and the privatisation of the water companies:

    “According to a study from the National Audit Office, water bills have increased at a rate of 40% above inflation since the industry was fully privatised in 198os. Water privatisation delivered nothing better, made the public worse off and created some fat cats. And to add insult to injury, hosepipe bans are looking increasingly likely for 2020 because the infrastructure is not there in the first place.”

    And then there’s this one:

    “As mentioned, the sale of HMRC’s property estate went to Bermuda-based Mapeley Holdings Limited, a company ultimately owned by George Soros and US group Fortress Investment, which describes itself as an “alternative investment” company. This was the same man who broke the Bank of England by shorting Britain’s currency in 1993 on what is now famously known as ‘Black Wednesday‘ which personally made him $1.5billion in less than a month, whilst at the same time costing the treasury and therefore the taxpayer another £3.4 billion. In an irony totally lost on our politicians, Britain sold an entire state owned property portfolio to become a tenant of the man who pillaged the country years earlier, who has located that portfolio off-shore to ensure no tax is paid to the treasury. In the last nine months of 2001, HMRC paid £165 million in rent to Maperley. Today, that annual rent bill likely to exceed £400 million.”

    And if you can stomach any more, there’s this one:

    “Libor was the worlds biggest financial crime and Bob Diamond was at the very heart of it. The scale of this crime was breathtaking. Everything from mortgages to student loans can be linked to Libor rates, and millions of people paid more for their loans – so it was big news that there was something truly crooked about this obscure but crucial pillar of the financial system. It also turned out that many of the deals put together by Barclays under the leadership and direction of Diamond were more about tax evasion.

    It took years to unravel and as one financial reporter put it – “Three former Barclays traders were found guilty by a jury in a British court of conspiring to manipulate Libor, a London-based international financial benchmark linked to some $300 trillion worth of mortgages, loans, and derivatives.” Diamond wasn’t one of them. In fact, only five people have ever been convicted over the Libor scam. “It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money,” said one trader in a transcript published by regulators in one investigation.”

    Note: Truepublica website was taken down for weeks due to a cyber attack. They were also threatened by government politicians if they carried on producing articles critical of the government.

  • Tatyana

    From my swamp bump,
    the last high-profile story with a similar pattern well kown all araund the world was the case of Sergei Magnitsky.
    The Hermitage Capital company came to Russia. According to the than existing criteria, they could not freely buy the shares of ‘Gazprom’, ‘Surgutneftegaz’, ‘Sberbank’, because they were foreign agents. The price was higher for foreigh firms than for the native buyers.
    Therefore, a network of virtual firms was created – “Parthenion”, “Machaon”, “Ryland”, “Cameo” – all small Ltd. companies with British directors and all of them owned by offshore companies “Glendora Holdings Ltd” и “Kone Holdings Ltd”. Just to keep their foreign origin in secret, for the sake of preferential trading in shares of the largest Russian assets.

    I will not go into the long detail, that all was very sad. But the story repeated itself so many times that even a dog would recognize the pattern! A story of big money stealing and impunity.
    I’m extremely sorry that Sergey Magnitsky died during this “mafia’s war’. You can call me racist, anti-Semitic and anti-British if you wish, but the facts of history are as they are, and I can change nothing. Big money is in the hands of people of Jewish origin, the scheme is facilitated by Britain, money is stolen from Russia. With the assistance of the treacherous corrupt Russian officials who have already acquired property abroad and successfully left their homeland with stolen money. Only one person remained the scapegoat in this fight of thieves – Sergey Magnitsky – the one who revealed the criminal scheme.
    Very very sad.

    Today’s schemes are simplier, mostly the city mayors give the contracts with inflated prices directly to their relatives and friends. Every day we see in the news one or another official detained. That all makes me think more and more often about the death sentence for corruption and treason, as in China or under the rule of Stalin. I think wether we should try more effective measure to suppress corruption? Indeed, they are caught literally every day, but they are still not afraid! Every of them continues to do this in the hope that they will have time to run away before the end of their democratically established 4-year term!

    • Tollcross

      You are anti-semitic, Tatyana. The ethnicity/religion of these scoundrels is irrelevant.

      • Tatyana

        Apparently I seem so, and honestly, it’s very unpleasant for me to realize the way you see me. It makes me sad and makes me feel desperate to explain my opinion. I really always try to explain my views in the most sincere and the most honest way, with no ‘nice decorations’. Because I believe that being honest and sincere is the best way of human interaction, and also I believe that being strong and self-disciplined is my life credo and in general is normal for human beings.

        I tried to sort out the reasons for my negative feelings as expressed in the above comment. I couldn’t sort it out yet. On the one hand, re. anti-Semitism – no, I don’t feel any negative to any semites, and no negative towards Jews – they are the part of Russian culture and I feel rather they are closer to me than e.g. the British. I understand Jewish values and history and culture and well, I admire some features of their national mentality and I do adore the harmony of their music!

