Conservative Party

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They know the cost of everything and the value of nothing".
— Rachel Sylvester, The Times, Aug.13.2018

This article makes you think about what the Conservatives are about these days. Well worth reading:

  • Jan.26.2018: Pro-market, pro-business, or just pro-wealth? ... the distinction between people who are "pro-market" and those who are "merely pro-business". The idea is that some people believe that economic problems are best solved through the market mechanism, while some other people pretend to believe this but actually just represent the business lobby. Businesses frequently want protectionist restrictions on their competitors, state subsidies or tax-breaks, or permission to establish a monopoly, all of which are devices to circumvent the market. I think there is another, more relevant, group involved – those who pretend to be either "pro-market" or "pro-business" but in fact are just "pro-wealth", lobbyists for the rich independent of industry. The distinction is extremely important. (more...) The Yorkshire Ranter.


Political Philosophy

Conservative Party (UK)Wikipedia-W.svg, Tories (British political party)Wikipedia-W.svg, ToryWikipedia-W.svg

  • Aug.20.2018: Moderate Tories need to understand: the extremists are unappeasable. The schisms exposed by Brexit will not be healed when Britain leaves the EU. That will be just the start of the revolution. ... Sitting tight, waiting until “after Brexit”, is an act of intellectual surrender amounting to political suicide. There is no “after Brexit” because the revolution can never be finished; the old order cannot be allowed to survive. Nationalist vultures are already circling over the limp, motionless body of Tory moderation. If it doesn’t rouse itself and show some life, it will be picked to pieces. Raphael Behr, The Guardian.

Membership

  • Look up what membership levels are / have been, and make a graph. But although membership levels are low, doesn't seem to make any difference at voting time.
  • Aug.30.2018: Tories courted the Ukippers: now they’ll be consumed by them. Britain should fear the consequences of the hard-right entryism birthed and nourished by the Tory leadership and press. The Tory hierarchy is set to be devoured by the monsters it suckled and reared. Now the Ukip army – once derided by Cameron as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” – is flooding into Conservative associations, hoping to remodel the party in its own image. Steve Bannon – now fashioning an international grouping of the far right – courts Rees-Mogg, Johnson and Gove. A hard right takeover is within sight. And now they may well devour the Conservative party – and become Britain’s new political masters. Owen Jones, The Guardian.
  • Aug.24.2018: Leading Brexiteers blocked from Tory membership. Arron Banks, who set up the Brexit campaigning group Leave.EU, and his associate Andy Wigmore yesterday applied to join the party in an effort to push the Tories towards a Eurosceptic successor to Theresa May. A Conservative spokesman said their applications had “not been approved”. Leave.EU has called on its supporters to join the Conservatives to “save Brexit”, raising the prospect of entryism in an effort to realign the Tory party behind a Brexiteer. The party allows anyone who has been a member for at least 3 months to take part in leadership elections by voting on two candidates selected by MPs. Both men said they had received confirmation emails from Brandon Lewis, the Conservative party chairman, welcoming them and inviting them to attend party events. It is understood that this was an automated email and that Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore’s payments and memberships were subsequently voided when their applications were reviewed by Conservative officials who felt both men were likely to bring the party into disrepute. Mr Banks told the Westmonster website, which he founded: “We believe that the battle for Brexit is now within the Conservative Party and the upcoming leadership election. Over 1.4 million people follow Leave.EU online and we have urged them to join up and have their say.” Mr Wigmore, also 52, said he wanted to join the Conservatives “to ensure that if there is a leadership contest then I can influence the type of leader the country and the Tory party need”. Last week two pro-EU Conservative MPs raised concerns about the risk of the party being hijacked by those seeking a hard Brexit. Billy Kenber, The Times.

Leader's Group

  • todo


Leadership Contest

  • Aug.21.2018: William Hague urges Tories to reject plan to change leadership contest rules. Former Conservative leader William Hague has urged his party to reject proposals to give its members more choice in future leadership contests. He said the idea, favoured by supporters of Boris Johnson, could give undue influence to “unrepresentative minorities” and reduce the chances of the party selecting a leader with wide appeal. Lord Hague, who now sits in the House of Lords, also claimed the Labour party – by giving members and supporters a maximum role in the leadership contest, leading to the election of Jeremy Corbyn – had undermined democracy by leaving the UK without a “moderate, easily electable alternative to the govt of the day”. The Guardian reported on Monday that Tory backbenchers were warning of a risk of entryism in the party as Leave.EU encouraged its supporters to become members in order to back Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg in a future leadership contest. Hague was elected Tory leader in 1997 under the old rules that meant he was elected by only MPs. He replaced that with a system that allowed members to select the leader from a shortlist of two drawn up after MPs voted to eliminate other contenders. Hague said that in some respects he was “spectacularly wrong” to have brought in the new system, first used to elect Iain Duncan Smith in 2001. “I believed at the time that giving a vote to members would help to enlarge the membership and make it more representative of the country. The sad reality is that, since then, the total number of Conservative members has halved, and earlier this year officially stood at 124,000. Most of these are wonderful people … But they are often the first to point out that they are not remotely representative of society at large or even of their own voters.” There is increasing interest in the Conservative party leadership election rules because of speculation that Theresa May may face a challenge in the autumn. Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian.
  • Jul.28.2018: Steve Bannon Claims To Have Also Been In Contact With Michael Gove And Jacob Rees-Mogg. David Lammy has branded Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg “a national disgrace” following claims they had been in contact with Donald Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon told Reuters that he had been in contact with the three potential rivals to Prime Minister Theresa May. Bannon, a former chairman of the right-wing Breitbart.com website and an architect of Trump’s 2016 election win, has launched a project to coordinate and bolster the anti-EU vote across the European Union. He said he was already raising funds from unspecified European sources and that his foundation would help nationalist movements around Europe to build up their polling, messaging and political “analytics” capabilities. Bannon said he and Johnson “texted a lot” and he had spoken to Johnson on the phone during this month’s London trip. Bannon said he had been in contact some time ago with Gove and had also been in touch with Rees-Mogg. Steven Hopkins, Huffpost News.

Annual Conference

Whitehall Online Rapid Response Unit

  • Jan.20.2018: Whitehall’s online rapid response unit will block fake news. The team, which will be based in the Cabinet Office, will be tasked with monitoring social media to identify and challenge disinformation. It follows a slew of false stories that were distributed on the internet even after they were shown to be false, many of which were damaging to the Conservative Party, the govt or both. "The govt is committed to tackling false information and the Government Communications Service plays a crucial role in this". The Times, Francis Elliott


Manifesto Pledges

  • Apr.01.2018: ‘Do nothing’ PM dodges 181 election vows, says Labour Theresa May has dropped or shelved 40% of her party’s 2017 election manifesto, prompting accusations that she has become the “do nothing” prime minister. Analysis by the Labour Party reveals that of the 447 commitments in the Tory manifesto, 181 have been ditched or kicked into the long grass — the equivalent of four promises a week since it was published last May. The abandoned commitments cover almost every area of policy, including health and social care, home affairs, transport, justice and the environment. The disclosure comes days after the government faced criticism for squandering taxpayers’ money on public consultations that have come to nothing. Ministers have commissioned more than 1,600 reviews since the Conservative Party’s 2015 election victory, an average of more than two every working day, according to reports. Caroline Wheeler, Tim Shipman, The Sunday Times.
  • GE-2017: 8 bn quid for the NHS over the nest 5 yrs + significant investment in capital, page 3, https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8093

Pledges

  • Jan.02.2019: Theresa May has broken her promise to the over-75s. The Tories pledged to protect free TV licences for the elderly in their 2017 election manifesto. Now they’re asking the BBC to override it. In a sheepish private message to the BBC a few days after their botched general election campaign of 2017, the Conservatives asked the corporation to simply ignore the fact that Theresa May had made a specific election promise to those millions of pensioners that they would continue to have a free TV licence. Gordon Brown, The Guardian.
  • Mar.30.2018: Ministers waste tens of millions of pounds on pledges. £Tens of millions of taxpayers’ money has been squandered by the govt on public consultations that have come to nothing. Ministers have commissioned more than 1,600 since the Conservative Party’s victory at the 2015 election, an average of more than two every working day. More than 500, almost a third, have not been completed, with officials saying that they are still "analysing feedback". These include at least 202 consultations started more than 2 years ago. Consultations can cost £40,000, prompting accusations that ministers are spending as much as £20m a year to delay difficult decisions and make empty promises. The Commons Public Administration Committee said that it would investigate the findings. The Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, its chairman, said: "There are many pieces of work that are going too slowly. It is important that we know if the govt cannot contain its current workload. The government should be more open about what it is prioritising". Consultations typically open for about 3 months, during which time the public can submit comments on proposals for new policy or legislation. Analysis by The Times shows there have been 1,661 consultations since the 2015 election. This is more than 2 every working day, or 11 per week. Out of these, 511 — more than 30% — have stopped seeking public opinion and officials are now "analysing feedback" with no govt response. Andrew Haldenby, director of the Reform think tank, said: "Consultations that go nowhere waste the time not only of govt officials but the many businesses and individuals that respond to them. Efficient govt is realistic about the amount of work it can undertake and able to make decisions". (more...') Paul Morgan-Bentley, Louis Goddard, The Times.
  • Mar.30.2018: Hundreds of govt pledges the Tories have quietly forgotten. Leaning on the dispatch box in the House of Commons, Sajid Javid made an impassioned pledge. It was Sept.2015 and the new business secretary had been questioned about high street restaurants taking tips from their waiters. Eight months later, Mr Javid released an official statement, headlined: "Govt takes action on tipping practices to secure a fair deal for workers". There would be an 8-week consultation seeking the public's views on proposals to ban restaurants from taking waiters' tips. The following day Anna Soubry, then minister for small business, congratulated Mr Javid "on rightly launching this consultation, as when someone pays a tip, they expect the person to receive it — all of it". That was almost 2 years ago, and yet the tips consultation page on the govt's website still reads: "We are analysing your feedback. Visit this page again soon to download the outcome." It is among 1,661 consultations that have been launched by the Tories since they formed the govt in 2015. (more...) Paul Morgan-Bentley, The Times.
  • Mar.10.2018: Eggs laid the foundations for clearer packaging. The govt last month made a commitment to clearer labelling in a consultation paper on the future of food and farming outside the EU. It said: "We want to make sure our high standards are easily understood. Retailers and assurance schemes offer consumers a choice of products to different welfare standards. However, it is not always clear to the consumer what standards underpin welfare terminology, and definitions on labels, such as 'grass fed', can vary between retailers. We are considering whether providing greater clarity of information to consumers could support higher welfare production". Linkback: Animal Welfare, Food Policy. The Times, Ben Webster

U-Turns

  • Mar.30.2018: Tory U-turn over housing payments. The government performed a U-turn yesterday on a controversial decision to scrap automatic housing benefit for people aged 18 to 21. Esther McVey, Work and Pensions secretary, said the reversal of the year-old policy was designed to reassure young people that support was in place if they required it. David Cameron first announced in 2014 his plan to end automatic entitlement to the housing element of universal credit. The proposal was expected to hit 10,000 young people and save up to £95 million by the end of 2020. After the policy’s introduction in Apr.2017 was accompanied by a series of exemptions, figures published in Jan.2018 revealed that only 90 people – or 4% of the 2,090 people who applied – were turned down for the benefit. Young people who were parents, carers or could not afford to live with their own parents, were still allowed to claim. (So they've scrapped it because it looks good and it's not saving any money)) Lucy Fisher, The Times.

