Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dodgy Dave Cameron and His Dodgy Tory Government and Sir Gus O'Donnel Cabinet Secretary

Let's face it Britain hesitated on May 6th 2010 and produced a hung parliament, through that hesitation Britain acquired one of the dodgiest prime ministers in the history of this country.

When on the few occasions Britian produced a hung parliament the normal course of action would have been that the largest party form a minority government, govern for a few months and let democracy set the course and another general election would follow within usually a year. During that time several things may have happened to trigger an early general election. Any "pact" made between the largest party and "another" would usually fall apart and this would lead to a vote of no confidence in the government  - Or some other issue would trigger a vote of no confidence in the House, the government would lose and a general election would be triggered - or the largest party would simply chance their arm and go to the country again and try to get a working majority to form a new government. Whatever the combination of things, this would have been the normal course of events. However, that was before the interference of Britain's top civil servant the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, who many believe overstepped his brief to interfere in the formation of the so-called "Coalition government" between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats.

Cabinet Secretary - Sir Gus O'Donnell Britain's Top Civil Servant

May 2010 - Post General Election -  Sir Gus O’Donnell intervened in the dramatic weekend after the General Election to advise the Tories and Lib Dems that they risked market meltdown if there were no stable government in place by the Monday.
Well this may well have been the case (we'll never know), but the country had just travelled an economic nightmare in the form of a global financial recession triggered by the greed of bankers and induced by the reckless greedy actions of these very people the City Bankers, City Analysts and City Financiers that Sir Gus O'Donnell was so "concerned" about, many of which are Tory supporters who bankroll the Tory party to the tune of millions of pounds. How does O'Donnell thinks his interference on behalf of Tory bankers in order to produce what is ostensibly a Tory government now looks to the public?
  • More than half the donations raked in by David Cameron's Tories in 2010 came from City bankers.
  • This Tory party is the richest political party in this history of this country.
  • Financial services firms and individuals donated £11.4m to the Conservative party in the first nine months of 2010, according to figures compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
  • That was 51% of the total £22.5 million raised over the period - up from a quarter in 2005.
Given that the country had just experienced a virtual banking collapse in the financial system and are witnessing an ongoing struggle over its regulation, the scale of Tory party funding from the City must be an extremely pertinent and serious issue. So why was Sir Gus O'Donnell interfering in the workings of our democracy in favour of bankers and the City? Thanks to O'Donnell we now have a situation where Tory donors are heavily influencing policy making and no one could have failed to note the disastrous consequences of this from the failed NHS reforms and Tory doning private healthcare companies, to the way that Rupert Murdoch's News International has been allowed to infiltrate the heart of the British government and influence policy decisions.

Why was Sir Gus O'Donnell so insistent to get the Conservative Party into government and locked into a position that could not be challenged through the normal democratic route that has served Britain so well in the past?  Left alone without O'Donnell's interference it is highly unlikely that we would have what is proving to be a disastrous and wholly incompetent government and the Liberal Democrats would not have been shunted into a position where they are now being used and abused daily by Cameron and his "inner circle" of "Cameroons". By the end of this so-called "coalition administration", the Liberal Democrats will be a spent political party with nowhere to go, led by a weak ineffectual leader who has lied so much that no one now trusts and all that even depends on if Nick Clegg manages to cling on to his Sheffield Hallam seat, which is looking increasingly unlikely.

It appears to me that Sir Gus O'Donnell is hardly the unbiased character that he would have people believe that he is. A small probe into his profile reveals that he was once former Conservative prime minister, Lord John Major's press secretary. Sir John Major took him to Downing Street as his press secretary after working with him as chancellor in the Margaret Thatcher government, where the two had forged a friendship.
Strangely he shared power with Ed Balls, Gordon Brown's long-standing political advisor who became chief economic adviser in 1999, yet when the Tories barrack Ed Balls for being Gordon Brown's adviser, they neglect to mention that Sir Gus O'Donnell held that title at the same time - why?
It seems that O'Donnell has long been involved in the financial workings of this country, so was he really the one to be advising on the formation of a coalition government using the financial markets as a leverage?

