Blog Archives

Alarmed by growing support for Corbyn, a right-wing agent acts

jeremy corbynAs the latest totals of constituency Labour Party nominations put Jeremy Corbyn, with 28 nominations, in second place behind Andy Burnham with 33, a ‘Labour First’ email, passed to the Huffington Post, sets out a way of transferring votes between Kendall, Cooper and Burnham to prevent the Islington North MP from winning constituency Labour Party nominations.

These are said to ‘offer clues’ to how the four candidates are performing among party members. A spokesman for the Corbyn campaign told HuffPost UK: “Despite starting as very much the underdog, and despite these tactics, Jeremy Corbyn is already proving more successful with CLP nominations than many expected.

The email (text below), which was organised by Labour First Secretary Luke Akehurst, is said to make it clear that the main objective is to stop Corbyn because he would ‘destroy Labour’s chances of electability’.

blairite email

The fear: no more gravy train under Corbyn?

Corbyn’s record certainly shows that if he were elected he would expect Labour MPs to curb excessive expenses claims and refrain from courting the corporate sector.

gravy train

Akehurst: the murky mirror image of Jeremy Corbyn: PR, arms industry and supporter of Israel, ‘warts and all’

luke akehurstBefore becoming Labour councillor for Hackney, Luke Akehurst spent 11 years as a lobbyist for a PR company, worked with Weber Shandwick, largely for the defence industry, for property companies and local authorities.

At Hackney Council he worked for permission for ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to be allowed to extend their houses and opposed the proposed boycott of Veolia for because the company helped to build the tram system in Jerusalem.

In November 2014 he was appointed director of the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre’s We Believe in Israel department. The founder and a funder of BICOM is Poju Zabludowicz, a London-based Israeli billionaire who funds the Conservative Party (see Channel 4 Dispatches) and has substantial property interests in one of the illegal West Bank settlements.

Akehurst’s next step

And now: “I am in the middle of an election campaign to try to get back onto the Labour national executive committee, where I was from 2010-2012 and then narrowly lost. I am also interested in seeking a parliamentary selection if there are any late retirements next year.”

Will he be able to follow in Tony Blair’s destructive footsteps . . .?

India stops one carriage on the Gravy Train in its tracks

When will senior politicians in the British government decide to have an arms length relationship with currently close defence, banking, construction, pharmaceutical and bioscience corporates, stop rewarding failure, close the revolving door and begin to believe that – long term – honesty is the best policy?

gravy train

For years the name of Agusta Westland has surfaced in our database files.

Reuters now report that India, after terminated the 2010 contract for twelve AW101 helicopters, partly produced in Britain, has recovered 228 million euro bank guarantees. Allegations of bribery (detailed here) had emerged in Italy against executives at Finmeccanica’s helicopter unit, leading to the arrest of former Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland senior executives.

The revolving door between government and multinationals

revolving_doorA 2009 investigation by the Mail found that one in three civil servants who took up lucrative private sector jobs was working in the Ministry of Defence: “Last year 394 civil servants applied to sell their skills to the highest bidder – and 130 were MoD personnel.

ACOBA, the committee which vets such appointments, approved all the applications, although some carried conditions”.

The MoD handed a £1.7billion contract for helicopters to Finmeccanica who then appointed as chairman the department’s top civil servant, Sir Kevin Tebbit, who ran the MoD in 2005. Finmeccanica, owns AgustaWestland.

  • Three years ago this site recorded the award of a £1.7billion contract to former Cabinet minister Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary who became AgustaWestland’s executive senior vice-president of international business.

Another reward for failure?

The Financial Times and so many others – recalled that Hoon left his position with NATO in 2010 after being filmed by Channel 4 Dispatches telling undercover journalists posing as representatives of a lobbying/PR company, that his experience as a minister would help ‘open doors’ for firms wanting to lobby government.

A comment on the Movement for the Abolition of War newsletter: “Ex-defence secretary Hoon, having ensured AW earned millions, is now working for them.”

In March this year, another appointment was highlighted by Exaro News, an online service which investigates issues that are important to both the business world and the public in general, but which are being inadequately covered – or ignored – by the mainstream media.

jackie callcut

jackie callcut text

Yesterday, a blog by David Hencke, an investigative journalist, pointed to an article by Exaro colleague David Pallister which reveals that proceedings investigating alleged corruption involving a middleman and another British businessman and Indian officials are continuing in India and Italy.

Squeaky clean – only ’foreigners’ involved?

cameron singh indiaDavid Cameron in 2013 visited India with 100 business and, as you can read here, praised Westland, saying that any corruption problems about the order were a matter for the Indians and the Italians;

“Britain has … some of the toughest laws in the world, so people know if they do business with British companies, they have protections.”

How odd that must have seemed to Indian listeners – as one of the people under investigation in the corruption scandal was British.

The Indian Parliament has recorded a request for more information and a written answer to MPs says: “MEA (ministry of external affairs) has also been requested to take up the matter with the government of the UK, as well as requesting its co-operation in verifying the allegations, and helping us by providing relevant information relating to the alleged involvement of a middleman and/or of any Indian individual/entity.”

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, was asked what was happening by David Hencke at a press gallery lunch in Parliament. His reply was that he was “unaware of any request” and repeated the Cameron line (above).

British workers in Yeovil will suffer from various forms of corruption in the higher echelons

Hencke ends by adding the latest news reported by the Times of India, that India has been considering whether to blacklist the company – a decision currently ‘put on hold’. He points out that this arrogant attitude towards corruption – “only a problem for others” – might well have serious repercussions for British workers who assemble the helicopters in Yeovil.

 

Radical change? Long overdue