Affiliated Groups / Campaigns

See also Conservative groupies – party factions and their vision for the future

Aberdeen University Conservative and Unionist Association

Activate

  • Apr.09.2018: We Snuck Into the 'Tory Momentum' Re-Launch Party. Conservative youth group Activate had an embarrassing birth, and their second try at reaching an audience didn't go much better. The mid-March launch event was well-planned and well-publicised. Billed as a "campaign launch" and a "networking event", raunchy adverts were targeted at Activate members on Facebook. A large room was booked in east London, including a bar with central London prices. Despite the best efforts of Activate’s digital marketing meme machine, only 28 people turned up to the launch event, including four Tory councillors, two undercover reporters and two women under the age of 50. The group had booked a room for 150 people, so attendees congregated awkwardly around the free prosecco. When it became clear that no more guests were arriving, middle-aged chairman Gary Markwell took the microphone. ... the solution offered was greater visibility of young Conservatives on the doorstep. The star of the night was Sam Ancliff, who runs Activate’s Twitter account and has appeared as the group's spokesman on the BBC and Russia Today. I had come to Activate's launch event to learn how they aimed to learn from Momentum’s success, and how far they had come since their first launch attempt. What I found was an organisation with under 1,000 members, focused on personal career development and social media marketing rather than grassroots activism or discussing which policies might make the world better. Campaigning efforts are focused almost entirely on social media marketing. "It's amazing what a response Tommy Robinson and Britain First get on Facebook, how they engage people," chairman Gary Markwell said. The reception finished an hour earlier than advertised, No one really seemed to know what they were doing, and the whole night resembled a networking event for potential council candidates more than a fiery Momentum meeting. The current Conservative Party is characterised by back-stabbing cabinet members and has a complete lack of vision beyond March, 2019. Activate was doomed from the start with the impossible mission of being the vehicle for a conservative mass movement that never existed. Ben van der Merwe, Vice News.

Campaign for Conservative Democracy

People:

  • Chairman: John E. Strafford
  • Deputy Chairmen: Derek Tipp, Mike Baker
  • Hon. Secretary: Caroline Strafford

Management Committee:

  • Alan Glass
  • Stephen Parker
  • Jo Summer
  • Julia Long
  • Trevor Egleton
  • Aug.20.2018: Conservative democracy campaigner: 'I welcome Leave.EU Brexiteers to Tory Party' John Strafford, Chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy has welcomed a Leave.EU campaign for Brexiteers to join the Tory Party. He said: “I completely welcome them, adding: “Let’s bring these UKIP members into the party, many of their policies are Conservative policies.” Strafford has written a letter to the Tory board calling for the party to change its leadership election rules so that it is easier for popular candidates like Boris Johnson to win. He called for the Prime Minister to resign. Stafford went on to say it is a huge problem that most Tory MPs are Remainers, yet a majority of Tory members are Brexiteers. Westmonster. See also Conservative Party Leadership Election - The Vote on new rules propsals.

Conservative Christian Fellowship

The CCF supports Christians in the Conservative Party; its purpose is to be a bridge between the Christian world and the Conservative Party.

See main article: Conservative Christian Fellowship

Conservative Future Scotland

Conservatives for Britain

A Eurosceptic political pressure group within the Conservative Party.

See main article: Conservatives for Britain

Conservatives for Liberty

The mission of Conservatives for Liberty is to promote and spread libertarian, free-market, and socially liberal ideas within the grass roots membership of the Conservative Party and to provide a voice for these people so as to push the party in a more libertarian direction. ref. website
Member of the Atlas Network

Cornerstone Group

A group of Conservative MPs dedicated to the traditional values which have shaped the British way of life throughout the country’s history. They believe in the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, her culture and her nation’s sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state.

See main article: Cornerstone Group

Freer Campaign

  • Mar.30.2018: Short Shrift. Liz Truss and Michael Gove represented the Cabinet at the launch of Freer, a new movement for Tory millennials, which was just as much fun as it sounds. Introducing the event, Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said that since the speakers all believed in efficiency, they would keep their speeches to three minutes rather than a Castro-like three hours. "That’s my only communist joke this evening," he added. "I tend to find that jokes about communism are better in theory than in practice". Patrick Kidd, The Times.
  • Mar.18.2018: Rust Belt Tories to woo millennials in Freer campaign. A group of “Rust Belt Tory” MPs who won their seats in Labour heartlands are to launch the Freer campaign this week telling Theresa May how to appeal to young voters. The MPs will say the generation believes in personal freedom and can be won over if the Conservatives offer them social freedoms as well as economic liberalism. The group will be run by Lee Rowley and Luke Graham. The campaign is backed by the cabinet minister Liz Truss. Tim Shipman, The Times.

No Turning Back

Thatcherite faction founded in 1985 to defend Margaret Thatcher's free-market reforms. Chaired by John Redwood. ref

Onward

See main article: Onward

Scottish Conservatives

  • Nov.30.2018: Labour benefactor Lord Sainsbury donates £25,000 to Scottish Conservatives MP. Lord Sainsbury of Turville, who has gifted millions of pounds to Jeremy Corbyn’s party has donated £25,000 to the Scottish Tories. The Times understands that it is intended to aid Luke Graham, the Ochil and South Perthshire MP. A source said. “[Lord Sainsbury] was impressed by Luke’s liberal outlook. He has funded Labour members and people of no party at all, so this isn’t particularly out of character.” Since being elected, Mr Graham, a parliamentary private secretary to the Cabinet Office, has been involved in lobbying for two city deals and undertaken work on renewable energy and rural bank services. Kieran Andrews, The Times.

Bad Councillors

Fiscal Policy

  • Lots of good stuff in this post; will have to look it all up though. Cameron was PM 2010–2016.
  • Mar.30.2015: The Conservative’s negative campaign strategy: "share the lies and win a prize". The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that David Cameron has presided over an economy with the weakest productivity record of any govt since WW2, and revealed that output per worker fell again in the final three months of 2014. Politics and Insights, Kitty S Jones
  • Jul.08.2015: Policy paper: Bank Levy: rate reduction. Banks should continue to make a fair contribution in respect of the potential risks they pose to the UK financial system and wider economy. As the banking sector recovers and profitability improves, the govt believes it is now appropriate to reform how banks are taxed. The govt will reduce the rate at which the Bank Levy is charged and introduce a surcharge on the profits of banking companies. The govt will also set the rate at which the Bank Levy is charged for the next 6 years. It is estimated that the revenue raised by the surcharge will offset Bank Levy reductions over the forecast period. Gov.uk, '

How the Conservatives Buy Votes

Funding and Donations

Conservative Party Donors

  • Henry Angest, chief executive of the Arbuthnot Banking Group, Everyday Loans Ltd (74.8%); former Conservative party treasurer, has contributed £7m in loans and donations.
  • Adrian Beecroft runs Dawn Capital Investments, a private investors fund, which has a major stake in Wonga, one of Britain’s best-known and fastest growing payday lenders. Beecroft is also a govt adviser. He has donated almost £800,000 since 2006; he contributed over £100,000 in Dec.2012. Wonga’s turnover has trebled to almost £185m in the last year.
  • Roger Gabb donated £500,000 to the Tories in 2006. He is a major shareholder in Cambridge Analytica's parent, SCL Group.[1]
  • Midlands Industrial Council donated £3 million between 2001-2009.[2]
  • Dolar Popat donated around £220,000 between 2004–2009.[3]
  • Lord Nash donated £21,000 to Andrew Lansley in Nov.2009.[4]
  • Dec.22.2018: Friends Like These. One of the biggest recent gifts to the Tory party comes from a company owned by the Egyptian billionaire Sawiris family who have ‘interesting’ business links. Issue 1486, Private Eye.
  • May.13.2018: The Rich List: At last, the self-made triumph over old money. In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research, the shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett will claim that our annual ranking of Britain’s wealthiest men and women “exposes a warped system in which a super-rich elite runs rings around the rest of us”. Over the past year — for the first time — just 1 of the 50 largest political donations from Rich Listers went to Labour. The Conservatives attracted 95.3% of the £16.1m gifted by the 50 biggest political donors in 2017, according to a Sunday Times analysis of Electoral Commission accounts. Labour attracted a record low of £233,000 in donations from Rich Listers last year, down from the £5.994m peak recorded in 2007 under the leadership of Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown. Trickett said: “The Tories’ billionaire friends give them money, and are gifted tax cuts worth £tens of billions, paid for off the back of the rest of us.” Robert Watts, The Sunday Times.

References

  1. ^ SCL Group’s founders were connected to royalty, the rich and powerful. David Brown, The Times, Mar.21.2018.
  2. ^ PR for the rich. Clifford Singer, Red Pepper, Dec.03.3009.
  3. ^ Tycoon who gave Tories £200k nominated for a peerage by David Cameron. Gerri Peev, The Mail Online, May.27.2010.
  4. ^ Andrew Lansley bankrolled by private healthcare provider. Holly Watt, Rosa Prince, The Telegraph, Jan.14.2010.

Articles

  • Jan.12.2021: Owner of Tory donor company chaired firm linked to Russian corruption allegations. Viktor Fedotov, a Russian tycoon whose company has donated £1m to the Conservative party, was chairman of two Russian companies profiting from a state-funded pipeline project mired in fraud, costing the state vast sums. Fedotov is the ultimate owner of Squind Ltd, which is seeking ministerial approval for a £1.2bn energy infrastructure project, the building of an underwater power cable running from Portsmouth to France. Since gaining British citizenship in 2011, Temerko has donated just under £700,000 to the Tory party. Patrick Elliot, Franz Wild, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
  • Aug.22.2018: Labour raised and spent £10m more than the Tories last year. Labour raised a record £56m last year and spent almost £10m more than the Conservatives, who raised £46m, beating its own record. As both parties raised money to fight an unexpected general election, Jeremy Corbyn’s party received £55.7m, £4.5m more than its previous highest tally of £51.2m in 2015. The party spent £54.3m, while the Conservatives spent £44.9m. Labour, whose membership has surged dramatically since Mr Corbyn stood for leader in 2015, received £16m from membership subscriptions, £2m more than the last year. Conservative income from membership fees almost halved, falling from £1.46m to £835,000. This drop is complicated by the fact that the central Conservative Party only takes a small proportion of the joining fee if somebody signs up to a local Conservative association. Legacy payments from dead Conservative donors were double those from living members, with £1,697,000 paid in legacies. Labour’s finances were bolstered by £7.4m of “Short money” — public funding given to opposition parties. Spending by all political parties rose 30% in 2017 compared with the year before, the Electoral Commission’s figures show. Because of the snap general election, parties spent nearly £28m more than in 2016. Income rose by 24%, or £24m. A Labour spokesman said: “Unlike the Tories, who rely on a few super-rich donors to bankroll them, we’re proud to be powered by small donations from hundreds of thousands of people across the country.” Henry Zeffman, The Times.
  • Mar.11.2018: Tories break Theresa May's vow to ban Russian donors. Russian oligarchs and their associates have registered donations of more than £820,000 to the Conservative Party since Theresa May became prime minister. May promised to distance her party from Russian donors when she took office, insisting there would not be a "business as usual" relationship with Moscow. However, the party has declared donations worth £826,100 from Russian-linked supporters since Jul.2016. Last night May was under pressure to return the cash. Marina Litvinenko, widow of former Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed by the Kremlin in London in 2006, said: "These donations are not just from the heart and for charitable reasons. They are all calculated". The PM shocked her colleagues by silencing Boris Johnson in cabinet on Tuesday when he said Russia was responsible for the poisoning. The Tories have received more than £3m from Russian-linked tycoons and their companies, as well as from lobbyists for Moscow since their return to government in 2010. (lots more re who donated how much etc.) Linkbacks: Lubov Chernukhin, New Century Media, Gerard Lopez of Rise Capital, Alexander Temerko of Yukos, Andrey Pavlov todo w/fraud, ex-MI6 Andrew FultonPowerbase-graphic.svg of corporate investigators GPW Ltd, CTF Corporate & Financial Communications, Lord Goldsmith, Lynton Crosby of CTF Partners, Adrian Flook, Nia Griffith, Andrew Barrand is board member of Westminster-Russia Forum, Philip Hammond, Kevin Foster. Caroline Wheeler, Andrew Gilligan, The Times.
  • Feb.11.2018: Tories accept £30,000 from Vladimir Putin's crony to dine with Defence Secretary. The donation by Lubov Chernukhin comes just a fortnight after Gavin Williamson said a Russian cyber attack on Britain's electricity supply could kill thousands. The Tories have accepted £30,000 from the wife of a former crony of Vladimir Putin to dine with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Mr Williamson will give Mrs Chernukhin a private tour of Churchill’s War Rooms in Whitehall. Banker Mrs Chernukhin previously successfully bid £160,000 at a Tory fundraiser to play tennis with Boris Johnson, and also paid £20,000 to dine with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in Edinburgh. Andrew Gregory, The Mirror.
  • Dec.21.2017: 'Russian spy in Downing Street': Ukrainian interpreter in Theresa May talks accused of espionage for Moscow. A senior Ukrainian govt interpreter who attended sensitive security talks with Theresa May inside Downing Street has been arrested for allegedly spying for the Kremlin. Ukraine’s security service on Thursday said it had arrested Stanislav Yezhov and opened a treason investigation, five months after he accompanied the country's Prime Minister on an official visit to London. Mr Yezhov’s wife is a Russian citizen and a declaration he filed in March about his family's property revealed significant financial ties to the country. Alec Luhn, Ben Farmer, Kate McCann, The Telegraph.
  • 'Putin crony' banker Lubov Chernukhin gifts Tories £161,000. Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to one of Vladimir Putin's former finance ministers, gave £161,600 to the Conservative Party. The Tories have previously insisted that Chernukhin, now a British citizen, is not a "Putin crony". Electoral Commission records show Chernukhin, a banker, was declared an "impermissible donor" in 2012 when she attempted to give £10,000 to the Tories. Since then, however, she has made donations to the party worth more than £514,000, which have all been accepted. She is one of 27 elite donors who account for more than half of the £6.2m raised by the Tory party since the general election in June. Jon Trickett, Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: "Theresa May said... she would not be driven by the interests of the rich and powerful. That couldn’t be further from the truth — since the last election she has become more dependent than ever on a tiny group of elite donors that pay huge sums of money for privileged access to her and cabinet ministers". Caroline Wheeler, The Times.
  1. FatCat shareholders in the company Circle Health – the first private firm to take over an NHS hospital – have given the Conservatives over £1.4m. Overall, David Cameron's party has been given more than £10m from those with links to private health. Tom McTague, The Mirror.

