Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

SA – Your absolutely right, it certainly gives the impression that the PM spectacularly breached Sir Keir’s confidentiality, both in the House of Commons and on TV! Tweeting a cheeky ‘Moonshot’ of your bare bum to grab the PM’s attention, is that Obscene? No; it is a well deserved insult! What is truly obscene is the conduct of this Tory Government. ‘Obscene’ is the relentless squandering of public funds as Government scraps a £12m contact-tracing app after finding it doesn’t work on iPhones. Obscene is shutting down Public Health England in the middle of a Pandemic to scapegoat Government failures with no appropriate replacement planned. Obscene is paying McKinsey £563,400 for 6 weeks work to decide the “vision, purpose and narrative” of a new Public Health Authority in England so that the Tories can paper over the failure cracks! Obscene is paying an incompetent Oxford chum, serial loser Dido ‘Tallyho’ Harding, to head up a vital NHS program despite her zero experience in Healthcare! Obscene is the plan to squander £100bn in Covid funding on expanding testing to 10 million a day; the ambitious, ‘Operation Moonshot programme,’ using Tech that has yet to be invented!

But that is just the tip of the Tory Government corruption and plundering iceberg! Under Covid 19 ‘Emergency Act” powers the Tory Government have become incredibly brazen about squandering funds, handed out to grossly inappropriate favoured companies, ignoring massive conflicts of interest, awarded without tendered any of the contracts. This represents an obscene abuse of power that has been getting steadily worse under Johnson, but ultimately Tory Government policy is now controlled by the eugenicist ‘Herd Nerd’ Dominic Cummings. According to the Financial Times, “UK government paid £1.7bn to private groups for coronavirus contracts.” This wanton splurge of state funds isn’t from the Labour Left, so often described as economically reckless; no, it comes from the Tories, who forced us to endure swinging cuts during a decade of ideologically driven austerity. At their ‘virtual’ Labour Conference, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds, spoke harshly of the Tory Party’s, “caviller approach to public spending.”

In a Byline Times Article, “Firm That Gave £400,000 to Conservatives Wins £93.8 Million Government PPE Deal,” they outline elements of this Government plundering. Sam Bright reports, “Another company with links to the Conservative Party has been awarded a massive PPE procurement contract. A company that has donated more than £400,000 to the Conservative Party since 2016 has received a £93.8 million Government contract for the supply of respirator face masks.” They reveal that, “Government documents show that Globus (Shetland) Limited won a contract, to be carried out between July 2020 and September 2021, for the supply of FFP3 respirators. This same company has donated hundreds of thousands to the Conservative Party in recent years, including £150,000 in 2019. The value of this contract is equivalent to the total revenue of Globus (Shetland) over the past two years. In 2019, the company turned over £50 million, following £45.8 million turnover in 2018.”

Byline Times report that, “The contract was awarded without going to competitive tender. For its part, the company does appear to specialise in the manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE), boasting on its website that it has 25 years’ experience in supplying ‘industry and healthcare’. This includes experience in manufacturing respirators. However, the firm also has a history of political financing, having made a series of donations to the Conservative Party since 2016. The size of these gifts increased significantly in 2019, up from £52,500 the previous year. Of course, the decision to award contracts rests with the Government, and several appear to have been handed to Conservative Party insiders. In total, it has been estimated that £180 million worth of PPE contracts have been awarded to individuals with links to the Conservatives, including £120 million awarded to a firm run by a Tory councillor. Globus (Shetland) Limited has been approached for comment.”

This is hardly an isolated incident of inexcusable arrogance and abuse of the Covid 19’Emergency Act’ powers; a veritable ‘blank check’ approach toward rewarding donors for Tory Party support. Byline Times ask, “Where Has The Money Gone?” They say, “The Government has spent well over £5 billion on private sector PPE procurement contracts during the Coronavirus pandemic – desperately trying to plug a shortfall of equipment. However, there is growing concern about the way the Government has managed this spending: awarding contracts without competition, releasing scant details of the deals months after their completion, and failing to properly explain the due diligence procedures they undertook. As a consequence, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced pressure from parliamentarians to shed light on this huge Government spending splurge. At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) last week, Rushanara Ali raised this subject directly with Johnson, who invited the Labour MP to explain her concerns in writing.”

