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We cannot continue ignoring the rule of law and allowing this rogue Tory Government to run roughshod over centuries of cordial and diplomatic convention. They have reinvented UK law in an undemocratic and authoritarian way creating severe hardship for many UK citizens. In the Byline Times Article entitled, “Boris Johnson Politicised the Ministerial Code in 2019 Now, Anything Goes,” Leighton Andrews explains why “the lack of action over the Home Secretary’s bullying was set up in advance through the Government’s ideological fixation on Brexit and assault on the rule of law. The foreword to the Ministerial Code written by Boris Johnson in August 2019 gives the full context of why the Home Secretary Priti Patel was allowed to stay in the Cabinet. Its opening sentence reads: The mission of this Government is to deliver Brexit on 31st October for the purpose of uniting and re-energising our whole United Kingdom and making this country the greatest place on earth.”
Andrews explains how, “The Government may have failed its 31 October mission, but the Brexit context is everything. Later on, the Prime Minister’s Foreword states: Crucially, there must be no delay – and no misuse of process or procedure by any individual Minister that would seek to stall the collective decisions necessary to deliver Brexit and secure the wider changes needed across our United Kingdom. This is the Ministerial Code used as a weapon in the culture war. Everything, including standards in government, is seen through the Brexit lens. Brexiteers like Patel are safe. The mission to deliver Brexit overrides what we had come to understand were the acceptable standards of public life. Awkwardly, the Prime Minister’s Foreword also states: There must be no bullying and no harassment; no leaking; no breach of collective responsibility. No misuse of taxpayer money and no actual or perceived conflicts of interest.”
Andrews points out that, “Bullying, leaking, misuse of taxpayers’ money: well, all those have been evident. The Prime Minister has contradicted his independent advisor on the bullying issue; two of the alleged chief leakers have departed; the National Audit Office has produced a scathing report on the separate high-priority channel for friends of MPs and Ministers to win Covid procurement contracts at a high cost to the taxpayer. But no matter, if you’re a Brexiter. The PM will get his mates to form a square around you – a much better defence than the ‘protective ring’ Matt Hancock claimed had been thrown around care homes.” These facts are sickening but true.
Andrews describes, “The Assault on the Rule of Law,” how, “Boris Johnson has never believed that the rules apply to him. He is the first Prime Minister to have been censured by both the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for breaking the rules. In his first few weeks, he sought a prorogation of Parliament subsequently judged illegal by the Supreme Court. His Internal Market Bill breaks international law ‘in a limited and specific way’. Johnson’s rule-breaking is a policy, not an accident. In a system where so many of the rules rest on unwritten consensus on norms and behaviours, Johnson tests what he can get away with. And his adherents want more. The think-tank Policy Exchange, some of whose authors have been keen to stress their role in writing last year’s Conservative manifesto, has been developing proposals for a radical constitutional re-ordering.”
Andrews also outlines what he refers to as, “The propose re-branding the Supreme Court as an Upper Court of Appeal, essentially nullifying its role as a constitutional court, strengthening ministerial oversight of judicial appointments and limiting judicial review, the re-establishment of Parliamentary sovereignty but with the executive’s powers reinforced, limits on the Human Rights Act and on the application of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the politicization of public appointments, something the Commissioner on Public Appointments, the respected former political editor Peter Riddell, has warned about. The Queen’s Speech announced a Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights commission whose members, says Policy Exchange, must be ‘united by a shared appreciation of the UK’s traditional constitution’. Since we are not yet a hundred years form the establishment of the Irish Free State, it’s not entirely clear what that ‘traditional constitution’ might mean.”
Andrews cynically points out that, “this is an agenda based on the notion of ‘the will of the people’, enshrined in the Ministerial Code as the mission to deliver Brexit.” While this agenda might sound democratic, “If Johnson gets his way, we can expect it to be implemented ruthlessly, just as the majoritarian vote in the referendum was used ruthlessly to remove a variety of citizenship rights from UK citizens, and as ruthlessly as dissident long-standing Conservatives were thrown overboard for their summer rebellion last year.” Andrews talks of an “Office of Government Ethics.” He says, “We’ve had twenty-five years since Lord Nolan’s report on public standards was adopted. The Nolan rules depended on a shared political consensus about the norms which underpin standards in public life and a media that endorsed those standards and ways of operating and refused to downplay breaches of norms simply because the politician affected shared their views on a particular issue.”