Expenses

Racism / AntiSemitism

  • Jul.12.2018: Tory MP Michael Fabricant ‘should resign’ after posting ‘vile racist’ image of pig mounting Sadiq Khan. Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has been branded ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobic’, with many calling on him to resign or be sacked, after the Lichfield Tory shared an image on Twitter which appeared to depict the London Mayor Sadiq Khan – who is a Muslim – being mounted by a pig. Fabricant posted the tweet, which also featured an image of Donald Trump laughing and Sadiq Khan’s head the body of an inflatable pig, in response to fierce criticism of the US President’s visit to the UK. Sadiq Khan recently faced criticism from right-wingers after he granted permission for protestors to fly an inflatable blimp depicting Donald Trump as a baby. Fabricant’s tweet, however, contained an image of Donald Trump laughing in front of Parliament, with two inflatable pig balloons in the sky – one of which had Sadiq Khan’s head superimposed onto it whilst the other appeared to be mounting him. Disgusting. Tweeting racism is not a good look for a Conservative MP when there is a real problem with Islamophobia in the Tory party. The Lichfield Tory has form when it comes to offensive tweets: once tweeting that he’d like to punch a female journalist in the throat, as well refusing to apologise after branding a teenage student a ‘twat’. (links). Following numerous Tory politicians and candidates being suspended for Islamophobia and abuse during the run up to May’s Local Elections, former Tory Minister Baroness Warsi revealed in April that there were now weekly incidents of Islamophobia in the party. Baroness Warsi’s incredible revelation led to the Muslim Council of Britain reiterating their demand for an investigation into anti-Muslim hatred within the Conservative Party. It took a formal demand from the both the MCB and the Conservative Muslim Forum for the mainstream media to finallu bother to report the story. Should the BBC fail to report it, it will stand in complete contrast to their stance on Labour MP Naz Shah, who the BBC decided to refer to yesterday as the ‘Anti-Semitism row MP’, despite the storm around her historic tweet now being more than two years old. Tom D. Rogers, Evolve Politics.
  • Aug.02.2018: BBC silent as top Tories exposed holding secret meetings with neo-Nazi leader accused of antisemitism. I was wondering what the Tories had been doing while the focus was on the fabricated anti-Semitism debate in the Labour Party. The mainstream media’s wall-to-wall coverage of the seemingly never-ending Labour anti-Semitism saga shows that they *clearly* must care about the issue a great deal. However, given the unprecedented coverage they’ve given to Labour’s ongoing issues surrounding antisemitism, it seems slightly odd that the same people have offered nothing but eerie silence regarding the fact that three top Conservative politicians have been exposed holding secret meetings with an openly racist White Supremacist neo-Nazi leader who is accused of outright antisemitism, and whose supporters were recorded chanting “Jews will not replace us“. Very odd indeed. In contrast to Labour’s extremely nuanced debate around the precise definition of antisemitism – one that has now, incredibly, led to both a Jewish member of the party being suspended for alleged anti-Jewish hatred, as well as a now-deceased Corbyn-supporting Holocaust survivor whose parents were both murdered by the Nazis being labelled an antisemite by the mainstream media – the debate around the Tories’ dealings with actual Jew-haters are far more clear cut. Steve Bannon is a White Supremacist neo-Nazi leader whose supporters hold views that, if they were to be implemented, could easily lead to another Jewish genocide. This disgusting racist is the very person who top Conservative politicians Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Jacob Rees-Mogg have just held secret meetings with. But you probably wouldn’t know it from the complete and utter silence from the BBC. Mike Sivier, Vox Political. >> Evolve Politics article
  • Jun.09.2018: Pro-Tory Facebook group filled with Islamophobic abuse. A controversial pro-Conservative Facebook group has been exposed as containing Islamophobic, homophobic and racist comments about public figures including Sadiq Khan, Diane Abbott, anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller and Ruth Davidson. A 42-page dossier of abusive material from the Conservative Debating Forum, a 2,700-strong Facebook group that can be joined by invitation or by permission of moderators, has been collected by the left-leaning Red Roar blog. It found that several sitting Tory MPs, as well as dozens of Tory councillors, were members of the closed group. Tories listed included Jacob Rees-Mogg, George Freeman, Glyn Davies, Andrew Rosindell, but all said they had no knowledge of being signed up and left after being alerted to the group’s content. The Tories have recently faced calls to tackle Islamophobia in the party. Former cabinet minister Sayeeda Warsi has backed an independent inquiry, a demand raised by the Muslim Council of Britain. Michael Savage, The Guardian.
  • Jun.03.2018: The Tories haven’t just popularised Islamophobia – they’ve gentrified it. The lack of pressure on Theresa May to act is an alarming indication of where rightwing politics is taking Britain. The Conservative party has a problem with Muslims. It is not a few bad apples; not a few social media posts taken out of context. The problem has been growing unchecked for years, despite warnings by Muslim party members, and has now become so normalised that incidents are being reported with alarming frequency. Muslim Council of Britain. ... Nesrine Malik, The Guardian.
  • May.06.2018: Tories may investigate councillor reinstated for Pendle election, says Greg Clark. Rosemary Carroll, a former Conservative councillor who shared a racist joke but was readmitted to the party so that it could take control of a Lancashire council could face a new investigation, the business secretary, Greg Clark, had said. Conservatives in Pendle were accused of cynicism after it emerged that Rosemary Carroll had been brought back into the party fold after Thursday’s local election to give them a one-seat majority. Carroll was suspended from the council for 3 months last June after sharing a joke on Facebook that compared Asian people to dogs. She sat on the council as an independent after the suspension. At the local election count, however, she was seen wearing a Conservative rosette. Carroll, who was elected in 2016, was not among the councillors who needed to stand again this year. Conservative chair Brandon Lewis said he would look at the case, but seemed to indicate that Carroll’s reinstatement was not necessarily a problem. The Conservative leader on the council, Paul White, said Carroll’s post had been shared in error and that she had apologised and taken diversity training. Peter Waler, The Guardian.
  • Apr.26.2018: Tories Suspend "Antisemitic Tweet" Canidate. Last night, the SKWAWKBOX revealed the antisemitic, homophobic and sexist comments tweeted by Conservative local election candidate George Stoakley. contacted Conservative headquarters (CCHQ) to inform them of the comments and invite comment. A CCHQ spokesperson responded. With the ballot taking place a week from now, it appears the Tories will be one candidate down in South Cambridgeshire, although Mr Stoakley may still stand as an independent. The mainstream media still do not appear to be paying any attention to the story. argh, The SkwawkBox.
  • Apr.06.2018: Torrents of Online Tory Hate, Venom, Homophobia, Misogyny, Sexism, Xenophobia, Racism, Islamophobia and more. here is some equally disturbing content, expertly gathered by Chelley Ryan. It’s a relentless stream of venom, targeting prominent Labour politicians and some of their backers, much of it originating from supporters of aspiring Leader of Her Majesty’s Oppositon (one day), Jacob Rees-Mogg. On this evidence, the Rees-Mogg stable appears to be a very dirty backwater and a hotbed of unaddressed cultural backwardness. If this only took an hour to put together, we’re getting the very strong impression that there must be a helluva LOT more of this toxic stuff out there, doing a great deal of damage, but not being reported on by the Tory press, media or the BBC, who as we all know prefer to play piley-on rather than do their jobs and give the public a balanced version of events. Wirral In It Together.
  • Apr.06.2018: A Dossier Of Racism In The Conservative Party. A dossier of racism in the Conservative Party. This dossier was put together from news reports in the local and national media and is far from comprehensive. But it shows is that the Conservative Party is regularly beset by allegations of racism against its MPs, councillors and candidates. It's also clear that only rarely do such instances – even when particularly offensive – result in the person being expelled from the Party. Rachel Swindon.
  • Jan.25.2018: @Redsfan1977 posted a Twitter thread listing Tory racist issues (with pics). @Redsfan1977, Twitter.
  • @EL4JC made a short video of some of them. Video saved as "Tories-racism.mp4". (tag=FactCheck}
  • (date?): Boris Johnson published articles that said "blacks have lower IQs" and that Caribbeans were "multiplying like flies" whilst editor of The Spectator. Boris Johnson apologised in 2008, but no disciplinary action was taken.
  • Go through "A Dossier on Racism in the Conservative Party", Unite the Union

2017

  • Jul.10.2017: MP Anne Marie Morris suspended for racist remark. Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot, used the phrase "nigger in the woodpile" at an event in London to describe the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. The Conservative Party later confirmed she had had the whip withdrawn. BC News, '
  • Aug.23.2017: New Scottish Tory MP slammed for anti-Gypsy attack. Douglas Ross has been slammed by Amnesty International and Traveller groups after saying that his top-priority is "tougher enforcement against Gypsies". openDemocracy, Adam Ramsay
  • Aug.22.2017: Anger as Tory councillors in anti-Catholic and racist tweets row are re-instated to party. Robert Davies was suspended after a series of tweets he posted in 2013 below a picture of black people waiting to board a plane were unearthed. One read: "In the interests of security keep your loin cloths with you at all times. Spears go in the overhead locker." Holyrood, Kevin Schofield
  • Apr.15.2017: Scottish Tories engulfed in racism scandal with at least seven council candidates now in the spotlight. An SNP source said they were representative of the "systemic extremism" at the heart of Davidson's party. The Tories are once again arguing that EU nationals shouldn’t be allowed a voice in Scottish public life, having previously tried to silence Christian Allard on the basis of his nationality. The Tories are quickly becoming Scotland's Ukip. Roxana Iancu, Glasgow Govan candidate, home to Scotland's biggest mosque, called for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to be hanged for her pro-Islam politics. George McIntyre told Muslims concerned about gelatine in flu inoculations to "shut your whinging [sic] mouths, no wonder people get sick to the back teeth of you! If you are that way minded go and live in a Muslim country where you do not get any free preventive medication". Todd Ferguson, Dalry and West Kilbride candidate, was forced to apologise for xenophobic remarks as he seemed to suggest the views of his SNP rival were irrelevant as she comes from Holland. Renfrewshire council wannabe Neill Graham has been forced to deny being a member of the BNP. The National, Andrew Learmouth
  • Apr.06.2017: The Tories are letting this guy get away with sharing Britain First and EDL propaganda. Ron McKail, councillor for the Westhill ward in Aberdeenshire has been sharing propaganda from the extreme-right hate group Britain First and the English nationalist street thugs the EDL. The party have accepted his woeful excuse and non-apology and are letting him continue seeking re-election in the local elections. AnotherAngryVoice, '

