Blog Archives

Mr May: yet another example of the ‘cosy relationship’ between government and the arms industry

A Liverpool reader draws attention to the news that Philip May, husband of the UK prime minister, works for Capital Group, the largest shareholder in arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since the recent airstrikes in Syria, employs. It is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin – a US military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares have also rocketed since the missile strikes last week.

Selected evidence of the revolving doors between Whitehall appointments, their family and friends and the ‘defence’ industry in our archives, in chronological order:

Admiral Sir John Slater, the former first sea lord, left the military in 1998 and became a director and senior adviser to Lockheed Martin UK.

Michael Portillo, the secretary of state for defence from 1995 to 1997, became non-executive director of BAE Systems in 2002 before stepping down in 2006.

Lord Reid, secretary of state for defence from 2005 to 2006, said in 2008 that he had become group consultant to G4S, the security company that worked closely with the Ministry of Defence in Iraq.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, the chief of staff from 2006-2009, retired from the RAF last year and will become senior military adviser to BAE Systems in January.

Sir Kevin Tebbit, under-secretary at the MoD, became  chairman of Finmeccanica UK, owner of Westland helicopters in 2007 and has a variety of other defence related appointments.

Major-General Graham Binns left the military in 2010 and became chief executive of Aegis Defence Services, a leading security company.

David Gould, the former chief operating officer of the MoD’s procurement division, became chairman of Selex Systems, part of Finmeccanica in 2010.

Lady Taylor of Bolton was minister for defence equipment for a year until 2008 and became minister for international defence and security until Labour lost the general election in May.In 2010 she joined the arms contractor Thales, which is part of the consortium supplying two aircraft carriers that are £1.541bn over budget.

In 2010 Geoff Hoon, the ex-Defence Secretary caught attempting to sell his services to fake lobbyists back  alongside Stephen Byers. When he was an MP, military helicopter company AgustaWestland were awarded a billion-pound order. Now out of Parliament, Hoon earns his way as the company’s Vice-President of international business.

Andrew Tyler (above, right), the British Defence Ministry’s former procurement chief, became chief operating officer of Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), responsible for the procurement and support of all the equipment used by the British Armed Forces. Siemens’ Marine Current Turbines unit appointed Andrew Tyler as acting CEO in 2011 and in 2012 he became the chief executive of Northrop Grumman’s UK & European operations; NG is a large American global aerospace and defence technology company. Above, still from a video made at a 2015 Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair

Then Business Secretary Vince Cable was one of 40 MPs on the guest list for a £250-a-head gathering in 2015 at the Hilton hotel on Park Lane. he gave a speech at the event organised by trade organisation ADS, the trade body for UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries arms fair..

Ministers were wined-and-dined in 2015 by the arms trade at a £450-a-head banquet on Tuesday night just hours after parliament’s International Development Committee said the UK should suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, some of the senior politicians or members of their families lobbying for the nuclear industry were listed on this site (Powerbase source):

Three former Labour Energy Ministers (John Hutton, Helen Liddell, Brian Wilson)

Gordon Brown’s brother worked as head lobbyist for EDF

Jack Cunningham chaired Transatlantic Nuclear Energy Forum

Labour Minister Yvette Cooper’s dad was chair of nuclear lobbyists The Nuclear Industry Association.

Ed Davey, Lib Dem energy minister’s brother worked for a nuclear lobbyist. When failed to be re-elected went to work for the same nuclear lobbying firm as his brother.

Lord Clement Jones who was Nick Clegg’s General Election Party Treasurer was a nuclear industry lobbyist.

Tory Peer Lady Maitland is board member of nuclear lobbyist Sovereign Strategy.

Bernard Ingham, Mrs Thatcher’s press spokesperson, has been nuclear lobbyist for over 25 years.

Lord Jenkin was a paid consultant to nuclear industry.

MEP Giles Chichester is president of nuclear lobbyists EEF.

Concerns about the ‘cosy relationship between the government and the arms trade’ are expressed well by CAAT:

A disturbing number of senior officials, military staff and ministers have passed through the ‘revolving door’ to join arms and security companies. This process has helped to create the current cosy relationship between the government and the arms trade – with politicians and civil servants often acting in the interests of companies, not the interests of the public.