“Presenting several questionable contracts, including two revealed by Byline Times, Ali asked the Prime Minister to explain why normal procurement practices have been abandoned by his Government, and why the whole process of PPE procurement has been shrouded in secrecy. ‘We all understand the need for speed and scale of the emergency,’ Ali wrote, ‘but this does not mean the normal conventions of procurement should be ignored completely, and especially when such large sums of taxpayers’ money are involved.’ The Government’s approach has been to withhold detailed information about its PPE deals, while questions continue to be raised about the suitability of some suppliers. For example, as revealed by Byline Times earlier this week, in June the Government granted a £122 million contract for the supply of face masks to a company that had only been in existence for 44 days.” This should have been a priority PMQ attack levelled by the Labour Leader in a ‘forensic’ demand for factual information.

Byline Times report that, “A similar situation also occurred in March, when the Government concluded a £43.8 million contract with a firm that had been listed as dormant on Companies House just a week earlier. For a party that has been historically and fervently opposed to wasteful public spending, it is now deeply ironic that the Conservatives are shelling out billions in taxpayer cash without proper scrutiny or competition.” They say, “Crisis or not, the public deserves to know how its money has been spent.” This has been an ongoing problem of gratuitous spending that has been called out time after time, but despite the outrage, Tories continue to exploit this national crisis to channel huge sums of Government money into dodgy deals with private companies. I believe I have highlighted this 11 July Canary article on questionable contracts before, but it’s well worth revisiting for another look at what was spent where in the procurement process. It shows that the Tories are just getting a lot bolder in their efforts to trouser more funds.

In this Canary Article entitled, “The £5.5bn PPE scandal that goes to the core of government incompetence – and that’s just for starters,” they reveal more spending aberrations. They say, “A multi-million pound personal protective equipment (PPE) contract awarded by the UK government to a family-run investments firm has set off alarm bells. Recipients for similar contracts include a recruitment agency, a sweets manufacturer, and a business that specialises in pest control products. A Labour MP has raised questions about one of these contracts.” They say, “Litigation against the government has commenced. Meanwhile, The Canary has conducted its own investigation into these matters… what has been highlighted so far may well be just the tip of the iceberg.” They include a laundry list of obscene Government spending whisked through rapidly without tendering or necessary scrutiny in a way that represents a massive waste of state funds and inappropriate rewarding of favoured Tory supporting entities.

The Canary report that, “Ayanda Capital Ltd (ACL), an investments firm that specialises in ‘currency trading, offshore property, and private equity and trade financing’, was awarded a contract by the UK government worth £252.5m to supply face masks. Yet their ‘business lines’ suggest no history that this ‘London-based family office’ produces or provides PPE. Although in its very prominent policy statement on modern slavery Ayanda does refers to supplies, but only in a general sense. Ayanda is run by former Kleinwort Benson director Tim Horlick. It’s owned by the Horlick family via Milo Investments, a holding company registered in Mauritius. Ayanda senior board adviser Andrew Mills is also an adviser to the government’s board of trade (which is chaired by international trade secretary Liz Truss).” The article exposes an entire network of wealthy elite individuals that all interconnect with potential conflict of interest accusations regarding their links to Tory Party funding.

The article continues to uncover these links saying, “Horlick’s brother Richard is the non-executive director of BH Macro Ltd, an investment company registered in Guernsey. He’s also director of CCLA Fund Managers Ltd and chairman of CCLA Investment Management. CCLA Investment Management is under significant control by the CBF Church of England Investment Fund and the COIF Charities Investment Fund. As with many funds suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the CBF Church of England Investment Fund lost considerable ground in March 2020 but made a quick recovery in April. It was a similar story for the COIF Charities Investment Fund. inews raised the matter of the Ayanda contract with the government, but: When asked if the Department was aware when it awarded the contract that ACL’s ultimate holding company is based in a tax haven and of Mr Mills’s role with the Board of Trade, a spokesperson said it does not comment on individual company business operations.”

But the Canary exclaim, there’s more as they go on to reveal the most incongruous examples among the PPE contracts awarded. “The government awarded PPE contracts to a number of firms that also appeared to have no history of sourcing or providing PPE that’s suitable for the NHS. For example:
• Aventis Solutions, which was awarded an £18.5m contract to supply face masks. Aventis is an employment agency.
• Clandeboye Agencies Limited specialises in nut and coffee products, chocolate, and confectionary. It’s based in the north of Ireland and was awarded a £108m contract to provide PPE. It also trades as Crunchcraving. The Good Law Project and EveryDoctor are seeking a judicial review in regard to the contract.
• A £108m contract was also awarded to Crisp Websites Limited, trading as PestFix, a firm that specialises in pest control. The Good Law Project is suing the government regarding this contract and is seeking a judicial review. In an update, the government clarified that the PestFix award is actually £32m and covers isolation suits, though there are ‘a number of further contracts”.”