2016

  • Sept.27.2016: GETTING HIS GOAT UP Boris Johnson faces diplomatic storm as he jets into Turkey after calling President Erdogan a "w*****" who has sex with goats. But he faces a stormy visit after spending the entire Brexit campaign warning UK voters about the huge risks of Turkey becoming an EU member state. And in May he won the Spectator's "most offensive Erdogan poem" competition. The limerick joked about Turkish President Recep Erdogan having sex with a goat. The Sun, Steve Hawkes
  • Apr.23.2016: 'Nasty' Boris Johnson suggests 'part-Kenyan' Barack Obama has a grudge against Britain for the Empire. Johnson suggested a bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office had been removed around the time Mr Obama moved in. He added: "Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President's ancestral dislike of the British Empire, of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender." The Mirror, Dan Bloom
  • Apr.2016: Boris Johnson asserted that President Obama had an "ancestral dislike" of Britain, and described him as "part-Kenyan", in an article for The Sun. No disciplinary action was taken or investigation.
  • Apr.2016: Fareham councillor David Whittingham mimicked foreign accents, said he didn't want foreigners living in his road, and made comments and behaviour that were "racist in nature". He was kicked out of the Conservative Party in Apr.2016.
  • Apr.2016: Abdul Zaman, deputy chairman of Bradford Conservative Association, made inappropriate comments about Jews and women while speaking at a launch event for the local election campaign.
  • Mar.2016: Councillor Mary Kilpatrick, deputy provost of South Ayrshire Council, backed attacks on fasting during Ramadan and calls to outlaw Muslim veils. The Conservative Party merely issued a reminder to all its elected representatives over online behaviour.
  • 2016: David Cameron used inflammatory language about refugees by referring to people in the camps at Calais as a "bunch of migrants".

2015

  • Jan.18.2015: The Conservative Party are 'essentially racist' according to former Tory aide. Derek Laud, who is also a friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, slammed the Tory party for its 2013 "Go home or face arrest" posters targeting illegal immigrants. In his book "The problem with Immigrants", Mr Laud said that the posters were "essentially racist", before saying "[Cameron] knows it. We all know it. They are the ultimate racists because they deal in stereotypes." The Express, Rebecca Perring
  • May.25.2015: EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote. Christian Allard, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, would be disqualified. The Independent, Lizzie Dearden
  • Apr.2015: Gulzabeen Afsar, candidate for Derby Council, said she would never support "the Jew" in reference to Ed Miliband. Cllr Afsar apologised, and was later suspended by the Conservative Party.
  • May.2015: Councillor Bob Frost was in trouble again for tweeting that a Big Issue seller should "f**k off back to Romania". He was suspended pending investigation.
  • May.2015: Councillor Thomas Crockett, for Maida Vale in Westminster, compared some young locals with the Hitler Youth. He apologised and no disciplinary action was taken.
  • May.2015: Bob Fahey, Tory Councillor for Leicestershire, referred to a fellow councillor as a "Chink". This is no record of any disciplinary action and apparently remains a Conservative councillor.
  • Sept.2015: Gordon MacAskill, councillor for East Renfrewshire and former parliamentary candidate, tweeted: "Scenes we'd like to see: the refugees Nicola invites into her house are Daesh moles”. He was suspended by the Party, but has seemingly been reinstated.
  • Dec.2015: Oliver Letwin, then adviser to Margaret Thatcher, made a series of racist remarks following the 1985 riots, describing black people as having "bad moral attitudes", and that schemes to help black people would be spent in "the disco and drugs trade", and and employment programmes would only see black people "graduate … into unemployment and crime". The Conservative Party took no disciplinary action and Mr Letwin remains a government minister.

2014

  • 2014: Dover councillor Bob Frost referred to the prospective Middle Eastern buyers of Dover port as "sons of camel drivers". No disciplinary action was taken and Charlie Elphicke defended him saying "I think the Labour Party is trying to victimise Cllr Frost".
  • Apr.2014: Barnet councillor Tom Davey complained about equal opportunities. He was accused of being not fit for office after a Facebook post came to light in which he suggested it might be easier to find a job if he were "a black female wheelchair-bound amputee who is sexually attracted to other women". No disciplinary action was taken by the Conservative Party.
  • May.04.2014: Tory candidate quits party after posting anti-Islamic and homophobic Tweets. David Bishop, a Council candidate in Brentwood, Essex, reposted a tweet on the arrest of four Muslim men over the rape of a 14-year-old girl before adding "#Islam, the religion of peace & rape". Other posts made by Mr Bishop include "it's good to be anti-Islam", "How CAN a gay guy keep a straight face?" and "A lesbian kiss on bbceastenders before the watershed... okay BBC diversity soldiers we get it, now stop trying so hard #pathetic." The Mirror,
  • Aug.2014: UCL Conservative Society was under scrutiny for a series of anti-semitic, Islamophobic and racist remarks, fostering a culture of discrimination and bullying. One comment: "Jews own everything, we all know it's true. I wish I was one, but my nose isn't long enough". In Oct.2014 after an investigation by UCL Union, the Conservative Society was ordered to apologise.
  • Oct.2014: Maidenhead Councillor Alan Mellins complained about Travellers and said the solution was to "execute them". He apologised and then later resigned as a councillor over the incident. The Conservative Party took no disciplinary action.

2013

  • Jan.2013: Enfield Councillor Chris Joannides shared a Facebook post comparing burkas to black bin bags. He was not prosecuted but he was suspended from the party for a year for bringing the party into disrepute. He denied being Islamophobic. pic here

2012

  • Jun.2012: Aidan Burley was sacked from his role as PPS to then Transport Secretary Justine Greening. In 2014 an internal Tory Party inquiry cleared him of any racism or anti-semitism.
  • Nov.23.2012: Lynton Crosby: the 'evil genius' taking Cameron into bare-knuckle politics. In the Mail on Sunday: PM's new fixer in racist rant at Muslims. Lynton Crosby urged subordinates (Boris Johnson) not to get hung up on seeking support from "fucking Muslims". The Guardian, Hugh Muir

2011

  • Jan.2011: Baroness Warsi gave a speech about rising Islamophobia. Lord Tebbit wrote a blog dismissing her case and saying "a period of silence from the Baroness might not come amiss".
  • Aug.2011: Dover Councillor Bob Frost described people involved in the riots as "Jungle Bunnies". He lost his job as a Maths teacher, but the Conservative Party only suspended him for two months, readmitting him in Nov.2011.
  • Dec.2011: Aidan Burley, MP for Canock Chase, helped organise a Nazi-themed stag party.

2010

  • Jan.16.2010: Tory councillor in row over racist slur. Councillor Smith Benson has caused outrage after telling local leaders their town has "too many Pakis". He was in a committee meeting when he tried to sum up what was wrong with the area. Council Leader Tony Beckett refused to discipline him and said "The Labour Party to say he should be sacked for making a sweeping statement is a bit strong". The Mirror, '

2009

  • Apr.25.2009: Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa. David Cameron accepted an all-expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa while Nelson Mandela was still in prison in 1989. The trip was funded by Strategy Network International (SNI), created specifically to lobby against the imposition of sanctions on South Africa. The trip was offered by Derek laud, who was employed by SNI. The Independent, Mary Dejevsky
  • Mar.01.2009: Tory gorilla jibe storm. Bolton councillor Bob Allen has been suspended by party bosses after posting a photo of a Gorilla alongside website comments by Muslim rival Cllr Ebrahim Adia, a university lecturer. He plans to apologise after being rapped by his own party. He said: "I can understand how it looks, but it is being a bit politically correct". The Mirror, Sunday People
  • Sept.11.2009: Tory councillor suspended over Romanian knife slur. A Tory councillor who claimed Romanians would "stick a knife in you as soon as look at you" has been suspended from his post. Robert Fraser made the remark at a public meeting to discuss proposals to build a traveller site near Groby, Leics. Leicestershire County Council has suspended him for a month. The Mirror,
  • Nov.2009: MP David Wilshire said the expose of MPs expenses left them treated like Jews in Nazi Germany, stating "Branding a whole group of people as undesirables led to Hitler’s gas chambers".
  • Nov.2009: Orpington Councillor Peter Hobbins complained that none of the prospective parliamentary candidates "has a normal English name", questioning "Why are the Candidates Department so keen on these foreign names?" He was suspended by the party.

2008

  • Jun.22.2008: Boris Johnson aide resigns over 'racist' comment. When it was put to him in an interview for a website that Mr Johnson's victory would trigger a mass exodus of Caribbean migrants, deputy chief of staff James McGrath said: "Well, let them go if they don't like it here." The Telegraph, Laura Clout
  • Apr.16.2008: Why the BNP backs Boris. Only two years ago, Boris Johnson's writings were peppered with talk of the "paranoia of the Muslim mind", of Islam's "medievalism", "heartlessness" and "disgusting arrogance". Islamophobia was, he maintained, "a natural reaction" to "any non-Muslim reader of the Qur'an". We must, therefore, dispose of the "first taboo", he counselled, and accept "that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem". Islamophobia Watch, '
  • Jan.23.2008: Johnson's 'piccaninnies' apology. Boris Johnson wrote: "It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies, ... with "watermelon smiles", in a Daily Telegraph column in 2002. The Guardian, Owen Bowcott, Sam Jones

2005

2001

  • In 2001, former Tory Health Secretary Andrew Lansley declared there to be "endemic racism" in the party, adding: "it's in the system."

2000

  • Nov.04.2000: Cult of Victimhood. "Orientals ... have larger brains and higher IQ; blacks are at the other pole." "...Whites and East Asians have wider hips than blacks... because they give birth to larger-brained babies." "It is the cult of victimology, one that treats 'victimhood not as a problem to be solved, but as an identity to be nurtured'. "...The Bell Curve, a book that scientifically proved that blacks do have lower IQs than whites." The Spectator, Boris Johnson

GE-1964

Labour's victory in the 1964 election had been predicted, and Patrick Gordon Walker, who had been Shadow Foreign Secretary for 18 months, was expected to hold on to his seat. Instead, Peter Griffiths gained the seat for the Conservatives on a 7% swing in a county borough that had the highest percentage of recent immigrants to England. Racial discrimination was common in the constituency and nationally; the local Labour club operated a colour bar.
In what Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson later described as an "utterly squalid" campaign, Conservative party members were accused of having used the slogan "If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Liberal or Labour". Colin Jordan, a British Neo-Nazi and leader of the British Movement, claimed that members of his group had produced the initial slogan as well as spread the poster and sticker campaign; Jordan's group in the past had also campaigned on other slogans, such as: "Don't vote - a vote for Tory, Labour or Liberal is a vote for more Blacks!" Although Griffiths himself did not coin the phrase or approve its use, he refused to disown it. "I would not condemn any man who said that", The Times quoted him as saying. "I regard it as a manifestation of popular feeling". He denied that there was any "resentment in Smethwick on the grounds of race or colour".

