A row is brewing over the Government’s apparent preference to appoint the notorious right wing newspaper editor Paul Dacre as Head of Broadcast Regulator Ofcom, with powers to police Independent & Social Media, and special exemptions for newspapers.
Dacre at Ofcom
This was published on Tuesday:
Online Harms Bill designed to Kill Dissent
The attack on independent voices & media platforms is in full effect.
This section of the current Online Harms Bill exempts MSM from regulation on grounds of media freedom. But it leaves individuals and independent media vulnerable to attack. This amounts to gangland retribution from tax avoiding newspaper owning billionaires like Saudi-backed Evgeny Lebedev, Sun and Times owning Rupert Murdoch, and Mail owner Lord Rothermere.
Reactions to Proposed Appointment of Paul Dacre as Head of OFCOM
4 Step BBC Control Demolition
Tim Davie, the new Director General of the BBC, was once Deputy Leader of the Tory contingent of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Richard Sharp, the new BBC chairman, is ex-Goldman Sachs where he managed the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, has given £400k to the Tories, and sits on the board of several hard right conservative think-thanks.
Professor Brian Cathcart
Alan Rusbridger & Peter Oborne
New Sheriff in Town
There is a view that Auntie is safe from the Sheriff of Silicon Valley
Much of the media isn’t very free. Three billionaires, including Paul Dacre’s employer, own much of the printed press that helps set the news agenda for broadcasters. And the government has undue influence over the BBC through implied threats in the Charter renewal process and appointments to top positions. The BBC’s new chair, appointed by Boris Johnson, is a banker, Rishi Sunak’s former boss and a donor to the Conservative Party.
In short, the interests of the rich and the powerful shape the terms of what we read, hear and watch. Dacre’s proposed appointment to run OFCOM, the UK’s communication regulator, makes clear that our media works for the few, not for the many.
We need a campaign to not just block these appalling appointments, but democratise the media and set journalists free, so they can pursue fact-based, truth seeking reporting that challenges, not reinforces power.
James Schneider, former Labour Party Director of Strategic Communications
“Julian Assange is no hero. I should know — I lived with him and his awful gang.”
– James Ball
Right wing investigative reporter James Ball has attacked Julian Assange once again. This time in the Sunday Times. But is there anything new in his article?
The vindictive former WikiLeaks intern uses the emotive word ‘awful’ to refer to Assange’s gang. But Ball was himself part of that gang. Either his commitment to WikiLeaks was authentic – or he was an opportunist bad faith actor.
Judging by his subsequent career moves and undignified pronouncements, I strongly suspect the latter.
Blairite Ball says that if Assange is not extradited to the US and if he manages to be subsequently freed from jail that he should not be allowed to run WikiLeaks again. Because “as a journalist, Assange is reckless, incompetent and immoral”.
He then runs through a list of vague and unproven smears without going into his own role at WikiLeaks or the nature of his obsession with Assange.
The fact that James Ball, a ‘journalist’ who no longer even works for a newspaper, is recommending, on the record, the wholesale censorship of the man who gave him his biggest break says more about Ball than it does about Assange.
In the following Guardian piece Ball misleads his audience by claiming it unlikely Assange would face prosecution in the US.
Sponsored journalists like Ball serve higher powers and cannot be trusted to act against their own financial interests in favour of the truth or of their readers.
I find it hard to distinguish between Ball’s agenda and that of Isabel Oakeshott, Darren Grimes, Raheem Kassam, Mahyar Tousi, Andrew Neil, Fraser Nelson, Rod Liddle, the Guido Fawkes mob and many others.
In this article Ball admits to having taken money from the Integrity Initiative, a government and NATO funded propaganda unit designed to shape opinion in a direction hostile towards Russia and favourable towards increased militarism.
The Integrity Initiative was supposedly against Russian interference in UK politics but it amplified anti-Corbyn tweets.