        Again on the same hand, I don’t accept discrimination, it makes me sick. I understand that it is extremely stupid to blame people for those things that they are not able to change, such as nationality or race or place of birth.

        On the third hand, when we talk about after-USSR Russia and about the rich people who appeared out of nowhere, with big money and became owners of national property – for some reason there are no Nigerians, Malaysians, Chinese, Iranians, French, Germans, hell no one of the thousands of world’s nations! – no among them, them but only one.

        That all makes me think, I’m rather good in logic, though maybe I’m just prejudiced dirty racist. Hard to say whan I see from inside of myself. Sorry.

        • John Goss

          Unfortunately Tatyana you are right. Nobody in this country dare raise a voice against those who plough money into organisations, companies and governments to dictate policy. It is why we have so many Friends of Israel groups. No decent-minded person would want to be friends with apartheid Israel when viewing its mistreatment of Palestinians. Here is a thug from Israel getting tough with a young boy who has his arm in plaster.

        • Courtenay Barnett


          The world which you – Tatyana – see is far more corrupt than you and John Goss both think at first glance.

          I tried earlier to engage Craig in a discussion about UN Resolution 1514. Regarding decolonisation.

          For any answer forthcoming would lead directly into why the British Government simultaneously is not complying with 1514 – but is also cossetting offshore jurisdictions and doing so even on a discriminatory basis as between the Channel Islands and the Caribbean.

          But the more money which comes in – all the better and then simply read The West Indies Act 1962 sections 8 & 9 then ask – has Her Majesty’s Government been living up to international obligations – or is HMG just being consistently – ‘perfidious albion’

          That is the question.

        • Tatyana

          Thank you all, folks, for your opinions.
          IMHO, many prejudices arise from the experience. E.g. like “russians are scary mafia people” in the US. I know many russians moved to the US to make money, after the USSR ended. I know there were many criminals among them.
          In the UK you may know a lot of russians buying luxury houses and yachts, so perhaps you have another picture of ” a russian”.
          In Syria there must be the third image, something like “russians are soldiers”.
          All these pictures are true for their particular cases, but it is logical that they are not a universal portrait of any Russian.

          In my case, I do not think that all people of Jewish ethnicity are thieves. This is a stupid and insulting statement and I apologize if it hurt someone. I don’t think so and do not support stereotypes.

          I’m only considering a very specific situation when they have a British rear and ties with Russian officials, this leads to corruption schemes. Many such examples here in Russia made me not anti-Semitic, but rather a supporter of conspiracy theory. Look, every time they move with stolen money to London, every time. What does attract them there? Perhaps, they know they would he secured there? Maybe British state and Jewish banking community have a treaty? That may explain why Britain never gives out her inhabitants to Russia on russian prosecutors requests.

          • N_

            Many Jewish oligarchs from Russia and from elsewhere in the former USSR hold high positions in Jewish communal organisations, for example Gusinsky, Nevzlin, Slutsker, Mashkevich, Rabinovich, and the list can be made much longer.

            It’s also worth pointing out that Jews are not a race. “Jewish” is an ethnic identity. Thus when I read references to Gilad Atzmon as being “Jewish” I either get angry (if the writer is doing it deliberately to befuddle) or sad (if the writer’s heart is in the right place but he basically hasn’t got a clue about how to understand the work of the author he is referring to). Atzmon is Palestinian. How difficult is that to understand? Atzmon has said absolutely clearly that he is not a Jew. Don’t call him a Jew because of the religion of his ancestors. That’s racist. He is not responsible for anything his ancestors did or didn’t do, and he clearly does not derive an ethnic identity from their religion either directly or indirectly.

            As I understand it, Mordechai Vanunu has also rejected the Jewish identity and is therefore also not a Jew. (I will stand corrected on this point if necessary, but I am fairly sure I read a quote from him saying he is not a Jew. I am not saying this just because from most Judaists’ point of view his Christianity means he is not a Jew. Many of the Jews who convert to Christianity consider themselves still to be Jewish, but as I understand it they do not include Vanunu. Note the principle here: Jews are people who consider themselves to be Jews. Exactly the same is true about the British.)

            Anybody here who calls another person “anti-Semitic” or who considers the possibility that a person (who might even be themselves) might be “anti-Semitic” (a word they use to mean anti-Jewish) should show that they understand even SOMETHING about Jewish racism – they should show they have given Jewish racism at least A FEW MINUTES’ THOUGHT during their whole lives – if they wish to be taken seriously.

          • N_

            Another person who was NOT Jewish was Karl Marx.

            Only racists (including some who are neo-Nazi) call Marx a Jew. They are racists of the same type as the racist scum among the Tories who insist on pronouncing Michael Portillo’s surname the Spanish way, so as to emphasise his Spanish ancestry and convey that he is Spanish. He is not Spanish. He is English.