Sir Gus O'Donnell and the Inquiry Into Phone Hacking (that never was)

When the News of the World reporter Clive Goodman and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were found guilty and accused of hacking into the voicemail messages of the royal princes, that was thought to be the end of the matter, it was put down to this one rough NotW reporter and Mulcaire, the two were duly sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment. However, when fresh allegations surfaced again in 2009 then then former prime minister Gordon Brown suspected his phone had been hacked and wanted to hold an inquiry into the matter. Mr Brown said that he had wanted to hold a full investigation into phone hacking in February 2010, when the Culture, Media and Sport Committee reported that the number of victims was more than the handful that had been claimed.
He said he asked Sir Gus to agree to launch a judicial inquiry but had been told that doing so would appear politically motivated. A seven page briefing note issued by the Cabinet Office confirms what Mr Brown said in parliament to MPs on Wednesday 13th July 2011.

In the summary issued by Sir Gus O'Donnell it states that there is limited information available on which to hold such an inquiry, supposedly then he knew nothing of the thousands of pieces of information contained in bin bags at Scotland Yard?
O'Donnell goes on to say that any decisions to hold such an inquiry could be challenged by a judicial review, particularly if the inquiry were extended to the media in general, and it is not inconceivable that such a challenge may succeed.

O'Donnell goes on to list other points.
  • Cost - any inquiry carries costs to the public purse which will depend on the breadth of the terms of reference and the composition of the inquiry panel.
  • Setting a precedent -  creating an inquiry in this case could increase calls for public inquiries e.g. following future adverse Select Committee reports.
  • Timing - the immediate proximity to an election would inevitably raise questions over the motivation and urgency of an inquiry.

Yes Sir Gus deftly points to the fact that to hold an inquiry, or not, is the prime minister's decision, but O'Donnell left Mr Brown in no doubt what he actually thought about the holding of an inquiry at that time and that it would be seen as being politically motivated.
It showed Sir Gus had advised Mr Brown that launching a probe just two months before the General Election would "inevitably raise questions over the motivation and urgency of an inquiry" and that this could lead to a legal challenge.

If Brown had decided to hold that inquiry at that time it would have been extremely doubtful if Cameron would have even been in a position to form a minority government - so once again we have seen Sir Gus O'Donnell apparently "step-in" to save the day for the Conservative party.

John Denham, the Shadow business secretary wrote to Sir Gus asking whether Mr Hunt was a ‘fit and proper person’ to determine media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s bid for full control of BSkyB, he pointed to what he described as ‘prejudicial statements’ previously made by Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary appearing to support the takeover.
While in Opposition and in government, Mr Hunt made a series of BSkyB friendly statements and has also had meetings with senior executives from the media giant. Jeremy Hunt even flew to the United States where he met representatives of News Corp, as well as other media organisations.

Astonishingly and despite the above the Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell actually cleared Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to rule on the controversial BSkyB takeover - why? How did he come to this conclusion? Surely this opens up charges of political bias by Sir Gus? He revealed that prime minister David Cameron had sought his advice about whether there was any legal impediment to the shift in ministerial responsibilities from Vince cable to Jeremy Hunt before making a decision, so far from asking to be removed from any decision making concerning BSkyB, we clearly see that it was David Cameron's decision to give this part of Vince Cable's brief to Jeremy Hunt, which is at the very least a controversial decision, so controversial that O'Donnell felt he had to take legal advice. Who gave the legal advice to Sir Gus? Was it the Conservative Attorney General Dominic Grieve?
The Cabinet Secretary also made clear that there was so much doubt about Jeremy Hunt’s suitability for this role that they were forced to consult top lawyers.’
‘It is very hard to see how any decision Jeremy Hunt makes will enjoy complete confidence. Yet despite all of this and despite what was known to Hunt, he was within hours of granting permission to Rupert Murdoch for the BSkyB takeover.

So we had a situation where Vince Cable was ousted from his position as final judge over whether Murdoch may buy out the remaining 61% of BskyB shares due to bias against the company. He was then replaced by Jeremy Hunt, who has exhibited astonishing bias toward the company and all in the name of fairness? Fairness to whom? Rupert Murdoch?

It appears to me at that time Rupert Murdoch actually ran the Tory party and had great influence over Sir Gus O'Donnell too and this is something that clearly needs to be debated in parliament.

This is remarkable especially when you consider that all of this has been conducted amid  fears of a Tory takeover at the BBC after party grandee Chris Patten was appointed by the Tories for the ­Corporation’s top job.
Fears about the Tory Peer Chris Patten's appointment appeared to have been realised as the Tory-led Government’s close links to Rupert Murdoch and News International have emerged in recent weeks and suspicions that the Tories had struck some kind of a deal with the tycoon, whose ­newspapers championed the party in the run-up to the May 2010 ­election look to be gaining traction. Yet knowing all of this Sir Gus O'Donnell still allowed Jeremy Hunt to preside over the BSkyB bid?