Ball blames Murdoch-owned Fox news for amplifying Russian propaganda but has had no problem attacking Assange in the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times.
Murdoch was in the room in 2017 when Michael Gove ‘interviewed’ then President-elect Donald Trump and Murdoch’s News International hired Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson to work on the Johnny Depp Amber Heard libel case which has meant that she hasn’t seen Assange for over a year.
It’s no secret that money talks but, in today’s anti-Assange hit piece, James Ball keeps very quiet about exactly what attracts him to the billionaire oligarch Mr Rupert Murdoch.
Where's the line between politics and economics?</p>
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<figcaption>FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump walks as he arrives from travel to West Point, New York, on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 12, 2020. REUTERS/Cheriss May</figcaption>
"first ensure no-one knows where they stand, then just carry on looting"
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Donald Tee Rump
<p>When you see these guys conducting their operation you have to accept that they have it sown up</p>
'Corruptissima republica plurimae leges.' 'The more corrupt the state, the more laws.'
<a href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=%27Corruptissima+republica+plurimae+leges.%27+%27The+more+corrupt+the+state%2C+the+more+laws.%27+%E2%80%94+Tacitus&url=https%3A%2F%2Flondonconversation.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fadmin-ajax.php&via=financialeyes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">
She’s also the Shadow Media, Culture, & Sport Minister.
This tweet is her gloating at finally getting some detail of the clandestine meeting that took place between then Media Minister Matt Hancock and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Stevens is looking keen for the Online Harms Bill.
But what’s this?
Jo Steven’s Labour colleague Margaret Hodge is against online anonymity and backs the Online Harms Bill to protect her from the tens of thousands of abusive tweets she gets a month.
Stevens’ predecessor is Tom Watson, who got on very well with Margaret Hodge.
Watson, like Hodge, spent more of his time attacking then leader Jeremy Corbyn over allegations of antisemitism than he did on scrutinising the way media is governed.
So Watson, Hodge, Stevens, and Labour are all for the Online Harms Bill and dead against Jeremy Corbyn.
They think the Online Harms Bill can help them persecute the more left end of the Labour Party that supported Jeremy Corbyn.
Though Zuckerberg is not known as a Corbynista and Facebook’s advertising policy has been used to benefit the Conservatives far more than Labour, he will still be squeamish about cracking down on freedom of speech.
The double standards are obvious. Some messages are allowed to circulate but others are not.
Online behaviour is starting to be regulated, but who regulates the regulator?
Facebook has an Oversight Committee, sometimes referred to as a Supreme Court. This committee will have the final say over whether a post should be removed and why.
For now the Committee will not look into the issue of questioning deplatforming decisions.
The rationale for deplatforming is opaque – and not currently open to appeal. The left has suffered enormously due to the Facebook algorithm and its decisions to delete accounts.
Murdoch & Leveson
What did Hancock and Zuckerberg really discuss? Can’t have been that much. The real conversation is surely between lobbyists and lawyers.
Hancock made noise about policing Zuckerberg because Rupert Murdoch wanted him to.
I would argue that the consequences for the UK of not identifying and dealing with Mr Gould’s moral and ethical breaches have been enormous.
Thousands dead due to Coronavirus incompetence and countless more to suffer due to Gould’s lax attitude to medical privacy and data.
It should come as no surprise that NHSX Gould is more loyal to Silicon Valley than British citizens. His concern has been to promote the Cybersecurity Agenda and the interests of the large tech players.
Health data is of little concern to him. But he is concerned about Online Harms if they disrupt national security.
And by that we mean … Margaret Hodge.
Censorship levels have gone through the roof in 2020.
The UK is the first country to test the vaccine on its citizens and will be the first to deliver an Online Harms Bill.
But what will it contain and how will it be interpreted?
Will it be an excuse to launch raids on any person or organisation who expresses ideas that are at odds with government policy, or will it be used to fine and genuinely police the online giants?