        • nevermind

          Don’t worry about being tainted as anti semitic Tatyana, most of the western world has got a lot of engrained anti semitism in their make up and they have form in carrying it out.
          Here in England the jewish progrom started in 1411 in Norwich, were prominent jewish people were burned inside Cowtower, Leeds saw the same progrom some time later.
          The Hugenots and Catholics were targeted killed and harrassed and
          then we have the 1930 with the second great unpleasantness in Germany, with millions of victims being exterminated in gaschambers.
          Today anti semitism is used as a tool to discredit critics of a state that is clearly using the same methods of division and segregation, physical restraints and killing of men, women and children who are Palestinians.

          Glad you got through the national poll, massaging Putin, the peoples Czar, making this pensioner work into his eighties. what was the question on the ballot paper? Something like ‘would you like to extend the reign of Putin the first, who will do an even better job in future, until he is falling of his perch? is removed? or is spilling his vodka? …..

          High finance attracts crooks lies flies to s..t regardless of their race, religion, schooling or upbringing, all over the world.

          • N_

            So there was a first great “unpleasantness” against Jews in England (you mean 1144), and then a “second great unpleasantness” against the Jews in Germany starting in the 1930s…and you are explaining this to a Russian! Indeed you even use the word “pogrom”.

            You might usefully ask “who were the Jews?” in England in 1144 and at other times and places. There was the Chmielnicki business in the Ukraine too, which is used in Israel as a standard reference that is full of absolute bullsh*t, as if 17th century Cossacks [1] were 20th century German Nazis transported back in time, and who are now appearing in today’s Ukraine and Russia, especially the Ukraine, whenever influential forces in those countries oppose the wishes of the Israeli government on something.

            I recommend Israel Shahak’s book “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years”.


            1) “Cossack” is another cultural identity.

          • Tatyana

            🙂 yes, I’m Russian but also I’m a little of cossak, by chance 🙂
            You say “Cossack” is another cultural identity.

            Well, first of all cossacks are another social function in the state. They were free to occupy a piece of land on the treaty with the Queen, and in exchange for the place for living, they had an obligation to protect the borders of this land from neighbors. Other aspects of their lives were not controlled by the state. Free people with military service.

            My paternal ancestors are Cossacks living on the Kuban River and Don River, and on the maternal side – the Voronezh River, them all mostly of Ukrainian origin, that’s why I understand this language, culture, mentality and traditions too.

          • Tatyana

            I feel I need to add, that Ukraine (then called “Little Russia”) was the place of residence of Jews in the Russian Empire. Settlement line, they called it, the allocated place of settlement for that ethnicity.
            So, no surprise that one of my great-great-grandmothers has a Jewish patronym 🙂

          • Fwl

            Interesting T: so Cossacks were marcher lords as we had in Britain running the borders with Wales and with Scotland. Here though on the Welsh border they were cousins of the Conqueror with a free hand to run things as thy wanted and take what they could so long as they kept a border. Over time they also entered into deals and marriages with those on the other side of the border.

          • Tatyana

            I am not familiar with the ‘marcher lords’ concept, so I looked at Wiki. They say about the Nobles and the Lords. No, it’s too far from the Cossacks. Cossacks were more close to peasants in the social hierarchy. Instead of tributing a part of their crops to the state (as common with the peasants), the Cossacks served military service for the state.

            The then Russian state gave the land to the Cossack brigade as compensation for the service, and the Cossack community distributed this land inside of them, in accordance with their own rules. Usually, the communal land was leased, and as for private pieces, it was possible to get a piece of land in hereditary possession after the retirement from the regiment.
            The structure of the Cossack community was military, they called themselves Kuren, that means a bunch of adult male Cossacks who are able to fight together.
            The Head of a Kuren was a man, elected by the majority of the settlers, the person whom they trust both in the battlefield and believe he is wise enough to distribute welth, land and priviliges after the battle.

            When epoques change, many people find their place among such Cossacks – something in between a gang of mercenaries and a group of respected well-settled citizens.

          • Tatyana

            Previously there was a commentor here, who couldn’t pass by the ‘Cossack’ word, without mentioning Pussy Riot and the famous whipping. In the memory of that remarkable person, I think my opinion on those modern Cossacks can be stated here as well.

            Imagine a Historical Reconstruction Club in your country. Imagine adult men start believing they are true Crusaders. Imagine them wearing historical clothing and weapons in the streets. Imagine you see them patrolling public order together with the police, all men in their medieval armor and with swords.
            Probably, you would say that that’s a fucking surreal circus and perhaps the governor went crazy giving them any power. Same thing with me.
            These imitators of Cossacks even try to ride a horse! I get hysteric every time I see it. I can’t help but think that these people are office workers or plumbers in their normal daily life outside the historical club. They must believe a horse is a kind of a bike. Oh My God! I saw it!
            They get very obedient trained nice horses from the nearest hippodrome club, and they walk around those poore animals, trying to figure out how to get on top and make impressive selfie for instagram!

            In a nutshell, modern masquerade Cossacks are Cossacks to the same extent, as Pussy Riot are singers.
            Have good Friday evening!