When these ‘revolvers’ leave public service for the arms trade, they take with them extensive contacts and privileged access. As current government decision-makers are willing to meet and listen to former Defence Ministers and ex-Generals, particularly if they used to work with them, this increases the arms trade’s already excessive influence over our government’s actions.

On top of this, there is the risk that government decision-makers will be reluctant to displease arms companies as this could ruin their chances of landing a lucrative arms industry job in the future.

 

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/dec/17/defence-minister-mod-overspend-ann-taylor

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/arms-trading-bae-systems-and-why-politicians-and-men-from-the-military-make-a-very-dubious-mix-8210897.html

https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/the-revolving-door-from-the-ministry-of-defence-to-an-aerospace-and-defence-technology-company/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/vince-cable-one-of-40-mps-on-guest-list-for-arms-dealers-dinner-in-london-10026302.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ministers-wined-and-dined-by-arms-trade-hours-after-mps-demand-ban-on-selling-weapons-to-saudi-a6850751.html 2.16

https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/revolving-doors-39-nao-calls-to-order-politicians-supporting-nuclear-power/

https://www.caat.org.uk/issues/influence/revolving-door

 

 

 

o

Advertisements

Stressed workers call for a rebalanced economy in a ‘People’s Prosperity Manifesto’

FFA co-ordinator William Taylor pictured above with Belfast shoppers

FFA co-ordinator William Taylor pictured above with Belfast shoppers

The Farmers Journal reports that, at the end of April, Farmers For Action (FFA) were seeking public support for their ‘People’s Prosperity Manifesto’, launched in front of Belfast City Hall, which calls on the public to vote for candidates who support farm gate pricing legislation, less red tape within the public sector and reform of education, health care and the EU.

William Taylor, Farmers for Action (NI) sent a copy of the People’s Prosperity Manifesto and writes:

“It has become clear that farmers at the coal face who are not getting properly paid for their produce have a lot in common with the stresses of teachers, health workers etc. In short, it’s time for a re-balancing the economy and a sort-out of top civil servants. We see the People’s Prosperity Manifesto as the missing link in democracy.

“We launched the manifesto in Belfast on Tuesday in front of the City Hall and found a huge thirst from people for something like this to turn on the politicians and say here’s what we actually want!”

Highlights follow:

 

UK ELECTION 7TH MAY 2015

ffa manifesto

The People’s Prosperity

Manifesto

Voters Check List 2015

This is your chance to

Vote traditional or Vote for Countrywide Prosperity

The people of the UK’s Manifesto is your blueprint to securing a guaranteed prosperous UK and re-balancing of the economy by tactically voting, using a tick box exercise to choose your local Westminster MP, who must be capable of following and delivering your agenda below and guarantee to influence Westminster and commit their Party / Independent position as follows [highlights only]

Food Security (UK barely 60%) delivered as follows: legislation on farm gate prices giving farming families an income safety net of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked with flexible supply control across the staples, thereby, creating UK prosperity the President Roosevelt New Deal way. This will create 250,000 quality jobs overnight and then 1million + quality jobs across the UK soon after from John O’Groats to Lands End, town and country alike, thus helping to secure food security and exports. A firm commitment is needed from your would-be MP that their Party/Independent will immediately introduce legislation on farm gate prices as UK prosperity depends on it and the new government must insist that all government procurement of food must be regional, national or nearest supply and put an end to the vast majority of the unnecessary money-grabbing wasteful quangos!

National Security to be maintained at a minimum of 2% GDP as is our NATO obligation – we live in dangerous times and therefore must ensure food security and national security.

Health Service: the new government must deliver a Health Service free of expensive red tape properly staffed and financed with Doctors, Matrons, Sisters, Nurses, paramedics, midwifery and auxiliary health workers, sufficient beds and equipment with rural hospitals kept open, alongside a root and branch majority cull of self-promoting over-paid non-technical top and middle management. Your MP to be selected must commit themselves and their Party/Independent to the above in Westminster and UK wide and return the Health Service to commonsense technically qualified management that listens to the people at the coal face. Finally hospital car park charges to be removed immediately after the election!