Andrews asserts that, “In the UK today, attitudes to Brexit determine attitudes to political norms, and the Ministerial Code is simply a weapon in the culture war. The Nolan rules, in the jargon of today, need a reset, and they need statutory underpinning. We need an Office of Government Ethics, properly resourced, staffed and empowered, accountable to Parliament not Government, in place of the advisory bodies and rules which have been ignored or shredded by the Prime Minister. But don’t hold your breath.” Byline Times say of the author, “Leighton Andrews is Professor of Public Leadership at Cardiff Business School and a former Welsh Government minister.”
Ignoring the Ministerial code to rescue Priti Patel from the embarrassment of being forced out of yet another Ministerial brief that she should obviously never have been trusted with in the first place, is the new normal for this zero accountability corrupt Tory Government under Boris Johnson. When his Chief Adviser Dominic Cummings blatantly ignored and disobeyed the lockdown restrictions earlier in the year Johnson refused to fire him, constructing a unique opt-out to justify the Herd Nerd’s selfish, arrogant behaviour. Because the Labour Opposition has been reduced to a pathetic Tory enablement Party the Captain of Capitulation, Keir Starmer, failed to demand the vital resignation so Cummings stayed in place. Each time Johnson takes a more outrageous stand on behalf of his disreputable team and gets away with it, he is emboldened to bend the rules even further. Labour need to remove the worthless Tory Trojan horse whose feeble excuse for leadership is destroying the progressive Left0wing of the Party.
However, even Cummings’s highly demonstrative ‘exit with box’ doesn’t convince me that the Dom has been critically excised from his powerful position in control of this alt-right Tory Government. Captured on front pages and in annoyingly repetitive televised reruns of him striding off into the night carrying a seemingly weightless cardboard box, were staged to grab our attention. This was amateur dramatics at its most corny, probably mutually agreed between the two men as the next strategy move to fool the British public into believing there would be a ‘reset.’ It would detract from the impending Brexit disaster and give the EU team the false impression the negotiation might change, when all that was really intended was a postponement of the pre-planned inevitable crash-out without a deal with the EU demonized for sticking to their reasonable demands. The Brexit disaster is about to blow wide open plus the shocking corruption and exploitation of the Covid crisis is being exposed; Johnson is desperate for distractions!
It was good timing for Cummings to go underground, ostensibly to tie up a few loose ends working from home, but he is way too quiet to have actually left. The Canary Article entitled “Government blocked paper questioning accuracy of Cummings’ Coronavirus project, show leaked emails” exposes the corrupt antics of this out of control Tory miscreant. They say “An article in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) claims that leaked emails show the health department blocked a paper about a study that raised questions concerning the accuracy of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) antibody test kit. The kit – known as AbC-19 – comes under the ‘Operation Moonshot’ umbrella. In September, UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced a new project, Operation Moonshot, which he explained would use testing so as to: identify people who are negative – who don’t have coronavirus and who are not infectious – so we can allow them to behave in a more normal way, in the knowledge they cannot infect anyone else with the virus.”
Keeping the brolly up no one was going to rain on Johnson’s parade.
The Canary report on a “blocked publication” saying that, “On 11 November, a paper was published in the BMJ regarding a study ‘funded and implemented by Public Health England, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Portfolio. The paper’s authors were affiliated with Public Health England (PHE) and the universities of Bristol, Warwick, and Cambridge. The study examined the accuracy of the rapid antibody testing programme for 4,842 key workers. The paper concluded that based on the assumption that 10% of the tested population have had the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) infection, ‘around one in five key workers testing positive with AbC-19 would be false positives.; It added: If the AbC-19 test were to be used for mass population screening in a relatively low prevalence setting, we would anticipate a large number of false positive results (for example, 18 900 for every 1 million tests carried out).”