          • Tatyana

            I thought I’d rather ignore, but I changed my mind.
            you know, Nevermind, the post of president of Russia is one and the only position in the country for which a person must gain a majority in the general popular vote of the entire population of the country.
            From Siberia to the Black Sea, he/she should win the majority of all nationalities and religions, it is necessary to gain the most approval from all who identify themselves as Russian. The main function of the president of Russia is to determine the country’s policy, the rest of the functions go to other branches of government.
            Speaking derogatory about our choice, you humiliate many Russians. Just saying it to keep you informed. Other Russians reading your comment may think, “look who says it, this is a person who never chose the head of his state at all”.
            I do hope to remain your friend after this post.

      • giyane

        Tatyana is anti-corruption. Of course Tories are always offended by anti-corruption opinions . The strongest whiff of corruption emanated from the 100 seat swing to the Tories in the last election which was achieved through Tory infiltration of the electoral system and dodgy software.

        Just think, if democracy had prevailed Cameron, Hague, May and Bono would by now be behind bars for ten years of corruption and boosting executive pay, waging illegal war on behalf of Israel’s neighbours in Syria and Libya and many other crimes including Windrush and Carillion.

        • Tollcross

          Giyane, I agree with every word you’ve written, but you’re missing the point. Any sweeping negative generalisation about Jews is anti-semitic, just as any sweeping negative generalisation about Scots is anti-Scottish. What possible relevance to the crimes that Tatyana described does the ethnicity/religion of the perpetrators have? A crook is a crook whether s/he’s black, white, Arab, Scottish, English, American, Christian, Muslim, Hindu or atheist.

      • Loony

        Yeah – completely irrelevant as you say. No-one in their right mind could detect any kind of pattern. Mikhail Khordorkovsky, Roman Abromovich,, Mikhail Fridman, Boris Berezovsky, Vitaly Malkin, and many others. What could they possibly have in common? Oh I don’t know it is so complicated.

        • Tatyana

          Yeah, and William Browder with Edmond Safra, arriving from Britain to buy russian gas, oil and bank system shares. Seeing the persons and their citizenship you would expect some shadow corruption scheme, and voila, Magnitsky finds it.

          • Nick

            You are not anti semitic at all…I don’t see anything discriminatory in your statement Tatyana.
            One should always follow the money. If one ethnic group works together to perform this rape of a nation’s resources, it should be noted, no matter the ethnicity. When it is a group that has disproportionate power and influence it should be noted. And should never be victim shamed for pointing this out. All this is adding to the disaster that is unfolding in Palestine.

          • Tollcross

            Sorry, Tatyana, but your response to my accusation of anti-semitism doesn’t cut it. If you really want to convince me, please explain what part the ethnicity/religion of these criminals played in their crimes. If you can’t do that, then I have to wonder why you mentioned it at all.

          • Loony

            Absolutely: Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell – ah the complexity.

        • Tollcross

          What they have in common is that they’re unscrupulous, greedy bastards. Does that help?

      • Andrew Ingram

        True, it ought not.
        However if any one ethnic group is over-represented in any facet of criminal enterprise it does ring alarm bells. Vietnamese grow houses, Columbian drug cartels, Iranian terrorists…….

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          Is the mafia an Italian conspiracy? Should we blame all Italians for their activity?

          • Andrew Ingram

            Of course we must not stereotype but as just about every mention of organised crime gangs comes with a national or ethnic descriptor it seems like we’re being invited to.

          • Little+Bat

            The mafia is a form of organised crime which is endemic to Italy and draws upon the established norms of southern Italian culture. This doesn’t implicate all Italians, obviously, but it does indicate a problem associated with Italian ethnicity, and manifest wherever Italian communities settle around the world.

            No one has any problems in pointing this out. They are not a people immune from criticism.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Yes it is relevant, if the majority of the crimes are committed by one nation, one ethnic grouping, one religious grouping.

        I am sick and tired of not being able to call out Jews, blacks, Asians, Muslims, gays, women for their criminality without being called racist, antisemitic, sexist or whatever.

        Racial and sexual equality only exists with equality of responsibility and accountability for criminal actions and socially unacceptable attitudes.

        There is no evidence whatever that pressure groups plugging Jews, blacks, Asians, Muslims, gays and women accept that corollary to equality.

        • Tatyana

          I would put it another way.
          Some groups are united on a national or religious basis, and these groups may commit acts harmful to society. The negative reaction of society should be directed to these groups, but not apply to the whole nation or to the whole religion.
          This is called “distinguish between the general and the particular.” If you transfer your attitude to the whole multitude of people with the same attribute, then you make a logical error “generalization”.

          • Tatyana

            Dear all, thank you for the discussion on a very sensitive topic we had above.