Former Telegraph and Mail political reporter Peter Oborne replied on Middle Eastern Eye:
So it looks like tension is only increasing. And that it is all so avoidable. Why bother making life harder for either group?
The English approach to weaponizing anti-Jewish sentiment may help achieve certain political aims in the culture war. But will it help individual Jews?
Will Starmer and Johnson’s approach promote harmony or encourage segregation?
It appears to me that they are both divisive politicians who would prefer as much segregation as possible in society, as would Macron and Kurz.
All this talk of fishing rights in the ongoing French / UK Brexit talks is a complete distraction from how much they all have in common.
The EU and Britain are clearly both focused on a particular way of doing things.
Big Business & Banking are working with Big Government to keep things sewn up for the people up top.
That doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. But for now resistance against increasing inequality is particularly weak. Whereas inequality has tended to be lowered only after serious struggles, at this point the struggles themselves are being outlawed.
The only reason people are not noticing this is that the spin and propaganda machine is so strong that we are left begging for censorship and to be permanently misled.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.”
The people there are very nice and I don’t know what I’ve had done without them.
When I saw this story in the Guardian just now it didn’t surprise me one bit.
The country is not in a good way and the debate around Universal Basic Income really must be had.
I assume the Labour Party are dead against it but where do they think they will get their votes from when so few people are able to work and many jobs will simply not return?
Going to the Food Bank because you are repaying the most basic bills like council tax and small universal credit loans feels very similar to structural adjustment programmes imposed by the world bank and IMF on developing countries from the 1980’s onward.
James Wolfensohn died the other day – apparently he did something to help 35 countries. I’m not so sure.
Here is the Indian Biometric ID card system, Aadhaar, linked to health and welfare benefits:
I’ve blogged about Aadhaar before.
I rarely look back at my old blog posts – but this one was pretty good:
The NHS is thinking of asking “sensible” celebrities to persuade the public into taking the soon to be available coronavirus vaccine, according to newspaper reports.
Ministers are alarmed at the impact that online propaganda is having on public opinion. A recent report found that more than one-third of people are uncertain or are very unlikely to be vaccinated.
Footballer Marcus Rashford is the only name that has been suggested.
The NHS source says the Royal Family are being considered, but politicians are off the table.
The army’s 77th brigade contains a defence cultural unit which was set up in 2010 and works closely with psychological operations teams.
It is claimed that soldiers are monitoring ‘cyberspace’ for Covid19 content to analyse how British citizens are being targetted online.
Is this team that was supposed to protect Shamima Begum from being radicalised online?
According to the Sunday Times the team is gathering ‘vaccine disinformation’ from hostile states including Russia.
The stock market has certainly benefitted from the vaccine
And it is well know that government Ministers’ friends benefited to the tune of billions of pounds from PPE contracts.
So why, given the enormous amount of corruption taking place, wouldn’t the public be rightly sceptical of anything proposed by such a dishonest government?
Yesterday this blog revealed that Matthew Gould, head of NHSX and this country’s former Cybersecurity Chief, had no qualms telling NHS staff to ignore data protection legislation if they felt it got in their way.
When intelligent highly trained civil servants and politicians are openly and serially ignoring the rule of law the British public will know that something is up.
The right-wing Daily Telegraph has pointed out that Elvis Presley was photographed receiving his shots for polio on the Ed Sullivan show
And for Typhus, Tetanus, and Asian Flu when entering the Army.
Will the Army be going after Belfast Blues singer Van Morrison?
We looked yesterday at how NHSX and the Information Commissioner have chosen to use Covid to loosen restrictions around our medical data.
NHSX Boss Matthew Gould makes no secret of the fact that he used Covid to tell NHS Staff to ignore data protection or information governance legislation.
In this interview at Future Med 2020, an Israeli Health Conference whose opening address was delivered by Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, Gould, former UK Ambassador to Israel and assistant to Tony Blair, refers to a ‘one pager’.