  • Oct.15.2014: Britain’s most racist election: the story of Smethwick, 50 years on. In 1964, the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick was the most colour-conscious place in the country, and the scene of a Tory campaign that successfully exploited anti-immigrant sentiment. How has the town changed in the years since Malcolm X was inspired to visit in solidarity with its minorities? The Guardian, Stuart Jeffries

Austerity

  • Mar.04.2018: A triumph for George Osborne’s austerity plan? Not when our social fabric is in tatters. George Osborne, cheered on by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, basked in self-admiration last week. The impact of balancing the current budget has fallen most severely on women and low-income groups, the nurses, carers, teachers and lecturers who deliver the civilisational services that make our society decent and stable. But there has been another long-term and deeply damaging impact: the decline of Britain’s local democracy and accountability. Osborne, the most political and cynical of chancellors, shifted the worst impact of current budget cuts away from ministers and MPs and on to the shoulders of local politicians in every part of the country. It is doubtful that Britain’s local govts will ever recover. There is growing consensus among economists that Osborne’s post-crisis austerity programme deepened and lengthened Britain’s post-crisis recession. Public sector net investment was allowed to fall from £60bn in 2010 to £35bn in 2016. George Osborne has every reason to be cocky and audacious.h Thanks to the largesse of a Russian oligarch and ex-KGB agent, he has a platform (and generous salary) at the Evening Standard and has used it to attack the politicians and party that raised him to high office. In addition to making lucrative speeches, has a second job. For just £13,000 a day, he stands fearlessly between a US global corporation – BlackRock – and Britain's regulatory democracy. BlackRock manages $5.1 trn of savings largely accumulated by the world’s pensioners or would-be pensioners – and Osborne's appointment will no doubt help to keep policymakers and regulators at bay. The Guardian, Ann Pettifor
  • Useful section in this article, "What is austerity?"

Policies

Digital Policy

  • Aug.17.2018: Home Office opens AWS cash firehose a little wider with police IT deal. Contract notice reveals yet another UK.gov systems migration to Bezos cloud. The Home Office wants to dump all of Britain’s national-level police IT onto Amazon Web Services' public cloud. The Home Office explicitly refused to say how much they want to pay for this. The explicit naming of AWS as preferred end supplier equates to one more chunk of the public sector that is being served by the cloud giant; and comes a week after The Reg exclusively revealed that head of tech for UK.gov Liam Maxwell is set to join AWS from Oct.2018. According to figures collated by TechMarketView, AWS was the fastest growing tech infrastructure provider in the UK in 2017, growing more than 40% year on year to £550m. A fifth of this was estimated to pertain to the public sector. The continued awarding of business to AWS will fuel critics of the Amazon's "tax-efficient accounting practices" - it turned over £98.8m in sales for 2017 - and paid £1.7m in tax. Handing more business to AWS also doesn’t play too well with the govt’s claims that it wants to procure 33% of its goods and services with SMEs. Gareth Corfield, The Register.

Housing Policy

See main article: Housing Policy

Agricultural Policy

See main article: Agricultural Policy

Nudge, not Push

Under David Cameron, the Conservatives adopted a policy of "nudging", ie. working with a sector to agree voluntary targets. Theresa May has continued with this policy, hence WRAP. The RSPB report is here, and here are WRAP's Courtauld Commitment pages

  • Sept.29.2016: Why the Plastic Bag Charge is Working. One year on, the policy been an overwhelming success. The govt’s original estimates were that total plastic bag use would fall by 58%, and by 81% at supermarkets. So far, so good: it looks like plastic bag use at supermarkets has in fact dropped by around 83%. And this is just one policy in one country – imagine if every country achieved the same success. The benefits could be massive. Now we know the policy works and results in no net costs to businesses, we should extend it to plastic bags in small and medium sized businesses, currently exempt for no good reason. Since 2005 the govt has worked with supermarkets and some food producers to agree voluntary targets for reducing food and packaging waste, an initiative named the Courtauld Commitment. These waste reduction targets are typically unambitious – a reduction of a few percentage points over several years – and have not always been met. Since it’s voluntary there are absolutely no consequences if businesses don’t meet the target. The problem is with the approach itself. A comprehensive study by the RPSB looking at the effectiveness of voluntary agreements concluded: "Over 80% of schemes were found to perform poorly on at least one key measure. The majority of schemes set unambitious targets, with many also failing to achieve "unambitious" targets. ... The research found nothing to support the claim that voluntary approaches can be an effective alternative to regulation." Stephen Devlin, New Economics Foundation.
  • Jan.07.2013: Nudge or push? Voluntary vs legislative approaches to public health. So the question is, do we adopt voluntary or legislative approaches? Certainly the voluntary approach seems to be the way things are headed. At a McCabe Centre workshop, the chair asked if anyone knew of a successful voluntary approach that had been rigorously independently evaluated and had a demonstrable impact on public health. No one did - though of course that doesn’t mean examples don’t exist. In principle it should be possible to achieve meaningful results with voluntary approaches if there is strong government leadership and industry cooperation. But in practice what seems more common is weak or uninspired leadership, unambitious targets and insufficiently stringent pledges, criticisms that have been leveled at both the Responsibility Deal in the UK and the European Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Dr Kate Allen, WCRFI.

Privatisation

  • Aug.18.2017: The Tories should stand up for free speech. In 1979, after two decades of incompetent state socialism and cynical trade union rapacity, the Tory Party spotted a winner in the theory of small states, free markets and privatisation. It worked brilliantly. But times have changed. Further privatisations are now unnecessary and unpopular, as witness this week’s Learndirect debacle (David Lidington at Justice, please note regarding the misguided scheme to privatise the collection of court fines, which has all the makings of a PR disaster). And the small state and the free market have, to put it mildly, taken a knock since Grenfell. The Conservative Woman, Andrew Tettenborn
  • Aug.08.2017: You Won't Believe What The Government Is About To Privatise Next. Now the Tories have taken another disgraceful step forward. But only when everyone is on holiday in a vain attempt to bury this bad news. This time, a highly sensitive part of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is about to be sold off to a private bidder (not necessarily the highest, of course). Enforcement officers, who are largely responsible for collecting court fines, have just been told their work is being outsourced. TruePublica, '
  • Oct.11.2016: Government Privatisation Of UK Forensics Service Condemned By MPs. The National Audit Office had warned “privatisation of forensic services posed a threat to justice and putting the work in police hands would be disastrous”. Last month, the MP’s Science and Technology Committee reported back their findings of the govt proposal to fully privatise the Forensics Service. In the end, the reason why this all happened in the first place was because in 2012 spending on forensic examinations had been cut by the govt by more than £20m and experts warned then of possible miscarriages of justice as police attempted to save money by carrying out work within their own laboratories. But why should a service such as this have made a profit in the first place? TruePublica,
  • Mar.03.2016: Mass privatisation masks Britain's failed economic policies. There is no doubt that throughout the last forty years or so neoliberalism has dominated govt, housing, transport, energy and the financial sector in Britain and subsequently impacted on society in highly destructive ways. (Financial crisis due to deregulation). The result today is that the current Conservative govt has focused on austerity and ‘'selling the silver' in its battle for economic resurrection. In 2013, George Osborne withheld £30 bn from the National Insurance fund that taxpayers contribute towards to be used only for social welfare. To fill the surging black hole of spiraling public indebtedness, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne is now pillaging state assets, built up over generations, to buy some time in the hope that his 'economic miracle' doesn’t evaporate. By the end of this year alone, Osborne will have sold £60 bn of state assets and by the end of this parliament (in 2020) that total will have reached a staggering £100 bn, not including buildings or land – more than Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown combined. 2015 saw the largest sale of state assets in a single year ever. TruePublica, Graham Vanbergen

Energy

  • Feb.13.2018: MPs call for energy bills price cap to cut costs by £300 a year after 12million families are ripped-off. Energy bills must be capped because households are being ripped, MPs said. They insisted urgent action was needed as suppliers have been overcharging. Labour MP Rachel Reeves said: ‘The energy market is broken’. The Commons business, energy and industry committee backed Theresa May’s manifesto pledge for a temporary, absolute cap. Customers are paying £1.4billion a year over the odds under the current system and around 12million are stuck on poor-value tariffs, according to the MPs’ report. {Note to me: they are going to have to cap energy prices because switching isn't working.} Daily Mail Online, John Stevens

Environment

See main article: Environmental Policy
  • Mar.24.2018: Can you dig it? Britain’s newest forest takes shape. Squads of schoolchildren armed with spades planted the first of more than 660,000 trees yesterday at what will become the largest new forest in England for 30 years. The scheme was only signed off by ministers in December and is intended to boost red squirrel numbers, store 120,000 tonnes of carbon and manage flood risks. ConFor, the confederation of Forest industries, said it planned to plant 65,000 trees by the end of April, which will be mainly sitka spruce, but also oak, birch, alder, western red cedar and noble fir. The Conservatives promised at GE-2015 to plant 11mn trees over 5 years, but the prime minister admitted in November that the government had only planted 2mn trees over the past two and a half years. Trees cover 13% of the UK land area, a lower proportion than the EU's average of 35%. In England the figure is 10%. Jerome Starkey, The Times.
  • Mar.03.2018: Green party says Tories' environment rhetoric is dangerous. Caroline Lucas derides ‘fluffy communications strategy’ and ‘inadequate’ action on plastics. The Guardian, Jessica Elgot
  • Jan.15.2018: [ http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-141_en.htm Companies are now banned from charging customers a fee for using credit cards. You can thank the EU Payment Services Directive (not Mrs May). ] @LiberalChiswick European Commission, '
    • But: "We don't take credit cards any more" response when trying to pay for heating oil over the phone. So that worked then #EU or @Conservatives, whichever of you wants the kudos from abolishing credit card fees. @TrevBurnip
    • But: Over the weekend a new #EU regulation came into effect around the fees charged for using debit & credit cards, ie they're now banned. However, most retailers now are applying a ‘transaction fee’ for all transactions, regardless, thus getting around the ban & therefore, rather than saving some consumers money, it is now costing all consumers more money to complete a transaction. I don’t see how this can be fair & it goes completely against the original intention. @JustEatUK announced this new policy already. 2M1K33EE
    • 2018.01.15: Theresa May ridiculed in European Parliament for claiming credit for EU regulations. Scrapping credit card charges and plastic bag fees were Brussels regulations. "Confusion is...widespread in Britain," said Mr Verhofstadt "Michael Gove has forgotten that the ban on plastic bags is an EU regulation. Mrs May doesn't know that the abolition of charges on credit cards is...a directive of the EU" The Independent, Jon Stone (Video w/Guy Verhofstadt)
    • 2018.01.14: Why do Tories say it's valid for them to take credit for EU directive on credit cards? Coz their MEPs voted for it: “We are fully represented and part of that process of making those decisions,” says party chair. So much for "EU is undemocratic" crap @MikeGalsworthy >> The Guardian.
  • Jan.11.2018: May's Green Vision: Don't Mention the Frackers. The Govt is keen for you to know that it loves trees and animals and clean seas. People facing the threat of fracking may not be so easily persuaded. Theresa May, not known for her green views, just delivered the first speech on the Environment by any PM since 2003. It heralded the unveiling of the latest Big Document from the Govt – the very long awaited 25 Year Environment Plan.[1] On the plus side, the rhetoric is indeed compelling. May promised to "eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within a quarter of a century", ie. by the year 2042. That feels like a loooong time. You’d also be within your rights to be sceptical about that word "avoidable". The truth is that within these Big Documents always lurks a Big Elephant: the Govt is loath to tell companies what to do. One glaring omission is fracking – not mentioned at all. ...Fracking is so nightmarishly unpopular precisely because it puts corporate profits ahead of local pride, democracy, and nature. New Economics Foundation, David Powell
  • Jan.11.2018: One of Theresa May's first acts as PM: to abolish the dept in charge of tackling climate change. Twitter, @Afzal4Forton
  • Jan.11.2018: Theresa May's tree planting can't hide the crisis facing the UK's ancient woodland. On Sunday, in a prelude to this week's historic release of the “25 Year Plan for the Environment”, she announced that the government will help create a new “Northern Forest”. This is a big win for forestry campaigners. The Woodland Trust and The Community Forests Trust have carefully developed the project together, and hope it will deliver major benefits – from flood reduction to increased biodiversity. According to the director of the Mersey Forest Trust, Paul Nolan, the new £5.7m of Defra funding is a vital first step towards meeting the scheme’s full, £500m, target. Yet Britain's real-world woods - our living, breathing capsules of sylvan time - are in crisis. Just 2% of the UK has tree-cover dating to 1600 or earlier and the Woodland Trust believes the overall decline to be so bad that England is entering a state of "deforestation". At Kew Gardens, researchers are resorting to preserving endangered species in seed banks. It is a concern that commentators and NGOs have raised, cautioning that any new tree planting must not be wielded as a form of compensation for (or a distraction from) the trees being lost to the govt’s development plans. HS2 threatens 35 ancient woodlands. The govt’s present National Planning Policy Framework allows developers to destroy ancient trees if they can demonstrate "sufficient need". Fracking too is a concern. Friends of the Earth, It is in this wider context that we should listen to May and Michael Gove announce their (overdue) "25 Year Plan for the Environment". The govt has backtracked on advice for ancient woodland protection, changing a section of the “Standing Advice” it issues to developers. Anna Bourke, The Guardian.
  • Jun.22.2017: Tories aim to block full EU ban on bee-harming pesticides. Conservative politicians are trying to stop a complete EU ban on bee-harming pesticides, despite the new environment secretary Michael Gove’s statement earlier this week, in which he said “I absolutely don’t want to water down” EU environmental protections. Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides but have been banned on flowering crops in the EU since 2013. However, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) found in 2016 that use of the pesticides on all crops poses a high risk to bees. As a result, the European Commission has proposed a ban on all uses outside greenhouses. On Thursday, an attempt by the Conservative MEP Julie Girling to block the full ban will be voted on by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee. The Guardian asked DEFRA if Gove backed Girling’s attempt to block the pesticide ban. A spokeswoman did not answer directly. Conservation charity Buglife, Pesticide Action Network Europe, "“Such a similarity between an MEP’s work and the industry’s arguments is shocking".European Crop Protection Association, Damian Carrington, The Guardian.