However, the Canary say that, “it’s been reported by Stephen Armstrong, another BMJ journalist, that publication of the preprint of the paper, which is yet to be peer reviewed, was blocked by the government. Also, the BMJ has seen emails, dating back to September, that show ‘officials at the [Department of Health and Social Care] knew about the disappointing results of the PHE study before the announcement [of purchasing one million AbC-19 tests]’. One of the emails, from the Department of Health, stated that all key figures in government – meaning ministers, special advisers, and 10 Downing Street – were ‘aligned’ in blocking the publication.” We should ask why? It is so obvious with huge sums of public money being squandered. They say, “In a November 17 article in the BMJ, journalist Gareth Iacobucci referred to a ‘major expansion’ of Operation Moonshot’s mass testing programme, utilising lateral flow tests. He added how these ‘rapid diagnostic tests’ are designed to provide results in 10-30 minutes.”
But the Canary reveal, “Iacobucci also reported that Jon Deeks, professor of biostatistics at Birmingham University, commented how: The poor detection rate of the [lateral flow] test makes it entirely unsuitable for the government’s claim that it will allow the safe ‘test and release’ of people from lockdown and students from university. When queried if the test meant it would be safe for people to visit their families over Christmas, Deeks told iNews: ‘We would end up with 400,000 people in the country getting false positive results. So their Christmas would then be in lockdown wrongly’. Clinical scientist Dipender Gill and clinical immunologist Mark J Ponsfield even referred to possible ‘societal harm’ arising from the tests: The risk of false positives is particularly concerning. If antibody responses are used as an indicator of immunity, for example, test results may influence both individual and government decisions about permissible risk of exposure, and false positives may therefore do considerable societal harm.”
The Canary report that, “In another BMJ article Bing Jones, former associate specialist in haematology, Sheffield; Jack Czauderna, former GP Sheffield; and Paul Redgrave, former director of public health, Sheffield, described the government’s Test and Trace programme as a ‘lethal mistake’. They suggest that ‘the media and our profession appear complicit in allowing systematic misinformation, egregious miscalculation, delay, and diversion of public funds, to benefit private companies’.” It is not like the public are unaware of this exploitation and misuse of public funds, but every step of the way the Tories get away with their continued corruption. They add: “The national Test and Trace is a disaster. Its design means that it cannot possibly contain outbreaks of covid-19. It is obsessed with testing at the expense of all the other necessary links in the chain of actions needed to control outbreaks. It fails to detect asymptomatic people and those who are unwilling or unable to be tested and it ignores false negatives.”
Reiterating the major change of policy being strongly demanded by experts and local authorities all over the UK, the Canary say that, “Instead, they advocate that: The privatised national Test and Trace system must be brought back under the control of the NHS and local public health experts with support from general practice as outlined by Independent Sage. Assessment of patients prior to and after testing by professionals, must be put in place. Primary care is best placed to provide this. Describing what they call “The Cummings effect” they say that, “The leaked emails show that PHE first raised with the government the problem of inaccuracies regarding antibody testing in September. But the government blocked the paper that reported on the PHE-led study.”
The Canary reveal that, “The following month, the government announced that a £75m contract for one million antibody tests had been awarded to Abingdon Health. A further £10m was awarded to Abingdon Health for ‘components and materials’ in regard to Covid-19 ‘lateral flow’ tests. A judicial review of the Abingdon Health awards has now been requested by the Good Law Project (GLP). GLP has also commenced judicial review proceedings against Operation Moonshot, which will be overseen by Dominic Cummings while working from his home.” As I said was never fooled by that very public exit from the front door of Number 10, Cummings storming out with his cardboard box to signal a departure and drastic change of pace for the PM. This was all ‘made for TV’ theatrics with the real agenda to doggedly carry on as before with the Dom not quite as prominent as before, but still pulling all the strings. The exposure of this corruption should signal the final dismantling of the Dom’s power, but will it?
On a more expansive Tory exploitation of the Covid crisis and generalized Conservative corruption front, it’ has been reported by the Canary that, “another legal challenge has been launched, claiming that ‘prime minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock acted ‘unlawfully’ when appointing key figures to top posts during the coronavirus crisis’. The figures referred to are: ‘test and trace boss and Tory peer Baroness Dido Harding; Kate Bingham, head of the UK’s vaccine taskforce; and Mike Coupe, director of NHS Test and Trace’.” What is more to the point at this stage is to determine if this corrupt Tory Government have ever managed, quite by accident, to adhere to public and legal obligations by on any occasion not overriding centuries of convention or outright breaking the law. The Canary say, “It’s all about transparency, or lack of it, and how science is being ignored by a government that continues to be chaotic in how it responds to the pandemic and its effects on peoples’ lives and livelihoods.”