Education: the new Government must deliver a modern education system with adequate teachers/lecturers free of expensive red tape with healthy cookery skills, apprenticeships and University entrants catered for, to prepare young people properly for a working life and family life ahead, plus an end to school closures unless replaced by new, followed by a root and branch majority cull of self-promoting over paid, non-technical top and middle management. Your MP to be selected must commit themselves and their Party/Independent to the above in Westminster and UK wide and return education to commonsense technically qualified management that listens to the people at the coalface!

Environment: the new government must deliver an environmental policy of clean air, clean water, water is the UK’s strength and most precious resource, with only 2% of the world’s water fresh water and only 1% of that available; countryside and towns free of pollution pursuing the new and multiple sources of the very successful renewable energy now available and improving daily. 100% recycling at every opportunity. Your selected MP must commit themselves and their UK Party/Independent if elected to immediately block a proposed 20 year UK pillage of fossil fuels through unconventional oil and gas development, including fracking in Northern Ireland and across GB as the consequences would be irreversible for our beautiful green and pleasant land including water quality.

Business – many of the world’s large corporate businesses are already here in the UK and are trading, more will come due to the forthcoming reduction in corporation tax in Northern Ireland, however, the majority of corporates operating across the UK currently ignore their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) obligation as follows, CSR in short means they must not abuse financially any sole trader or small corporate businesses smaller than themselves. The new Government must legislate on certain parts of CSR to become involuntary across the UK to achieve fairness in rural UK and fairness in towns and cities. Furthermore, a law must be passed insisting that if these corporates are going to trade across the UK then they must have local telephone numbers answered by local people and no answering machines permitted. Your MP to be selected must commit to promoting the above in Westminster and commit to implementing the above legislation for the UK including banks.

Government: Successive Westminster Governments over the last two decades have progressively and still are capitulating to the greed of banks, large corporates and a top layer of management civil servants in agriculture, health, education etc totally ignoring the people at the coalface. Government sectors are run by an out of control, out of touch top and middle layer of self promoting civil servants, the majority now with no technical ability and many of them paid more than the Prime Minister. These people are living high off the hog and making everyone’s life a misery by creating self-promoting costly red tape and thus leaving services short of money and staff. The MP of your choice must insist that they and their Party/Independent if elected will see to it that these top civil servants are rooted out, trimmed and replaced with people with technical ability and commonsense as required. During the recent 4 years of civil servants pay freeze it was no accident that the cost of civil servants pay rose year on year by the top UK civil servant layer self-promoting themselves, in many cases under the guise of, e.g. closing a local school and merging it with an already larger one, to allow them to claim a higher pay scale due to an ‘increased work load’.

European Union: 50% of what goes on at the EU HQ in Brussels is very commendable e.g. Human Rights across all EU28 member states; peace kept since WWII across the member states, borders coming down to both trade across the EU and relatively free movement of people. The bad 50% – we have the once a month pilgrimage to Strasbourg by virtually everyone working in the EU Brussels offices moving to Strasbourg to complete their week’s work, wasting €200 million annually. We have the out of control top civil servants in Brussels creating expensive red tape to strangle all member states in order to justify their promotion-oriented existence. Again these top civil servants need culled and replaced with people with technical ability and commonsense. Remove all lowland and arable area subsidies to EU farmers, saving well over €100 billion in the life of the current CAP alone; instead give EU farmers legislation on farm gate prices stating that they have to be paid a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked alongside flexible supply control across the staples to provide them with a financial safety net, and forcing the large corporates to lower their profits, returning your countryside to the well tried and tested family farming success story as opposed to aiding and abetting factory farming. The EU must implement an original Isle of Man policy of using all the produce available in any region first and foremost before imports are considered and those imports should be the nearest source, hugely against the corporates financial wishes.

Using the People’s Manifesto will give you the power of selection – have your say, tell your friends about the Voters Checklist and your vote will count!

 

Readers who want the full manifesto with the checklists, to present to potential MPs, click on https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/documents-with-no-hyperlink/the-peoples-prosperity-manifesto