Here are COPI (Patient Confidentiality) letters from the Health Minister to NHS England and Improvement Chief Sir Simon Stevens, to whom Matthew Gould reports, and to Sarah Wilkinson who runs NHS Digital.
For more on the looting of NHS data by private firms such as Google watch The Great NHS Heist which was released late last year.
Gould has form when it comes to spookery. He was UK director of Cybersecurity, UK Ambassador to Israel and worked directly for Blair, Brown and Miliband.
Though it would be extremely bad form to suggest that he was more loyal to Israel than to the UK, Gould is an enigma, no stranger to controversy and clearly in the employ of UK military intelligence but quite possibly also friendly with Israeli Military Intelligence as well. We may never know.
Paul Flynn had to apologise for extremely clumsy working of his critique of Gould whose Blairite credentials suggest he has something of the Common Purpose about him.
But back to the bigger issue, if the Government says it’s suddenly ok for NHS staff to break data protection rules, then why would those rules ever be respected in the future?
By referring to a can-do attitude and not “getting caught in knots about massive detail of the law”, Matthew Gould, like his friends George Osborne, Matt Hancock and Simon Stevens is accelerating the destruction of the NHS.
He’s using the language of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion.
But unlike them he is the leader of a political party who claims to believe in democracy.
Under Jeremy Corbyn Labour made a commitment to cut emissions to net zero by 2030. But is this even possible?
Will Starmer intervene to ‘save the planet’?
Where will the cuts in energy consumption come from?
From what level to what level? Who is going to have to make the sacrifices?
If Starmer’s plan is to move Labour in the direction of environmentalism then why does he have people in his Shadow Cabinet who voted to expand Heathrow?
Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves, David Lammy, John Healey, Jonathan Reynolds, Jonathan Ashworth, & Kate Green all voted to expand Heathrow in 2018, along with most Tories. Boris conveniently left for Afghanistan that day.
Billionaires Vote Democrat, The Republican Party is for Mere Millionaires
Given the huge majority of MPs who voted for Heathrow expansion, you would have thought the expansion would go ahead.
But anti-expansion campaigners won the appeal and now the case has been heard by the Supreme Court which will deliver its judgment in January.
So the majority of MPs have decided to go with foreign capital to build a third runway.
At the same time that the Government is accelerating deportations, increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric, and airlines are going out of business due to the current financial crisis.
So what’s to be done?
Will UK PLC find a way to be awarded the right to build another runway, even as the Government ploughs ahead with COP26 (sponsored by Nat West)?
Mr Starmer himself voted against the expansion of Heathrow Airport, but that’s not to say that every Labour MP who voted against Heathrow expansion is against expanding airports.
My MP Karen Buck told me that she voted against Heathrow because she prefers Gatwick.
Starmer, like former Transport Secretary and current London Mayor Sadiq Khan, is proud to call himself pro-Business.
Can business and environmentalism co-exist?
When ex Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who will play a prominent role at UN COP26 in Glasgow in November, claims to want to monitor climate risk and avoid climate breakdown I am reminded that he was appointed by the Cameron Government which went from Vote Blue, Go Green, to Vote Blue, Get Real.
This article was written 25 years ago. I’ve never read it but just stumbled across it now. I couldn’t find it when I last searched for it in 2013. I did listen to some of the Richard White podcast above around the same time. Mr White mentions the tar sands in Canada.
This morning a story about NHSX Chief Matthew Gould appeared on the Guardian / Observer website. It never made the physical paper.
In June at an Israeli health summit Gould, Zionist former UK Ambassador to Israel, was asked how he had managed to use Covid to bring about unprecedented ‘digital health adoption’ in the UK.
In his response Mr Gould appears to have told NHS workers to pay no attention to existing UK legislation. He goes on to suggest that this is a winning formula.