            As my apology for the inconvenience, and also as fun for the Friday night, with just a litle hint on the question of ‘ignorant vs. malicious’ – I offer you a translation of a funny Russian poem.
            If the dear moderator team kindly considers it appropriate to leave it here. (please please please, I did my best trying to translate it correctly)

            Some folks read with their ass. Ass-reading folks they are.
            People are generally good, but sometimes they read with their ass.
            I don’t mind ass-reading, after all, the main sense is ‘reading’.
            It’s possible to read with an ass. Ass-reading has a special function …

            If you type “I eat pelmeny”, it would seem that everything is clear
            I! Eat! Pelmeny! Dixie. As simple as three rubles.
            But people use ass to read this, which means that in these ‘pelmeny’
            An ass would always notice something ‘especially personal.’

            – “Why are you writing this here? Are you bragging that you are silk-stocking?
            People are starving in Africa, so now you should feel ashamed. ”

            – “Stop gorging on pelmeny! There’re Piggies and Bessies inside!
            You are eating cows and pigs, so you’re a female corpse-eater. ”

            – “You’re teasing us with pelmeny, bitch, while we are on a diet,
            Well, we’ll have fit healthy bodies and your husband will soon leave you”

            – “As for me, I buy pelmeny only from Granny Tamara,
            Here’s her website, her FB, and here’s her Instagram. ”

            – “What the hell is this and where is it from? Some woman with a pelmen…
            Why did you come to my feed? Get out of here. ”

            – “I remember in the fifties … those were real pelmeny!
            Is it pelmeny now? We don’t have Stalin today … ”

            – “Pelmeny is not Russian food. Apparently, you are Jewish!
            Well, or a Chinese woman. Maybe even Mordovian, at all. ”

            I! Eat! Pelmeny! Dixie. But people still read with their assholes.
            Generally people are good. But still they do keep ass-reading.

            the russian original is here

        • Tollcross

          No problem, Rhys. All you have to do is call them out – and more power to your elbow – without mentioning or alluding to their religion/ethnicity/gender/sexual orientation. Then your interlocutors can focus on the crime, not the irrelevant factors

        • Brian M

          Funny. You don’t list prosperous white men among this list of criminals. I wonder why not? In the context of world wars, colonial depredations, etc….

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      You have to remember that jews are as honest as any other group whatever the ethnic makeup of the people who profited from the Russian sell off. Other factors would account for the ethnic mix of the profiteers.

      • Tatyana

        Yes, I agree with you. There must be some completely special situation, some especially favorable conditions, which made it possible for a particular ethnic group originating from specifically British citizenship. Perhaps it is that London is a global financial center. Perhaps because the British Parliament is packed with friends of Israel. Perhaps because the world’s most powerful military force openly supports Israel and also has a special relationship with Britain.
        They always move to London, despite of the many terrible inexplicable deaths of ex-Russian rich people there. A conspiracy might explain why Britain never helps Russia in investigating corruption crimes, in investigating the origin of their capital, and why Interpol refuses to detain Browder at Russia’s request (which he openly and brazenly boasts about).

        I believe that you have some problems with racism and anti-Semitism in the West, I detect some kind of strange automatic reaction, that goes beyond logic and common sense – your people are triggered by the word Jew, as if this word is a curse word. The mention of this nationality immediately makes the speaker anti-Semitic.

        As to me, I got immunity to this type of manipulation long ago. When a student, I did an internship as a young beginnier teacher. I was given a class of about 35 children. One of the boys bullied the other guy. When I noticed that and intervened, the bull said that I was finding fault with him because he was non-Russian 🙂 hell, I thought to myself, you were punished because you are just an asshole, and nationality has nothing to do with it.

        • Antonym

          There must be some completely special situation, some especially favorable conditions, which made it possible for a particular ethnic group originating from specifically British citizenship. Perhaps it is that London is a global financial center.
          So part of London (the City) is as guilty as some Jews for financially plundering Russia: wrong to blame al UK citizens or all Israelis/ Americans.
          An anti-UK blog like this is the right place for you Tatiana.
          But don’t forget that other Russians ,British and Americans let this happen. Greed is a universal human problem.

  • Loony

    Wanna see some more corruption?

    Take the UK electricity supply industry as an example. Privatized under the 1989 Electricity Act – at that time a few people were tossed a few coins. Over the last 25 years or so there has been a spate of corporate acquisitions, mergers and dismemberments. Right now large swathes of the distribution network are owned by entities such as JP Morgan (US domicile) and Maquarie (Australia domicile)

    Today OFGEM makes a major announcement to cut bills and increase the “greening” of the energy supply industry. No doubt this is intended to be pleasing to the right on people, and no doubt it is expected that some people will say that it does not go far enough.

    Part of the OFGEM announcement is that firms will be limited to a regulatory rate of return of 3.95%. Naturally they will be required to invest more money. This means that major banks can acquire money for something between 0.1% and 0.25% and invest it on a risk free basis in order to earn 3.95%. Nice work if you can get it, and you mugs are going to pay for it – and a good number of you will be agitating to be robbed at an even greater rate.

    …and then you wonder why wealth inequality is is growing on an exponential basis. It’s always someone else’s fault and never ever the fault of people that are too lazy and too stupid to resist the robbers.