After stating that “the firms quoted above are only the tip of the iceberg,” the Canary reveal their alarming list, showing the details of state funding spent, “as of 8 July, of all single-bidder contracts awarded by the UK government, with costs totalling just under £1bn.” Will justice be served and money recouped in a Judicial Revue over misappropriation of funds? We certainly must demand accountability, which is probably why the Tories are so eager to curtail Judicial Review! In a “Shocking £5.5 billion admission,” they say, “With regard to a possible legal challenge by the Good Law Project (GLP) and Every Doctor Ltd (EDL) to how the contract to PestFix was awarded, the government’s legal department stated: [PestFix] did not hold itself out as a manufacturer, but rather as an agent with the ability to source PPE stocks from producers in the Republic of China, where it had good contacts. It offered a range of products in substantial quantities, including isolation suits which could be available in as little as seven days.”

The Canary report, “The government’s Legal Department also took the opportunity to provide a detailed rebuttal of the criticisms levied against the PPE procurement programme: Rather than focusing on the identity of the potential supplier, the validity of the offer was the key focus, thereby allowing smaller suppliers with strong contacts in PPE supply to offer the support the Government urgently needed. Equally, past experience in PPE supply was not considered a prerequisite, as other businesses (of whatever size) might also be able to leverage their manufacturing contacts to engage with foreign enterprises converting existing facilities to PPE production. While it was of course possible for DHSC to continue liaising with existing large-scale suppliers during this period (and indeed it did so, through NHS Supply Chain), the nature of the changed market conditions required the development of alternative sources of supply and it was appropriate not to impose unnecessary hurdles in the way of securing that objectives.”

In a continuing attempt to justify their obscene expenditures the Canary say the Government added that, “…over 600 contracts for PPE have now been concluded with almost 200 different suppliers; these range in value from under £1 million to over £100 million, amounting to some £5.5 billion in total. Full details of all these awards will be published in due course. What makes this admission of £5.5bn shocking is that it dramatically shows the extent of the government’s lack of long-term planning.” They report that, “in a written question to health secretary Matt Hancock, Labour MP Justin Madders has requested that further details of the PPE supplies arrangement with Ayanda be published. More generally, he commented: The Government’s response throughout the coronavirus crisis has been to hand more and more contracts to companies with no expertise or a poor record of delivery.” This travesty occurred at a time when the Government repeatedly rejected and ignored experienced, reliable UK PPE manufacturers.

Madders told the Canary, “From PPE to the test, trace and isolate system there have been a series of glaring failures from private companies who are found wanting on performance and value for money.” He also expressed concern over, “the very serious matter as to whether PPE is being manufactured under conditions of modern slavery. A Channel 4 News investigation revealed the shocking conditions in which migrant workers making PPE items in Malaysia were forced to work. They were employed by Top Glove, which has over 40 factories worldwide and supplies the NHS via Polyco Healthline. Similar allegations were made against Supermax, the European arm of another Malaysian firm.” This type of abuse flies under the radar when there is poor oversight of private companies, who are not themselves reputable manufacturers, but instead primarily focused on maximizing profits on cheap procurement deals during a time of crisis while dedicated Healthcare staff are risking their lives on the front line.

The Canary claims that the real scandal was our diminished emergency stockpile and slow response. They say, “As regarding PPE preparedness, Labour MP and chair of the Public Accounts Committee Meg Hiller commented: What has emerged…is a shocking gap in the UK’s planning in this emergency. We saw all of this coming, for months and in fact years. We could have planned for emergency procurement too — in reality there should have been no need to resort to rushed awards of potentially dodgy contracts. It’s not good enough to say, as seems to be the official line now, that the future will judge. The pandemic is still active now, and we’re at risk of a second wave. Indeed, the real scandal is about not only how PPE contracts were awarded. It’s about the tens of thousands of lives that might have been saved had the proper equipment been available in the first place. These include the thousands of patients sent back to care homes where there was little or no PPE. Sadly, it’s a tragedy that’s still unfolding.”

So when we talk about obscene we need to keep things in perspective. Compared to this Tory Governments continued reckless squandering of public money I consider a few raunchy bare bums to provide Johnson with a realistically attainable ‘moonshot:’ still, I doubt it will bring him down to earth. The extent of the scandalous misuse of funds is so vast that there must be people out with crucial information that needs passing on to fully expose this corruption. Due to the overwhelming level of pro Tory propaganda in the Media and spewed out by the compliant BBC people who might have compromising information do not feel empowered enough to come forward, just as those with evidence re stole postal votes in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election probably don’t feel they will be believed if they try to expose the truth. Are there any potential Whistleblowers out there? We need to forge a new narrative to create a positive environment where they will gain the courage to come forward with testimony for a full Investigation into the result. DO NOT MOVE ON!