There’s a claim Matthew that Covid 19 was an exceedingly effective accelerator of digital health adoption, maybe the most effective one ever. And you’ve mentioned some aspects of this earlier on when you talked about the adoption of online care and alluded to some of the symptom checkers.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your experience in the UK and how which digital health transformation aspects were accelerated during Covid 19? And what actually changed that allowed it?
Was it regulation that changed? Was it acceptance by the physicians and by the unions that changed? Or maybe it was acceptance by the patients or just bare necessity?
One of the things we did earlier in the crisis that i think made a massive difference was we produced a really simple one-page guide to information governance for people working in health and care saying essentially if you are in good faith trying to look after your patients and acting in sensible ways then you’re not going to get into trouble.
And that was endorsed by our information commissioner, by the national data guardian and it had a really positive effect.
Because it sent a signal: look just be sensible do the right thing, don’t get yourself caught up in knots over um sort of the massive detail of law – but just get on with it. And that was extremely positive and we need to capture that can-do spirit and sort of bottle it and keep it for the future
Straight-talking MP Paul Flynn apologised for suggesting that Gould should not have been appointed UK Ambassador to Israel on account of him being Jewish.
Flynn said that Gould was vulnerable to accusations “of having Jewish loyalty” and that the position should be given to “someone with roots in the UK”. Flynn said, “there hasn’t been a Jewish ambassador to Israel and I think that is a good decision – to avoid the accusation that they have gone native.”
Gould was appointed Head of Cybersecurity by George Osborne after the Talk Talk cyber attack in 2015. Talk Talk was then headed by Conservative Peer Dido Harding who now runs Public Health England’s replacement organisation as well as NHS Improvement.
Gould’s Twitter profile mentions showjumping – a passion for horses that is shared by Dido Harding, Matt Hancock, & Owen Patterson – all of whom have done very well out of the Covid crisis.
Sadly Owen Patterson’s wife died mysteriously on his birthday in June.
Harding also runs Track and Trace with Gould. She was also appointed without any interview process. Bizarrely Harding’s husband John Penrose, also a Tory MP, is the UK’s anti-corruption tsar.
Given that Matthew Gould has boasted of instructing NHS workers to ignore the law, perhaps he should be prosecuted for corruption himself.
But don’t hold your breath. The UK Government has shown no regard for international, human rights and employment law on so many occasions lately that we have to accept that normal laws simply don’t apply to them any more.
Maybe one day things will change, but certainly not without a fight.
So the UK population was repeatedly lied to and gaslit by the BBC and the government over Covid, lockdowns, and the number of deaths up and down the country, but Ofcom, the so-called regulator, has decided it is best to behave as though this myriad of lies and deception, in which it is now complicit, simply never occurred. There’s a word for this.
Ofcom’s boss Melanie Dawes’ starting salary is £315, 000 a year. She started her new job in February. Before that she had been Britain’s most senior female civil servant – permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which she took over from Bob Kerslake in 2015.
The Housing and Local Government Ministry saw savage cuts during that time.
Dawes’ husband Benjamin Brogan was Deputy Editor of The Telegraph from 2009 till 2014 before becoming Head of Public Affairs at Lloyds Bank. Lloyds received substantial state aid after the financial crisis but the Government finally sold its stake in 2017.
There are some who would say that being married to a right wing former newspaper editor turned banking lobbyist should automatically exclude anyone from running Ofcom, the national broadcast regulator. I share that view. But clearly Ms Dawes, Mr Brogan, and the corrupt former Chair of the Treasury Select Committee and Media Minister who should have known better, Baroness Morgan, saw things differently.
Morgan is a rule onto herself. She flipped from Remainer to Brexiteer in a heartbeat. One of the first things she did when Boris Johnson appointed her Media Minister in summer 2019 was to end all government pressure on Evening Standard and Independent owner Evgeny Lebedev for having sold 30% of Lebedev Holdings to the Saudi State.
Of course Lebedev had always backed Boris and a year later was rewarded with a peerage. Lord Lebedev of Hampton in Richmond Upon Thames and Siberia in the Russian Federation.