    • Mighty Drunken

      “It’s always someone else’s fault and never ever the fault of people that are too lazy and too stupid to resist the robbers.”

      Well there was that Mr Corbyn who would have renationalised the natural monopolies but the entire media told me he is an ultra far left, communist Marxist, racist anti-Semitic, Russian asset, crap leader, bad in bed, can’t be trusted. enemy of the nation, lover of terrorist.
      Good thing we have that nice Boris.

      • Loony

        With regards to Corbyn the salient phrase from my comment is “…and a good number of you will be agitating to be robbed at an even greater rate.”

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          “With regards to Corbyn the salient phrase from my comment is “…and a good number of you will be agitating to be robbed at an even greater rate.”
          Why so?
          And don’t forget the postal ballot.

    • Ian

      Amazing how you can google a few factoids about the UK, string them together into some kind of evangelical rant, while knowing very little about the country, and then turn up here to berate everybody for not acquiescing in your soapbox speeches about the end of the world. Lol. Same trick every time.

  • Brian+Watson

    The breathtaking chutzpah of this lot knows no bounds . Bungs for the wide boys are par for the course ,We have become desensitized with the frequency of their scams . The UK is being asset stripped at an increasing rate of knots to fill the coffers of the wealthy . Fortunately there are observers like Craig to keep a weather eye open for their shenanigans .

    • N_

      In most of the world, a leading politician or state official appears…and everybody knows he’s a criminal, a thief, a liar, a guy with no moral self-respect, playing a role in a corrupt system. In Britain most think he’s a trustworthy and admirable fellow, assuming he speaks in a posh private-school accent, and even a lot of the time when he doesn’t, so long as he uses the right kind of language. Yes on the surface there is some muttering (especially if he’s got a funny haircut to draw the criticism, or something like that), but deep down there is a sky-high level of deference. And the same applies even quite low down in the hierarchy, to any lying moneygrabbing idiot who’s a manager or “expert” or dentist or vet or whatever. Count how many times a British newspaper nowadays will use the phrase “experts say”. Is there any other country in the world that comes close to that level of assuming utter stupidity in the bulk of the population, among “members of the public” to use a favoured Tory phrase?

      Want a comparison with Russia? Look at the difference in prestige between medics in the two countries. I mean the kind of medics that most people see, not big-b*llocked “VIP” specialist medics. A GP is what? An insurance-backed 200-lie-a-day creep, in many cases a smackhead, doing an unnecessary job who didn’t even to go to university and get a proper academic degree because he was so lazy and above all so f*cking greedy. And people are successfully indoctrinated into hanging on the guy’s every word, begging for his attention, looking up to him, wanting to avoid his disapproval.

      Meanwhile there’s still the Clapping for the Tory Party NHS. Who notices that most of it has been shut for months?

      • ET

        A GP is what? An insurance-backed 200-lie-a-day creep, in many cases a smackhead, doing an unnecessary job who didn’t even to go to university and get a proper academic degree because he was so lazy and above all so f*cking greedy.

        What nonsense.
        A GP in the UK has completed a 5 year primary medical degree, a 2 year foundation programme working in hospitals as a junior doctor, a 4 year post graduate GP training scheme and continues throughout their career to undergo appraisal and re-validation.
        They are well paid and it was a mistake to allow GPs to withdraw from out of hours cover but they work hard. 10 minute patient consultation slots mandated by NHS. More and more responsibility thrust upon them to take over care which was formerly undertaken by specialist hospital units. There is a reason why GPs are leaving the profession in large numbers.

        You clearly have had a bad experience with the medical profession. If you don’t like one doctor, insist on seeing another. The vast majority of medics in the NHS are dedicated and want to do their best for their patients. The vast majority of medics don’t practice privately. Some do, and like and broad group of working people there will be some who are lazy and/or greedy. However, what you have said above is simply wrong.

        ps. I am not a GP

    • N_

      As if the parliamentary Labour Party and in particular Keir Starmer couldn’t have kicked up a fuss about the suitability of those characters for ISC membership. Indeed before he even nominates any member of either House for membership, the prime minister is statutorily obliged to “consult” the “leader of the opposition”. (Justice and Security Act 2013.) So if Labour didn’t want Grayling as the chair they could have said they didn’t want him as a member in the first place. Nobody’s going to be writing about THAT in the Guardian unless they get told to, which in this case they won’t.

      In practice it may well be a case of MI6, MI5 and GCHQ appoint three members each, and the rest is all drinks, some old crap that has to be written down on paper, and play-acting.

  • Piotr+Berman

    One negative aspect of this “banana republic” cronyism is the impact on “actual banana republics”. A country like UK still has some modicum of free press and some level of expectations from the voters that keep the drastic excesses in check. Over time the expectations and the notion of what is excess evolves in a bad direction. But consider countries saturated by “helpful experts”, like Ukraine, Afghanistan or a typical country at home. Those experts are acutely aware of schemes in their home countries, and when they advise about the rule of law, clean government etc. they can also consult how “private sector” can profit from government outsourcing etc. Supervisory advisors allow complete looting of the country while taking their cuts and paying attention that folks disliked by the West (if such exist in a country) do not get their share and if possible, are duly punished. But friends of the West who give some plum positions to proper Westerners, contribute to Atlantic Council and similar vampiric “charities” may sleep without worries.