Clean Growth

Industrial Strategy

Fishing

  • Feb.25.2018: Salmon anglers banned from taking fish home. Anglers are to be banned from taking their salmon catch home on more than two-thirds of rivers in Scotland. It follows concerns that salmon stocks in many rivers are dangerously low due to climate change and diseases spread by factory fish farms. Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Environment Secretary, has warned of "a significant downward trend in the conservation status of stocks overall". The Times, Mark Macaskill
  • Nov.17.2017: NEF's research into fishing has found that without an array of new, ambitious policy, Brexit poses huge risks to sustainable practice. Fishing is a totemic issue for brexit. Its politics matter. Big claims are being made – but is brexit really a 'sea of opportunity' for uk boats? The reality is brexit will probably create more losers than winners in fisheries. New Economics Foundation, Griffin Carpenter

Farm Subsidies

Plastics

  • Mar.13.2018: Plastic tax: coffee cups and food packaging could face levy. Everyday single-use plastic items such as disposable coffee cups, takeaway boxes and polystyrene packaging could be hit with charges akin to the 5p levy on plastic bags, the govt has warned. Chancellor Phllip Hammond said: “We must take bold action to become a world leader in tackling the scourge of single-use plastic littering our streets, countryside and coastline". The govt has not made any new decisions on what products to impose charges on, but Hammond used his Spring statement to launch a call for evidence asking industry, green groups and the public how best to reduce the amount of plastic rubbish. Hammond was jeered by the opposition when announcing the call for evidence. Mary Creagh, chair of the Environment Audit Committee, accused the govt of starting a process that would “drag on for years”. The Treasury said the exercise would enable the govt to “examine how changes to the tax system or the introduction of new charges could change the behaviour of companies and consumers to become more sustainable”. The govt said it would consider a “latte levy” of 25p on the millions of disposable coffee cups used each year, “alongside other options”. Hammond also announced a review of the taxation regime for the most polluting vans. Adam Vaughan, The Guardian.

Encryption

  • Jan.25.2018: Here we go again... UK Prime Minister urges nerds to come up with magic crypto backdoors. Broken security? More like broken record. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has reiterated calls for a special magic version of encryption to be developed by technologists so law enforcement can access everyone's communications on demand – and somehow engineer it so that no one else can abuse this backdoor. Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, May today talked extensively about the benefits and dangers of technology (quick version: tech in business: good; tech in society: bad) and returned again to the issue of extremist content swirling around platforms like Facebook, arguing that more rules and laws were needed. As part of that push, however, May ended up repeating the same message that politicians in both the US and UK have been pushing for over a year: that tech companies have to find a way to flip mathematics itself for the convenience of security services. The Register, Kieren McCarthy

Anti-Labour / Anti-Corbyn Smears

  • Feb.10.2018: Brexiters now march with the toxic conspiracies of Orbán's Hungary. In Europe and Trump's America, the far right marches in step towards the same dark destination. Concern for free markets and free societies has long gone. The Tory press and elements in the Tory parl. party echo and embellish the conspiracy theories of Putin's Russia and Orbán's Hungary. In Britain, as in the corrupt outposts of the old Soviet empire, the Jewish financier George Soros is credited with the supernatural power to bring down govts and, in a novel combination of antisemitic and anti-Muslim prejudice, to flood Christian Europe with Muslim refugees. The most pressing question is the least obvious: why are they descending into paranoid thuggery? Supporters of Brexit ought to be happy. The govt is so terrified of the Tory right accusing it of selling out to Brussels ... fear of Jacob Rees-Mogg ... In short, the proceedings of HM govt look like a knife fight in a lunatic asylum. Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, who has spent more time with Conservative politicians than is good for any man's wellbeing, sees civil war as simply the default Tory position. "Fish swim, birds fly, Tories tear each other's lungs out," he tells me with a shrug. The British right is determined to persuade millions of British citizens that opposition to Brexit is not a part of the ordinary arguments of a democracy, but the work of traitors controlled by diabolic puppeteers. Expect much more in this vein. The logic of its fanaticism dictates that the right must pull ever-shadier tricks to stop the public having a clear view of the pathetic state it has reduced Britain to. The Guardian, Nick Cohen
  • 2018.01.21: Corbyn Allies plot to oust 50 Labour MPs. @Hendopolis
  • 2018.01.20: Latest Tory anti-Corbyn campaign is deeply dishonest. VoxPolitical, Mike Sivier

The Tories latest attempt at online campaigning is very deceitful. MPs like James Cleverly are encouraging folloers to complain to Jeremy Corbyn for ordering Labour MPs to vote against the Brexit Withdrawal Bill. But their online "letter" is far from honest. It claims that Labour offered no "alternative solution" to the bill. This is a lie. In fact, Labour suggested 6 changes to the Bill. 1. That MPs should get the Final Say on the Deal in a Meaningful vote. 2. That Theresa May's request for a two year transition period should be added to the face of the bill. 3. For a different approach to so-called Henry VIII powers to be used to write the huge amounts of EU law into UK law, to increase parliamentary scrutiny on the changes. 4. To reflect the devolution settlement in the bill so devolved powers return to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast, rather than Whitehall. 5. For the Bill to write the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law. 6. For Workers' Rights to be guaranteed on the face of the bill. The Tories rejected all but one proposal. The Tories' latest attempt to smear Corbyn is yet another lie. And if you sign the "letter", you'll be sent Tory junk mail too, so you can ?? more fibs directly to your inbox.