Exploring this issue further, a Canary Article entitled, “Legal challenge launched over ‘unlawful’ Government Covid appointments,” uncovers more damning evidence. They say that, “Campaigners have submitted a legal challenge alleging that prime minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock acted ‘unlawfully’ when appointing key figures to top posts during the coronavirus crisis, it has been reported. The Observer said that the case had been lodged jointly by the Good Law Project and race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust. It said that the judicial review, submitted to the High Court, alleged that three appointments were made without advertising the positions and without the open competition normally required for senior public sector roles.”
This story is seeping into the news despite Media efforts to drown it out with more irrelevant ‘hanyfloss’ obsessively focused on Labour infighting and the typhoon in a teaspoon of their disproportionate Labour Party naval gazing over fantisemitism. The Canary wisely highlight the important campaign quoting the public service objective that the ‘Good Law Project’ intend to prove it in court. They say that “The case relates to the recruitment of test and trace boss and Tory peer Baroness Dido Harding; Kate Bingham, head of the UK’s vaccine taskforce; and Mike Coupe, director of NHS Test and Trace.” Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, said on social media: “This is our belief, that cronyism – which undermines the public interest, discriminates against those who don’t rub shoulders with cabinet ministers, and shuts out those who lack the family fortune to work unpaid – is unlawful.” He said “we at @GoodLawProject mean to prove it in court.”
The Canary say, “Mr Maughan said that the organisation will publish the full court documents on Sunday. A No 10 spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.’ The Good Law Project and Runnymede Trust’s crowding funding page said that Lady Harding was just ‘handed the job’ as head of the National Institute for Health Protection without any other candidates being considered. It said that she was not the only one to land a top job this way and that ‘very often’ people who had been recruited had ‘personal and political connections to the government’. It said: ‘In August, the Conservative peer Dido Harding was appointed as head of the National Institute for Health Protection. ‘The wife of a Conservative MP and friend of former prime minister David Cameron, Dido Harding didn’t pip other candidates to the post at the interview. ‘There weren’t any other candidates. She was just handed the job.”
The ‘Chumocracy’ as it has become known has reached an obscene level under this Tory Government as ‘Tallyho Herding’ is certainly “not the only one to land a top job this way.” The Canary report that, “Each week it seems another individual secures a role of vital public importance without any advertisement or fair process – and very often that individual has personal and political connections to Government. This Government’s approach discriminates against those born without a silver spoon in their mouth. It’s unfair to those who don’t rub shoulders with high-ranking Ministers and it’s unfair to groups who the data shows are shut out of public life. Appointing your mates to top jobs isn’t new or the preserve of the Conservative Party: we all remember ‘Tony’s Cronies’ too, but it’s high time we put a stop to it.” They say that, “Runnymede Trust and Good Law Project are challenging the appointment of Dido Harding, as well as a string of other appointments which were made with seemingly no advertisement or fair recruitment process.”
Changeling the lies fermented by the Tory right is vital. Starmer would prefer to ignore all of the heckles from the gallery getting louder and louder as the Labour PLP try to distance themselves from the reality of overwhelming support for Jeremy Corbyn and the progressive Left policies that he championed, but the Socialist genie is out if the bottle! The giant fantisemitism ‘Typhoon in a Teaspoon’ has marginalized other ethnic groups as unimportant and not just the persecuted Palestinians. Political Parties in the UK of all stripes, cannot be coerced into policy decisions to suit the dictates of any foreign power, but that is the known objective of the Israeli Lobby The death of democracy in the UK poses a massive threat to all minorities in this country as an increasingly unpopular Tory Government will be looking for scapegoats to demonize to obscure major policy failures. We must challenge the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and demand a full Investigation of the result; a goal not considered at the time due to media bias! DO NOT MOVE ON!