    • N_

      There aren’t many countries in the world where the local elites aren’t mostly compradore. Venezuela got whacked to shit, and North Korea would have been if it didn’t have nuclear weapons and the conventional ability to obliterate Seoul.

  • Crispa

    Well all these latest comments just show how weak the current Labour Party is in its failure to even question the government on these issues.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      “Well all these latest comments just show how weak the current Labour Party is in its failure to even question the government on these issues.”
      Its called controlled oposition. Lenin advocated conspiring to run the opposition yourself as the best way to control it. Maybe all succesfull states have done this.

  • N_

    How much of this “PPE” will be bits of pleated tissue paper with two elastic loops fastened on?
    The production cost for those is probably about £1 for 1000.

    • N_

      So a mere 100% markup would yield one a day for every employee in the NHS for more than 200 years, or for every man, woman, and child in the whole of Britain for the next 5 years.

      Nice contract if you can get it.

      Meanwhile Chris “I sign off contracts to ferry companies with no ferries” Grayling looks set to be chair of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. No flies on him!

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “Meanwhile Chris “I sign off contracts to ferry companies with no ferries” Grayling looks set to be chair of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. No flies on him!”
        He’ll be keeping an eye out for people who don’t want to march on Moscow.

    • Laguerre

      The selling price in France for a disposable mask before COVID was 8 euro centimes a mask. That’s not quite £1 for a 1000, more like 2-3 centimes a mask production cost.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      They probably want to buy something from Gilead Sciences or Bill Gates, instead.

      The UK is one of the biggest subsidisers of vaccine company profits, underpinning all adverse reaction payments and freeing the pharmas to make huge risk-free profits.

      I would be amazed if they do not find some way to mug us on this one.

      • Pyewacket

        Rhys, regarding the matter of adverse reaction payments. From what I recall, when scanning through the details in the undebated, and unchallenged Coronavirus (Emergency Powers) Act 2020…there is specific mention with respect to providing indemnity against treatment that goes wrong. So it looks like they’ve headed that one away early.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      The UK previously opted out of a EU joint buying programme for PPE, respirators, etc. Joint buying makes sense because countries don’t have to bid against each other and artificially drive up prices. You can also get a better price with larger orders.

      Obviously the UK government prefers to spend more but give the orders to “friends”.

  • Ian

    Self-appointed epidemiologist tells us coronavirus ‘isn’t a virus’, demonstrates no understanding of excess death stats, and advises us to go full scale conspiracy survivalist mode. You couldn’t make it up. What first attracted you to Craig, who doesn’t really deserve such tomfoolery?

    • Mary

      What a stench. How and when can we rid ourselves of these criminals?

      ‘The Cabinet Office has awarded an £840,000 contract for researching public opinion about government policies to a company owned by two long-term associates of Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings, without putting the work out for tender.

      Public First, a small policy and research company in London’s Tufton Street, is run by James Frayne – whose work alongside Cummings dates back to a Eurosceptic campaign 20 years ago – and Rachel Wolf, a former advisor to Gove who co-wrote the Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto.

      The government justified the absence of a competitive tendering process, which would have enabled other companies to bid, under emergency regulations that allow services to be urgently commissioned in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

      However the Cabinet Office’s public record states that portions of the work, which involved conducting focus groups, related to Brexit rather than COVID-19, a joint investigation by openDemocracy and the Guardian has established.

      A Cabinet Office spokesman said that this was due to bookkeeping methods, insisting that all the focus group research done by Public First was in fact related to the coronavirus crisis.

      The Cabinet Office, where Gove is the minister responsible, initially commissioned Public First to carry out focus groups from 3 March, although no contract at all was put in place until 5 June.’

      And there is no political opposition to what is going on. Joe and Josephine Public don’t turn a hair. What has happened to this country? What would our parents, who fought against fascism, say?

  • giyane

    The only difference I can see between the wikipedia definition of a banana republic and the UK is that we are unable to grow bananas. Thankfully forces beyond Tory control have reined back their lust for profit that up to now have been driving up temperatures here to the point where we could grow bananas. Gove says you don’t have to have bananas to be an offshore tax haven for the obscenely rich, but there is a genetically modified banana being trialled here in 10 Downing Street which grows in snake-oil using autoponzics. Since we are losing half a county’s land area every five years to motorways warehouses and building development , this new source of home-grown wealth is going to become very important.

    • nevermind

      Mark S. said when asked why he had resigned’ i have not resigned, i agreed to step down’.

      Before he got fired by Cummings commands?