I have never previously heard of a Lord of the Russian Federation before – though Lord Barker and Lord Peter Mandelson do lobby for Oleg Deripaska.
One of Brogan’s colleagues when he was at the Telegraph was Peter Oborne.
When Oborne resigned from the Telegraph in 2015 he made it clear that the paper did not report honestly when it came to covering the notorious British Bank HSBC.
Even though it was well known that much money laundering had happened through the bank, Telegraph journalists were discouraged from reporting on the bank’s activities due to fears HSBC would pull its advertising from the paper.
But Lloyds Bank, where Ofcom Boss Dawes’ husband Brogan runs Public Affairs has also been up to no good:
Not only has Lloyds defrauded its Reading business customers of hundreds of millions of pounds, but it has so far got away with compensating only 5 victims.
And who, pray, is responsible for ensuring that the government doesn’t get involved in this affair and that as little as possible of this information is communicated to the public? Benjamin Brogan, Melanie Dawes’ husband.
How Corrupt is Britain?
So not only is she being paid upwards of £300k to police broadcasters, but her husband is being paid to keep his own bank’s scandals out of the news.
Now that’s another Great British Power couple. Not sure if they have any ethics though.
Ben Elliot, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, nephew of Prince Charles, close friend of Zac Goldsmith, and Boris Johnson’s tennis partner, co-founded and co-owns Quintessentially, an elite services or ‘concierge company’ which created and registered the website of an international escort agency offering “high class models” to “high-profile gentlemen”, according the Financial Times.
Le Besoin’s Netherlands profile was last updated in February 2018. An image of 25 year old ‘Bianca’ appears with a German telephone number, a Dubai location, the www.lebesoin.com web address, and an “ask for price” statement.
Elliot owns 20% of Hawthorn Advisors a PR firm that has represented Huawei, Tory Lord Barker who lobbied for US sanctions to be lifted against Russian aluminium firm EN+, and Alison Rose in her succesful bid to become CEO of RBS / Nat West.
Quintessentially’s numbers make absolutely no sense as the firm reported $23m revenue in 2018 while claiming to employ 1,000 staff.
There is clearly something other than just business driving this hospitality firm.
For more on the alternative take on Bill Browder and Magnitsky:
‘Information as a biological unit’ came the stern reply.
The Poet Statesman
The place was not only pleasant, but perfect, if once he could regard it not as a deception but rather as a dream. Even if the people were not “artists,” the whole was nevertheless artistic. That young man with the long, auburn hair and the impudent face—that young man was not really a poet; but surely he was a poem. That old gentleman with the wild, white beard and the wild, white hat—that venerable humbug was not really a philosopher; but at least he was the cause of philosophy in others. That scientific gentleman with the bald, egg-like head and the bare, bird-like neck had no real right to the airs of science that he assumed. He had not discovered anything new in biology; but what biological creature could he have discovered more singular than himself? Thus, and thus only, the whole place had properly to be regarded; it had to be considered not so much as a workshop for artists, but as a frail but finished work of art. A man who stepped into its social atmosphere felt as if he had stepped into a written comedy.
GK Chesterton — The Man Who Was Thursday — A Nightmare
This announcement, in today’s Murdochian Times is almost identical to the one made by former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell in an interview he gave me for Real Media nearly four years ago:
Sadly very few people paid any attention to this interview at the time, but the ideas are bizarrely all appearing in Government announcements.
Now that the government have announced a national infrastructure bank, Green Bonds and their version of a Green New Deal, John McDonnell appears to have won the last election.
Enoch Powell famously claimed that all political careers end in failure.
Mr McDonnell was lambasted by the left for appearing in an interview with Alastair Campbell just before the December election – if he hadn’t done so the People’s Vote mob would have told all their followers to vote Lib Dem and that would have completely destroyed the Labour Party.