Russia

  • Apr.13.2018: Key Evidence Disappeared From Police Custody During Investigation Into Russian Whistleblower's Death, Court Hears. Police gathered evidence of mysterious business deals, threats, and links to a Kremlin-linked money laundering case from Alexander Perepilichnyy’s computer. Then that evidence vanished. Police also failed to interview Perepilichnyy’s secret lover, and repeatedly stonewalled French detectives. Police have long insisted Perepilichnyy died of natural causes, and the Home Office has invoked national security powers to withhold evidence from the inquest. But last summer, BuzzFeed News revealed that the British govt was suppressing explosive intelligence provided by US spy agencies indicating that Perepilichnyy was assassinated on the orders of Russian president Vladimir Putin. The govt is now reviewing Perepilichnyy’s death and 13 other suspected assassinations exposed by BuzzFeed News that authorities had previously ignored. Police had been given two disks supposedly containing forensic imaging of Perepilichnyy’s laptop, but they weren't there. The material had been on a server belonging to the South East Counter Terrorism Unit, the govt’s regional counterterrorism authority. But when the server was accessed, the evidence was no longer there, due to “system failures”. The material has never been recovered. Jane Bradley, Tom Warren, Richard Holmes, Heidi Blake, Jason Leopold, Alex Campbell, BuzzFeed News.
  • Mar.28.2018: Senior Tory MPs accused of accepting money from former Soviet states. Allegations about financial links between Liam Fox and John Whittingdale and former Soviet states sympathetic to Vladimir Putin were aired during a Foreign Affairs Select Committee hearing. The Conservative chair Tom Tugendhat called for an inquiry into the role of corrupt Russian money in the British economy in the wake of the poisoning of the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. During the evidence session, Oliver Bullough, a journalist and author of books on Russian corruption, pointed to the fact that Fox had been paid £5,700 for the Azerbaijani translation rights for his book plus more than £3,500 to attend the launch. He added that Whittingdale had accepted £3,000 to fly to Vienna. Bullough said the money came from a Ukrainian oligarch’s foundation at the time he was battling extradition to the US on a FBI indictment. Patrick Wintour, The Guardian.
  • Mar.18.2018: Promise of roubles ‘dazzled Tories’. Sir Ed Davey, former Energy secretary, claims the Conservatives were "torn”" between national security and "billions of rouble wealth" when David Cameron opened the door to Russian companies helping to build nuclear reactors in Britain. Cameron agreed to Vladimir Putin's request that Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear company, gain access to the UK's civil nuclear power market in 2012. Caroline Wheeler, The Times.
  • Mar.15.2018: UK's claims questioned: doubts voiced about source of Salisbury novichok. In Nov.2017, at the HQ of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the world body responsible for the elimination of chemical weapons in The Hague, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the destruction of the last of Russia’s stockpiles. The question now is whether all of Russia’s chemical weapons were destroyed and accounted for. “Could somebody have smuggled something out?” Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, wrote: "The same people who assured you Saddam Hussein had WMDs now assure you Russian 'novichok' nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil". Murray said: "There is no evidence it was Russia. I am not ruling out that it could be Russia, though I don’t see the motive. I want to see where the evidence lies. Anyone who expresses scepticism is seen as an enemy of the state". Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian.
  • Mar.14.2018: May's modest response to Skripal attack will not deter Russia. Expulsion of diplomats is a temporary setback but the PM might have done more. Theresa May had promised a robust response, but in the end the prime minister’s measures against Russia, unveiled to the House of Commons on Wednesday, were modest – at "the very low end of acceptability", as one former Foreign Office adviser put it. There is one area where the Russian elite is vulnerable. It keeps its money in the west, with much of it laundered in London and via UK corporate entities and banks. An entire class of British professionals service Russia’s super-rich. Accountants set up complex offshore-managed structures used for the purposes of money laundering - they went unmentioned by May. May could have frozen the luxury properties of tycoons such as Alisher Usmanov or Igor Shuvalov, Russia’s deputy prime minister, whose handsome London flat overlooks the Ministry of Defence. She didn’t. Oligarchs, of course, are not officials. But they are useful intermediaries who enjoy their fortunes at Putin’s pleasure. Nothing May has announced is likely to deter Putin from future adventures similar to what happened in Salisbury. Justly or not, he will interpret May’s remarks on Wednesday as proof of what he concluded long ago: that Britain is lacking in allies and weak. Luke Harding, The Guardian.
  • Mar.13.2018: The British Government Will Review Allegations Of Russian Involvement In 14 Suspicious Deaths Exposed By BuzzFeed News. Home secretary Amber Rudd said Police and MI5 will assist in the review, which is being launched in the wake of the nerve agent attack on an ex-spy and his daughter in Salisbury. Linkback: Alexander Litvinenko, Russia Today, OfCom, Alexander Perepilichnyy, Badri Patarkatsishvili, Yuri Golubev, Stephen Moss, Stephen Curtis, Paul Castle, Robbie Curtis, Johnny Elichaoff. 17 current and former British and American intelligence officials said the reasons for Britain’s reticence include fear of retaliation, police incompetence, and a desire to preserve the £billions of Russian money that pour into British banks and properties each year. Theresa May is facing growing calls to respond to claims that her govt has concealed evidence relating to Russian assassinations in Britain. As Home secretary, she spearheaded the govt's response to national security threats and presided over cuts of £2.3bn from the national law enforcement budget. May personally intervened to delay the public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death, citing the need to protect “international relations” with Russia. And in the Perepilichnyy case, her govt has withheld sensitive evidence from the inquest on “national security” grounds. A current senior national security adviser to the govt said the core reason British authorities have turned a blind eye is fear. The Kremlin could inflict massive harm on Britain by unleashing cyberattacks, destabilising the economy, or mobilising elements of Britain’s large Russian population to “cause disruption”. “Our capabilities are very weak”. It was also impossible to rule out the risk of “general war with Russia” in the current climate... A senior US intelligence official told BuzzFeed News that the British have “downplayed involvement of Russians on their soil for years”. Reflecting the views of several sources, he added: “The Brits made a deal years ago that the Russians could come in and spend money on housing and stimulate the economy and they’ll look the other way.” Boris Berezovsky, Scot Young, Badri Patarkatsishvili, Sir Philip Green, Richard Caring, Simon Cowell, Scot Young, [[]]. timeline + map. Patrick Smith, BuzzFeed News.
  • Jun.15.2017: From Russia With Blood. Lavish London mansions. A hand-painted Rolls-Royce. And eight dead friends. For the British fixer Scot Young, working for Vladimir Putin's most vocal critic meant stunning perks – but also constant danger. His gruesome death is one of 14 that US spy agencies have linked to Russia – but the UK police shut down every last case. A bombshell cache of documents today reveals the full story of a ring of death on British soil that the government has ignored. Linkback: Christopher Steele, Mikhail Lesin (RT founder), Chris Burrows, Orbis Business Intelligence, Sergei Skripal. ToDo Heidi Blake, Tom Warren, Richard Holmes, Jason Leopold, Jane Bradley, Alex Campbell, BuzzFeed News.
  • Feb.15.2018: UK diplomats met, talked Brexit with Trump aide linked to Russia probe. George Papadopoulos had three separate meetings with British Foreign Office officials in September 2016. On September 10 2016, Papadopoulos discussed Brexit, UK/US relations, US foreign policy and the presidential campaign during an official meeting with an unnamed team leader of the British Embassy in Washington. Also in Sept.2016, Papadopoulos met with Tobias Ellwood, then a Foreign Office Minister, while Ellwood was in New York for the UN General Assembly. Ellwood has since been appointed as a Minister for Defence. Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Brexit, called for the govt to publish a complete account of the meetings. SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said: "This is a strange development on a number of levels: why were senior FCO officials meeting with someone whom the current American President has described as a 'low level volunteer'; and how on earth these senior FCO officials thought it appropriate to discuss Brexit with someone who’s primary role seems to have been facilitating contact between Trump Tower and the Kremlin?" In London, Papadopoulos also met Joseph Mifsud, a 'professor' at Stirling University. Alok Sharma MP, a Foreign Office minister until Jun.2017, met with Mifsud "a couple of times". SNP Martin Docherty-Hughes MP also commented on the lack of minutes of the meetings. Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said: "Recently, we’ve noticed Whitehall becoming less inclined to be open about the work of govt." Jenna Corderoy, Peter Geoghegan, openDemocracy.

Articles

  • Jan.17.2019: Why did Tulip Siddiq have to vote in person? Cold Conservative calculation. A proxy voting system would have saved the heavily pregnant Labour MP the trip – it’s clear why the Tory party doesn’t want one. It has a lower proportion of women MPs compared to other parties and is therefore less likely to have insufficient numbers to carry a vote in the absence of a pregnant or new parent MP. It was the breakdown of the pairing system over the summer – when the Conservative party chairman, Brandon Lewis MP, apparently forgot to abstain in a crucial Brexit vote to offset the absence of Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who was on maternity leave – that led Siddiq to make her decision. She could not trust that system to function properly. Elizabeth Nelson, The Guardian.

2018

  • Sept.24.2018: Conservative MEPs receive letter from Hungary's far-right leader Orban thanking them for 'support' in EU vote. Conservative MEPs have received a letter from Hungary's far-right leader Viktor Orban, expressing his "gratitude" for their decision to oppose a recent vote in the European Parliament against his govt. It follows a row earlier this month after it emerged the Tories were the only governing conservative party in western Europe to vote en masse in support of Mr Orban's administration - a vote he lost by 448-197. Just 3 of the party's MEPs voted against the triggering of the EU's sanctions process after a report citing widely-condemned behaviour, such as violating press freedoms and waging an antisemitic campaign against a leading Jewish businessman. Ian Lavery, the chairman of the Labour Party, said being thanked by Mr Orban should be a matter of "shame" for the Conservatives. "Theresa May has still not accounted for why her party is backing a government that has attacked judicial and media independence, denied refugee rights, and pandered to antisemitism and Islamophobia." Ashley Cowburn, The Independent.
  • Jul.19.2018: Jo Swinson pairing row: Conservatives admit chief whip asked MPs to break arrangements. Julian Smith made error in asking Tory MP to vote despite pact with Lib Dem. Party sources conceded on Thursday night that Julian Smith had asked several Tory MPs to break pairing arrangements but most had refused to do so. It is not the first time that Smith has been at the centre of a row about whipping arrangements as the govt tries to get through its Brexit legislation at a time when it has a wafer-thin parliamentary majority. The only one who did obey the instruction was paired to a Liberal Democrat MP who was on maternity leave. In June the sick Labour MP Naz Shah had to be pushed through the division lobby in a wheelchair after the Tory whips refused a request to allow her vote to be counted without her having to pass through the lobby. Suspicions about Brandon Lewis’s voting came to a head on Thursday. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen cast doubt on claims the incident was an honest mistake. He told the BBC’s Daily Politics: “I think the fact that Brandon Lewis abstained on six votes and then just mysteriously voted on the vital two – I think it tells you all you need to know.” Dan Sabbagh, Jessica Elgot, The Guardian.
  • Jun.02.2018: Tory Remainers could hold the key to 86 of the party’s seats. More than 80 Conservative MPs face a major electoral challenge as a result of Theresa May’s pursuit of a hard Brexit, a major new study reveals. In an analysis that exposes the scale of the party’s support from voters who backed Remain, it found that 3.5 million people in Britain voted to remain in the European Union in 2016 and then went on to back the Conservatives in last year’s election. Recent evidence from the British Election Study suggests Conservative Remainers are more likely to care about Brexit than Labour Leavers. Tories at risk include Amber Rudd, Zac Goldsmith, Paul Masterton and Justine Greening. In a sign of the crucial role to be played by Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader seen as a future national leader, the seats in question include 12 out of its 13 in Scotland. Other constituencies in which the Tory Remainer vote exceeds the party’s majority include six out of eight of its Welsh constituencies, more than half of the party’s 20 constituencies in north-west England and more than half of its 21 seats in London. The study, by former Labour strategists Ian Warren and Kevin Cunningham of Election Data, also includes a worrying trend for the Tories in local byelections in areas with high levels of pro-Remain Conservatives. Greening, Rudd and Damian Green went to No 10 last week in an attempt to persuade May to back a position that would unite most of the party around a compromise, which could see Britain stay inside a customs union with the EU for years after the transition period ends in 2021. Michael Savage, The Guardian.
  • Mar.17.2018: People don't trust us on NHS and schools, Theresa May admits. Theresa May is to call on the Conservative party to face up to the “political fact” that people distrust its motivations around vital public services such as the NHS and education. The attempt at rebranding came as others promoted a series of liberal reforms including same-sex marriage, an A-list of candidates that would be 50% female and black and minority ethnic and even suggesting the party be renamed “reform Conservatives”. The shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said the prime minister was desperately trying to sound like she cared about public services, "but you can’t trust a word she says". There have been growing calls from Tory MPs to consider higher taxes to fund struggling hospitals, with many concerned that anger about Austerity contributed to the party losing its majority in 2017. However, chief secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss stressed that the Conservatives remained a "low tax party". Anushka Asthana, Anne Perkins, The Guardian.
  • Mar.08.2018: The Conservative party is engaging in dangerous fantasies about how to win the next election. All too often, the default response is to find ways to stop Labour people voting. Reducing the number of seats doesn’t really make that much of a difference as far as the parliamentary arithmetic goes: on a 600-seater House of Commons the Conservative Party would still be a few seats short of a majority and dependent on the DUP to help them over the line. Take the other measure designed to make it harder for Labour to win: mandating that people need to take a form of photo ID with them when they vote. tag: Electoral Reform The New Statesman, Stephen Bush
  • Mar.06.2018: The Tory party is announcing a new youth wing to solve its young people problem. Brandon Lewis, the new party chairman, will announce plans for a new youth organisation later this month at the party’s spring conference. The New Satesman, Katy Balls
  • Mar.04.2018: Ministers shelve pledge on women’s safety. The govt has been accused of failing women who have been subjected to sexual, psychological and violent abuse after it emerged that a clutch of new laws and codes to protect them have been shelved. Among the proposed measures were laws to stop rape victims from being cross-examined in court about their previous sexual history, and tougher action on domestic violence. Both have now been sidelined. In Jan.2017, Home secretary Amber Rudd pledged that the govt would hold a 12-month consultation on a victims' bill of rights. The initiative was a Conservative manifesto commitment last year. But 13 months later, the consultation has not even begun. Liz Truss, former Justice Secretary, promised in Apr.2017 to introduce amendments limiting cross-examination of rape victims on their past sexual history and their appearance at the time of their ordeal. However, the bill, originally due to be introduced before the last general election, has yet to appear. The Tory 2017 manifesto outlined further plans for a new domestic violence bill. But Theresa May confirmed in parliament last month that the govt was to consult on the matter before bringing forward legislation, an announcement that dismayed charities supporting vulnerable women. Voice4Victims The Guardian, Jamie Doward
  • Jan.23.2018: 7 times Tories were accused of 'fake news' as they set up a special unit to stop it. The Mirror, Dan Bloom
  • Jan.21.2018: The Tories are dangerously close to losing public confidence over crime. Crime is spiraling out of control, and it could be the next big political crisis. The Telegraph, Rory Geoghegan
  • Jan.21.2018: We've seen enough to know Theresa May can't change. She must go. The Telegraph, Juliet Samuel
  • Jan.20.2018: May Visits Exclusive Street In 70% Tory Ward – "You're Lucky Our Kids Aren't Here". To ensure that the PM would receive only a positive welcome, local MP Paul Scully chose a "super-exclusive" street in a ward that voted 70% Tory – not really "out campaigning" then – for her to visit. The welcome wasn't warm. SkwawkBox, '
  • 2018.01.18: Tory mutineers haven’t been cowed – far from it. Anna Soubry, Dominic Grieve, Ken Clarke, Justine Greening, In Facts, Hugo Dixon
  • 2018.01.10: Newspaper review on Sky tonight 10:30pm. Stay up and share the misery. (Videos) @IanDunt
    • Theresa May "I'll end the Plastic Scourge... by 2042."
    • The Daily Mail's canny campaign to cut the Foreign Aid budget by re-dressing it as addressing the Plastic Pollution problem.
    • Hammond + Davis's cherry-picking attempts are doomed to failure. UK's choice is something close to CETA or the EEA option. CETA++ is just a 'cake and eat it' delusion.
    • Theresa May used Nick Timothy as her spokesman to put "Greening + Tuition fees" out there. Why she wants us to believe this, we don't know.
  • 2018.01.09: An anti-abortion women's vice chair? Theresa May is in danger of destroying her record on feminism. Maria Caulfield’s appointment has enraged equality campaigners, who are poring over her voting record and public interventions on abortion rights. Sophie Walker, Women’s Equality Party leader, has gone as far as to say that Caulfield can never advocate effectively for women. The main source of the controversy is a 10 minute rule bill put forward... The Telegraph, Cathy Newman
  • 2018.01.09: Jo Johnson MP (Orpington) Moved From Job as Universities Minister In Reshuffle After Toby Young Row. Appointed Minister for London. His precise responsibilities at the Department for Transport have yet to be confirmed, but it is possible he will have responsibility for expanding Heathrow. Mark Garnier, who was cleared of wrongdoing after asking his secretary to buy sex toys, has lost his job as an international trade minister. Sam Gyimah has replaced Jo Johnson in his old job as universities minister. Dominic Raab, who had served as a justice minister and has long been tipped for a promotion, has been handed the high profile housing minister brief. Rory Stewart, a former diplomat who had served as a joint Foreign Office and development minister, has been made a justice minister. Alok Sharma, who was housing minister in the wake of the Grenfell fire, has been made employment minister. Suella Fernandes, an ardent Brexiteer, has been made a minister in David Davis' Department for Exiting the EU. Harriett Baldwin has been moved from the Ministry of Defence to the Foreign Office. Caroline Dineage has been promoted from the department of work and pensions to become a senior health minister. Margot James has been a made minister of state in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Former backbencher Lucy Frazer has been made a justice minister. Rishi Sunack, who was elected in 2015, has been made a minister in the new Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Nadhim Zahawi has been made an education minister. Casualties include Robert Goodwill, who loses his job as minister for children and families, Philip Dunne who is removed as a health minister and John Hayes who is leaving the Department for Transport. HuffPost, Ned Simons
  • 2018.01.08: One last entry in the #cabinetreshuffle lunacy stakes - Karen Bradley to Northern Ireland. DUP will love her - she can help them hide the money and she shares their less than savoury attitude to black people. @PaulOnBooks
  • 2018.01.08: Brandon Lewis: Am honoured to be made Chairman of the @Conservatives a great party delivering for people across the UK with a superb team. @BrandonLewis
  • 2018.01.08: When the Conservatives conducted its post-mortem of the 2017 election, it found that the much-derided manifesto and Theresa May’s conduct on the campaign trail were not the only problems. There was another surprising source of pain: the Tories’ approach to animal welfare (hunting ban, ivory ban). May and her newly emollient environment secretary, Michael Gove, are now safeguarding foxes, protecting elephants and embracing the beavers released in the Forest of Dean. Unfortunately, while most Tory MPs know that the voters they need to win a majority in the Commons are young, liberal and ethnically diverse, they also know that the members who will decide the next party leader are old, illiberal and white. New Statesman, Stephen Bush
  • 2018.01.08: Rather than demonstrating Theresa May’s strength, the 'cabinet "reshuffle" confirmed her weakness. The Prime Minister was forced to retain ministers she longed to sack. New Statesman, George Eaton
  • 2018.01.07: The row over Toby Young’s appointment isn’t petty – it’s about political values. May has shown she backs the declining values of the old order, one that sees little wrong in offensive tweets about women’s bodies. She sends a message to voters that her party tolerates sexism, homophobia and hostility to people with disabilities. Robert Halfon, Tory chair of the education select committee, asked how this appears to the mother of a child with autism, struggling to survive and fighting state bureaucracy, to see the Tory party back “someone who takes the mick out of “inclusivity”, out of everything you are fighting for” by giving him a public post. Young's defence that his misdemeanours were in the past fail to carry weight when you consider he was in his late forties. iNews, Ian Birrell
  • 2018.01.02: A minority govt, propped up by DUP is in no position to contemplate packing the Lords with stooges & then lecture all about democracy @A50Challenge
  • 2018.01.01: The PM contemplates rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship as Tories stumble into 2018 running out of ideas as they cling onto power not for the sake of the country but for the sake of the Tory Party (Cabinet reshuffle), @AngelaRayner >> Theresa May considers Brexit role for Boris Johnson in cabinet reshuffle, Guardian, Anushka Asthana