  • Jack MArthur

    In a perceived emergency shortcuts are understandable but in this instance it would have involved companies with real expertise in manufacturing, sourcing and quality assurance being selected. At face value this outfit would not have been given any consideration at all. It could be just spectacular incompetence.

    A hundred years ago the Marconi wireless scandal was on the go but today I strongly suspect the Huawei wireless deal l far dwarfs that in potential controversy. Its simply not possible to give such a system a security guarantee if its heavily based on firmware/software because rogue code can be masked. It seems beyond belief that the politicians involved in this deal were not clearly told this. What possessed them to overrule such advice?

    • Laguerre

      You’re missing the point about Huawei, JM. It’s not that Huawei can and probably does put in back-doors into 5G equipment. The US is complaining because it is not the US doing it, and they have no control over those back-doors. The US has back-doors into everything they’ve supplied, and they’re ready to use them. Notably Trident, which probably can’t be fired without US approval, and may be firable without British approval. What choice does Britain have? Unless Britain makes its own equipment, and that train has long since left the station.

  • Laguerre

    The other case where something strange seems to be occurring is that of the OneWeb so-called GPS system. The UK government has invested multi-millions in the OneWeb system, a US company which has an office in London. The OneWeb network of satellites is basically intended to supply internet access, but they have promised to add GPS capability.

    The OneWeb satellites circulate at an altitude of 1200 km in the place of 20,000 km usual for GPS satellites. Much criticised by experts. I am not an IT person, but I do have experience of land survey. I would have thought that even if the system works, the readings will be unstable, not with the accuracy of usual GPS locations.

    I asked myself: is this the usual British government being cheap, as they’ve always been? Or is it passing a contract to another Tory buddy, never mind whether it works or not? It certainly won’t work as projected.

    • Mary

      Wiki says headquartered in London. They went bust in March.

      Now ‘On 3 July 2020, a consortium led by the UK national government and Bharti Global** won the auction to purchase the bankrupt company, with each of the two parties expected to invest US$500 million for a combined investment of US$1 billion.[13][5][14][15]

      ** ‘Bharti Enterprises Limited, is an Indian multinational Conglomerate Company headquartered in New Delhi, India. It was founded in 1976 by Sunil Bharti Mittal and currently operates in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. Bharti Enterprises owns businesses spanning across manufacturing, telecommunications, agribusiness, financial services, real estate, hospitality, agri and food. Bharti has been a pioneering force in the Indian telecom sector with many firsts and innovations to its credit. Bharti Airtel, the group’s flagship company, is a leading global telecom company with operations in more than 18 countries across Asia, North America, Africa & Europe. The Company ranks amongst the top three mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.’

      So another half a billion squid leaves the coffers. How do ‘they’ do this?

      • Laguerre

        “Wiki says headquartered in London.”

        Yes, I knew about that, but didn’t bother mentioning it as very recent, no doubt in response to getting the contract!

  • Anonymous

    This is sort of Banana Republic related and Craig gets a mention:

    “These emails revealed that corrupt cops Peter Strzok and Jonathan Moffa were copied in an email regarding a report from Daily Mail where ex-Brit Craig Murray claimed he traveled to Washington DC and obtained Clinton emails in an exchange in a wooded area near American University. “

    • Pyewacket

      SA…I have seen Bananas growing here in Blackburn, Lancs, within the Summer House at Corporation Park. Admittedly, they were tiny in comparison to the commercial varieties we are accustomed to. But they were Bananas.

  • Ross

    Seems this blatant fraud is going to pass by without any meaningful MSM scrutiny. Quite unbelievable what is happening in this country.

  • Chris Barclay

    Why the assumption that the root of this corruption is a rotten government, when it could equally be a rotten civil service? Ah yes, you were a civil servant.

  • Coldish

    N_ (10 July, 05.18) asks: “What I would like to know is whether there have been any excess deaths above the band for the last five years among those aged under 60 without pre-existing major illnesses. In Britain I suspect the answer is “no”.”
    You can get a partial answer from the data displayed at
    The first set of interactive graphs shows ‘Pooled number of deaths by age group’ in most of Western Europe (but excluding most of Germany) for each week since January 2016. There is a clear peak centred on April 2020, extending from March to May, for the age groups 15 to 44 years and 45 to 64 years as well as for older age groups. No data are provided on the cause of death, whether accidental, Covid-19 or any other single or multiple causes.
    Further down the page data on excess deaths from all causes for each week since January 2015 are provided country by country, but not divided by age group. These data are presented in the form of the number of standard deviations from the pattern established over the whole 5 year period. Some countries show no obvious peak in spring 2020, but each of the 4 members of the UK has a distinct peak centred on April 2020 which exceeds any seasonal peak in the previous years.
    One cannot avoid the conclusion that in the spring of 2020 the UK and a number of other western European countries experienced a major epidemic which resulted in fatalities markedly exceeding any comparable period during the past 4 or 5 years, and that this excess was experienced by adults in the age groups 15 to 44 and 45 to 64 as well as by older groups.

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