So, whether you like it or not, McDonnell essentially took one for the team.
We didn’t start the fire — so who did?
Violent 50s and 60s imagery from Billy Joel here.
Are Roy Cohn, Eichmann, Belgians in the Congo in the same category as Ho Chi Minh ?
Lê Đức Thọ was famously awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize for peace along with Henry Kissinger but he turned it down – I wonder why.
Private Eye appears to be dominated by spookery at this point. But not so badly as to no longer be worth buying.
I made this experimental video a year and a half ago in homage to Peter Cook and his hero N. F. Simpson. The visuals and audio are taken from the news at the time as well as Simpson’s One Way Pendulum: :
This Peter Cook film says far more about modern politics than any other film I know. Watch it all the way through:
Harding and Matt Hancock happen to share a love of racehorsing.
Harding, like Rose Paterson was, is on the board of the Jockey Club which is responsible for several major horse-racing events including the Cheltenham Festival.
Here Sports Minister Oliver Dowden – justifies allowing the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead despite Covid:
Harding’s husband John Penrose is this country’s anti-corruption tsar, mainly working on local government fraud. Amazing given that his wife Dido Harding is still the Chair of NHS Improvement, overseeing NHS Foundation Trusts, patient safety as well as independent providers that provide NHS-funded care. :
This is a document John Penrose brought out in June:
Penrose’s predecessor was Eric Pickles. Pickles was local government minister before that. A job now taken up by Robert Jenrick. Pickles is also head of ACOBA, which means he is supposed to police the revolving door.
As we know Paterson is a prime beneficiary of the revolving door. But there are many others. Including, no doubt, Eric Pickles himself.
In June 2019 the current Chancellor, Housing Minister, & Sports Minister all backed Boris to lead the Tories.
This blogpost is merely descriptive. It does not seek to make fresh allegations or to accuse anyone of anything. If there is such a thing as corruption in this country, this article may be nodding in its direction, but certainly not pressing charges.
That is for the likes of John Penrose, Eric Pickles, the Police (overseen by Priti Patel), the Courts (overseen by Robert Buckland) and possibly even Parliament (with a Tory majority controlled by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings)
Just as UK PM Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson makes out that his surname is Johnson, despite the surname on his paternal grandfather’s birth certificate being clearly Kemal, so too does Democrat Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris make little mention of her élite Tamil Brahmin heritage.
Whether re-purposing the original anti police brutality Black Lives Matter hashtag or pretending to be a European artistocrat as opposed to the great grandson of an élite Turk, when courting public favour, politicans and their families are obliged to conform to a rigid set of underlying assumptions.
If these politicians are willing to publicly compromise on day one, then what won’t they be willing to sacrifice when they’re in power?
The Wall Street Journal, which I assume will be rooting for Trump, has published an article about Kamala Harris’s mother’s side.
Julian Assange has to report to Court today – in person – though he may use a video link due to respiratory conditions.
Funny how this article uses the Depp / Musk spat to talk about Depp’s lawyers and then AI.
It’s written by a tech correspondent so the identity of Depp’s lawyers is not particularly relevant.
No mention, of course, of the fact that Amber Heard’s lawyer is Jen Robinson who represents Julian Assange.
Last week Vivienne Westwood was protesting outside the Old Bailey as a Canary in a Cage to highlight the Assange Trial.
This made BBC, ITV and even the Sun.
I can’t help but think Jen Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers had something to do with this spectacle. Robinson is a media lawyer, not a divorce lawyer.
The Amber Heard Trial is actually The Sun Vs Johnny Depp.
So Robinson is actually working together with Murdoch’s lawyers.
The whole Vivienne Westwood thing makes the Assange story newsworthy, in UK tabloid terms, in a way only the likes of Pamela Anderson can.
Westwood and her son Joe Corré funded Real Media, a venture I was once part of, and, though do I agree with them on this issue, it feels as though the issues themselves do not matter – it is all just pantomime.