2017

  • Dec.30.2017: Conservatives thought Scottish devolution was "not of general interest". The iNews, Paris Gourtsoyannis
  • Dec.23.2017: Sex, Lies and Hypocrisy: The Last Time Sleaze Brought Down The Tories. A triple whammy of David Mellor’s sex scandal, the sterling/ERM fiasco and a surprisingly unpopular pit closure programme, opened the gates to 4 years of lies, sleaze and corruption – culminating in the loss of 4.5 million votes in the rout of 1997. The Tides of History, Anthony Broxton
  • Nov.25.2017: How A Misleading Story About Animal Sentience Became The Most Viral Politics Article Of 2017 And Left Downing Street Scrambling. The original article was entitled "MPs vote to reject inclusion of animal sentience in Withdrawal Bill" - transformed by The Independent into "The Tories have voted that animals can't feel pain as part of the EU bill, marking the beginning of our anti-science Brexit". BuzzFeed News, Jim Waterson
  • Nov.20.2017: Theresa May and Amber Rudd suppress Westminster child abuse documents for national security reasons. Labour MP Lisa Nandy just revealed in parliament the embarrassing inconsistencies between Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd over documents being hidden from the inquiry into allegations of child abuse by MP Cyril Smith. "The Home Secretary told me that some papers would be withheld from the Cyrill Smith inquiry for national security reasons", Nandy told the House of Commons, yet she added: "this week the PM has written to me to say we are clear that the work of the security services will not prevent information being shared with other such inquiries." Cyril Smith was a Liberal MP for Rochdale in the 1970s after Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe – who later resigned amid sexual scandal – insisted the local party have Smith as a candidate even though police had investigated serious allegations of sexual abuse of young boys in care homes in Rochdale where he had been Mayor. The London Economic, '
  • Nov.15.2017: More than 1,000 jobs have been created every day under this Conservative Govt, helping build the sort of country that we all want to live in. Twitter, @Conservatives
  • Oct.05.2017: The Tories in Crisis. Two large polls have shown a huge resurgence in left-wing sympathies among British voters. They reveal that support for nationalization, regulation, and increased taxation have penetrated deep into the right-of-center demographic, including among older people and previous Conservative voters. The party is already running a minority govt following an unexpected mauling from young voters in this year's general election. Many are now speaking of being on an opposition footing, which will in turn handicap Prime Minister Theresa May's efforts to negotiate Britain's exit from the EU. The Conservatives need four pillars to fight back effectively. (...) The American Conservative, Toby Guise
  • 2017.07.26: Paul Harrison New Press Sec + Kirsty Buchanan To No.10 + Davis Hires Stewart Hackson + Tim Smith To Dexeu. ...a raft of new senior special adviser appointments. Guido Fawkes
  • 2017.05.24: Why would Theresa May ditch a pledge to ban ivory trading? Although Borwick and her colleagues are primarily concerned with pieces from the pre-1947 era, the fact these items remain in circulation arguably has a knock-on effect on how hunting is perceived. Now, just as a chink of hope has appeared, with China promising to ban the domestic trade and processing of ivory by the end of 2017, our leader is promising the reverse. The Guardian, Michele Hanson
  • 2017.05.22: Conservatives quietly bin pledge to ban ivory trade in 2017 manifesto. Govt accused of bowing to pressure from powerful antiques industry lobby. David Cameron vowed to "press for a total ban on ivory sales" in his 2015 manifesto, echoing a previous promise made in 2010. The 2015 manifesto also included a promise to destroy existing stockpiles. However Theresa May's 2017 manifesto, released ahead of Jun.08’s General Election, makes no mention of the pledge. The Independent, Lucy Pasha-Robinson

2016

  • 2016.10.31: Victoria Borwick defends antiques trade on ivory. Kensington MP and BADA president Victoria Borwick has responded to demands for a total ban on the ivory trade. She has called on the govt to ensure antique ivory is exempt from any crackdown AntiquesTradeGazette, Laura Chesters
  • 2016.09.01: Ivory survey vindicates UK antiques industry. The UK antiques trade have been given a near clean bill of health by the leading wildlife trade monitor. "Links between the antiques trade and the current elephant poaching crisis appear tenuous at best." Of more than 3,000 objects sampled, no new or unworked ivory was found and only one item (from the 1960s) was after the 1947 cut-off date for antique ivory. Of more cause for concern, the researchers found mixed understanding amongst traders of what constitutes legal ivory. All traders were aware of there being a specific cut-off date (although not all could recall the date) and many of the stricter rules regarding ivory importation into, for eg. the USA and China, but some were far less knowledgeable. Traffic. Antiques Trade Gazette

2015

  • May.05.2015: "UK ivory ban would destroy my business." Max Rutherston, A leading dealer in Japanese works of art, says he will go out of business if sales of ivory in the UK are banned. Neither the LibDems nor Labour zincluded ivory in their manifesto. The SNP manifesto mentions only enforcing the ban on the illegal trade in ivory. Kensington + Chelsea Conservative candidate Victoria Borwick was clear that she did not back the manifesto pledge. She has written to DEFRA parliamentary under secretary of state Lord de Maulay asking for clarification. She told him that the trade would support the ban on modern ivory, but not antiques, and argued that Conservative policy was to back existing CITES rules. Antiques Trade Gazette, Ivan Macquisten
  • Apr.29.2015: Letter from 90 tech entrepreneurs praises Conservatives' industry support. The Conservatives have received praise from 90 tech entrepreneurs, who have written to the Guardian to say it would be bad for jobs, growth and innovation to "change course". The company executives, who endorsed the Conservative-led govt for supporting the tech industry, include Brent Hoberman, a co-founder of Lastminute.com and Made.com as well as a non-executive at Guardian Media Group; Andrew Fisher, executive chairman of Shazam; and Tim Steiner, chief executive and co-founder of Ocado. Other signatories include David Cameron’s digital adviser and Tory peer, Baroness Shields; Alex Chesterman, chief executive and co-founder of Zoopla; and Holly Tucker, founder and president of NotOnTheHighStreet. It lists key schemes to boost investment in start-ups, such as the Enterprise Investment scheme, the Research and Development Tax credits and the Patent Box, which they said they would like to continue after May’s general election. The Guardian, Rowena Mason, Nicholas Watt
  • Apr.01.2015: More than 100 business leaders sign letter backing Tories. Letter to Daily Telegraph from business chiefs praises George Osborne's lowering of corporation tax and comes as Ed Miliband attacks zero-hours contracts. The signatories included Bob Dudley, the American boss of BP, Tidjane Thiam, the chief executive of Prudential who received an £11.8m cash and shares payout for 2014, and Lord Rose, the Conservative peer and former boss of Marks & Spencer. The Guardian, Ben Quinn, Angela Monaghan

Sources

  1. ^ Prime Minister launches 25 Year Environment Plan. Gov.uk, Jan.10.2018
  2. ^ a b c See EU legislation on plastics in Plastic Pollution#2014 and Plastic Pollution#2015
  3. ^ But see New Statesman; May has promised only £5.7m of the scheme’s full £500m target.