 Sir Gus O'Donnell also has ducked questions on the controversy over the tax status of millionaire Tory donor Lord Ashcroft in 2007.
Many people believe that the peer has reneged on a commitment to become domiciled in Britain for tax purposes in return for his elevation to the House of Lords. In fact William Hague now the Foreign Secretary famously refused to answer questions out to him by Jeremy Paxman over Lord Ashcroft's status.

On one of his trips abroad with the former prime minister John Major, Gus O'Donnell – Sir Gus, as he is now – intrigued the attendant press corps by claiming to have a system for winning at roulette, which only required a casino foolish enough to have a roulette wheel with no zero for it to be infallible.

It was simple, but required a big pile of chips and a steady nerve. The idea was to make only those bets that had a 50-50 chance of success, such as putting everything on red. If you won, you would keep your winnings and repeat the bet. If you lost, you would double your stake, and keep doubling until you won. If you started by betting a pound, and lost 10 times in a row, your 10th bet would have to be £1,024 – but win that, and you would recover all that you had lost.
How deeply embarrassing for our country that a senior civil servant thinks that this doubling strategy is a winner and this man was once employed as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury! No wonder then that he pulled out all the stops for the Markets when he was forming a coalition government for Britain and overriding the country's democracy in doing so!

In his earlier post as Permanent Secretary of the Treasury, O'Donnell sacked a Treasury official who was too partisan in attacking the Tories. The sacked official was then taken on by Gordon Brown as a political adviser. His name was Damian McBride.

Now recall recently what name has been flowing off of the lips of David Cameron in the form of an "attack" on Ed Miliband? What name was on the "dossier" of ways to attack labour, which was quickly circulated to Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs as a way of "attacking" Labour over the phone hacking scandal? The exact same dossier that asked Tory MPs to cheer from the rafters when David Cameron stood up in the House to debate the developments in the hacking scandal when he was forced by Ed Miliband and Labour to recall parliament? Yes of course it was Damien McBride, who had previously been sacked by none other than Sir Gus O'Donnell.

Early in 2002, O'Donnell  suddenly propelled himself into the limelight by speaking the blunt truth to a student audience, when he told them that the five conditions set by Gordon Brown which had to be met before Britain even thought of joining the Euro, would never be met, and that the decision to join the euro was not economic but political. Again at the time this was gleefully picked up as evidence that Brown's carefully built economic case against the euro was a sham. It wasn't of course and because of Brown we have escaped much of what is happening in the Euro-Zone today.

The question is why? Why is Sir Gus O'Donnell constantly busting a gut in favour of the Conservative party and to such an extent? The very fact that people have to ask the question about the "impartiality" of Sir Gus O'Donnell means there could be a problem and if there is then this needs to be investigated, but in a government so heavily implicated in sleaze and scandal after only just 15 months what hope have we got of seeing the machinations of government in Britian working properly and fairly?

Meanwhile the Phone Hacking Scandal - Dodgy Deals - Dodgy Lobbyists - Dodgy Donors - All Part of a Day In the Life Of Dodgy Dave Cameron's "Tory" Government and Sir Gus appears to do nothing about it - why?


Robert said...

people did not vote because of the difference in the political parties, their was none.

Gracie Samuels said...

That is in your opinion of course Robert, to me there is colossal difference between the labour party and the Tory party.

Robert said...

Yes I know I'm going through the WCA and ESA medical now.

The fact is you see labour through a very rose tinted glasses.

I see labour through what I have seen over the 48 years of my membership.

The difference in labour and the Tories, lets see nope none.

Gracie Samuels said...

Again that is your opinion and I may be wrong but something makes me doubt very much that you are a Labour supporter. By the way I am NOT "new" labour, just labour and I have genuinely supported this party for as long as I can remember, however, it does not mean that I see them through rose tinted specs, but you can believe that if you like, I know differently that is all that matters to me. There is much they have done that I disagree with, take for instance Atos, yes I vehemently disagreed with this at the time and still do and have said so many times. However, I support Labour because of the party's values and because of the fact that s despite Atos, they are the party that have done the most for ordinary people and are nearest to my own values and beliefs. Believe what you want it is no odds to me.