Riding a wave of public sentiment.
Like they did with fracking. Like they did with Punk.
The new espionage act will outlaw quite a lot of public interest journalism.
It was funny to see the Guardian comment this weekend, when its columnist Owen Jones’ far-right attacker was given a custodial sentence, that no journalist should be subject to personal attacks.
If only they would adopt such a view for Julian Assange.
The fallout from the Russia Report has meant the Govt are planning more draconian measures to ruin the country.
They want to set up a spy register and, following a 2017 Law Commission report they want to introduce a new Official Secrets Act.
This will effectively ban public interest reporting on ‘national security’ matters, eliminate trial by jury and incriminate any journalist that relies on whistleblowing.
The Economist has done a good piece here on the Shadow Banking sector and regulatory arbitrage in banking.
There is a lot of talk of Monopolies and Anti-Trust right now.
The Big Tech firms will be scrutinised ‘on the hill’ in Washington DC on Wednesday. They also report their second quarter numbers this week.
Rana Foroohar did this in the FT, bringing in anti-trust in Big Tech but also banking and linking this all to the upcoming US election:
And the New York Times just did a great piece on the secretive Global Anti-Trust Institute :
Daisuke got a quote from a former EU anti-Trust regulator:
Apple won a tax case against Ireland last week (worth several billion dollars) but the EU can still appeal.
Some British Remainers are acting as though the coronavirus funding deal the EU struck last week is a sign that everything is going well in those parts.
This piece by ex-IMF man and current Chief Economic Adviser at Morgan Stanley Reza Moghadam seems entirely reasonable until the last line.
In which he leverages his entire argument to call for FISCAL UNION!
So I repeated Moghadam’s call . . .
At least this piece indicates below the radar disquiet in Ireland.
Have a brilliant week. What gambit will they come up with next?
According to Bloomberg HSBC may have lied to US authorities about their knowledge of Huawei’s dealings with Iran.
Meng Wanzhou – Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder – was arrested over this on 1 December 2018 in Vancouver.
But Meng’s lawyers argue, she was transparent about the Iran dealings.
They say there are two slides in a presentation she made to HSBC that were omitted from the U.S. filing.
According to Bloomberg:
In its first public comments about Huawei’s legal battle in North America, the U.K. bank said it has no “hostility” toward Huawei and didn’t “ensnare” the company. The bank said it only provided information to the U.S. Department of Justice when it was compelled to do so.
“In response to the U.S. DOJ’s requests for information, HSBC simply presented the objective facts,” the bank said in a statement Saturday. “HSBC did not ‘fabricate’ evidence or ‘hide’ facts. And HSBC would never distort the facts or seek to harm any of our clients for our own gain.”
HSBC has become embroiled in Huawei’s legal fight to block a U.S. request to extradite Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou from Canada to face trial over allegedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Meng has been under house arrest in Vancouver since she was detained at the request of U.S. authorities in 2018.
When HSBC saw Meng Wanzhou’s presentation in 2013, they were already under a Deferrred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the US Department of Justice due to lots of previous money laundering activity.
The terms of the agreement meant that any further illegal activity could have cost them their US banking licence.
And who was charged with overseeing HSBC’s compliance with the DPA?
A firm called Exiger.
And who was Exiger’s head of investigations and Europe, Middle East and African (EMEA) business?
The current Head of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Lisa Osofsky.
Lisa Osofsky has been in the news recently for receiving chummy text messages from a private investigator in relation to the UNAOIL case.
For more on UNAOIL:
SFO also recently signed a recent DPA with G4S over the prison tagging fraud from the early 2010’s.
So far no jail time so far for G4S executives who have managed to secure more and more contracts and make millions of pounds from the UK taxpayer since the original fraud was uncovered.
People sometimes ask who regulates the regulators.
Prisoners are managed by G4S and G4S supposedly, when they do wrong, by the SFO.