zaterdag 5 mei 2012

Teflon Man

Some  people say that all the travelling and exploring of outer space only gave us one good thing: teflon.
It's almost hard to imagine that there are frying pans without this material. It's great that our food will not stick to our pans like in the old day. You had to soak pans to be able to clean them.

                                                              Former Dutch prime minister Wim Kok

When I, as a Dutch man, look at British politics and especially at the Government, I am amazed.
In the Netherlands the prime minister, ministers and even the whole Government will step down when something happens that can be named a scandal or wrong doing. Even when things happened in the past, this might occur. For instance: The Dutch cabinet of Wim Kok stepped down after the reports about Srebrenica were published.
It all happened years before, but they accepted responsibilty for the things that went wrong even when they were not even in power at the moment when more than 7,000 moslem men were slaughtered by Serbs.

                                         David Cameron and George Osborne

In the United Kingdom we see David Cameron and his crew sticking to the power, while everything that can be blamed to them is gliding off them like their career is polished with teflon.

                                         Rupert Murdoch with his wife

I have seen plenty of good reasons for them to step down.  Let's see if we can remember them:

1. The scandal of the phone hacking by News of the World, the Sun, tv station Sky News and maybe by more of the newspapers of the Murdoch's News Corporation.
Murdoch's men were even hired by the government. I name Andy Coulson. He was hired after some pressure from George Osborne, who doesn't even have to appear in front of the Leveson inquiry.
Murdoch's men were put in high positions within Scotland Yard. I name the daughter of  Neil Wallis, deputy editor of the News of the World. Wallis was later arrested  on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. This only cost Assistant Commisioner John Yates his job. He will not be punished;  it has been declared that "he made a poor decision".

                                         Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron

David Cameron was a good friend of Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World, who got arrested a few times because of being a main person in the hacking scandal.
David Cameron had several nice conversations with Rupert Murdoch. It seems that for help on the buying of more shares in tv channel BSkyB Murdoch was promising good support for the Tories. (He has been a very important money contributor in the funds of the Conservatives since the days of Margaret Thatcher.)
It didn't stick to David Cameron!

                                         Peter Cruddas

2. Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas told undercover journalists that for 250,000 a person can get real influence on government business. For that price you can enjoy a dinner with David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, which is public property, yet used for party interest. Cash for access this was named. It seemed normal policy.
It only led to the resigning of Peter Cruddas. The whole story was dimished by naming it mere boasting of this man.

                                         Chris McManus

3. The failure of freeing Chris McManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara in Nigeria.
These men were taken by terrorists on May 12 2011. It was said that the British and the Italian government would work together on getting them free. Yet the Italians were informed at the moment the mission impossible already was taking place. Both men were killed during the liberation action of British forces and Nigerian military. The Italian government was furious. Nobody in the British government was blamed for this.

4. The scandal of the obligation for people getting an unemployment benefit from the State to work for free for supermarkets like Tescos and ASDA for periods up to 6 months. This with the threat that their allowance would be stopped if they would quit or get fired. When this became public knowledge the rules were adjusted a bit.
Nobody in the government was blamed for this either.

                                                     LibDem's Nick Clegg

This all makes me really astonished.
When somebody is being blamed it's just a person lower in rank in the system. And mostly nothing happens.
So nothing can happen to David Cameron and his crew?
I think they underestimate the common British people. They are fed up with it and show it. Not only were there some fierce student demonstrations but unions showed too that they are angry.
And the local elections of May 2012 made things even clearer. The Tories have lost 1/3 of their councillors in these regions. The LibDems of Nick Clegg lost even more, as much as half.
The next national elections will show exactly what the people think of all this scheming and dealing.

May 15 2012
Rebekah Brooks is arrested together with 5 others for perverting the course of justice. One of them is her husband, a friend of Cameron for some 30 years.
By now we know that Mrs. Brooks and David Cameron were texting on a very regular basis.

                                          Andy Coulson

More news:
(Former) Communications chief of David Cameron Andy Coulson (former employee of the Rupert Murdoch corporation was hired without the normal procedures of screening. This never happened before in history with any prime minister.

May 31 2012
Andy Coulson has been accused of perjury yesterday. According to the police he has been lying under oath about his knowledge of the hacking of phones.

                                         Lady Warsi

Lady Warsi, the co-chairman of the Conservative Party is under fire about dishonest claiming expenses.
She claimed having expenses because of having to stay in London. But she seemed to have stayed in the house of a friend for free. So there were no expenses. Now she states she payed someone else.
Her claims will be investigated by a parliamentary commision.

Lady Warsi is very important for David Cameron. She is a very outspoken lady. After losing the latest elections she declared that Labour was the real losing party for not gaining more seats. It was a real landslide, Labour gaining more than 850 seats in local councils.
She was parachuted in government by giving her nobility. After becoming a baroness she could get a seat in the House of Lords and so get into the government.

The dirt gets closer and closer to this government.

In other countries the coalition party (LibDems) would step out of the government and would stop supporting it. Nick Clegg is not doing this because this would lead to elections. Having elections in this period would be a disaster for his party. It would be swept from parliament.

June 4 2012
A bit of news again.
There are new developments in the Lady Warsi case.
She admitted not to have included rental income from a flat she owns in Wembley in her income in the Lords register.
More and more politicians ask her to step down from government while investigations go on about her falsely claiming expenses about renting a house while she stayed there for free.
The person accusating her is Wafik Mustafa, an influential conservative man who runs an Arab Network.

She apologised for not letting be known that she owned a business together with a relative. This company was involved in outreach events of the British High Commission in Pakistan.
David Cameron has asked Alex Allan to check if no ministerial code has been breached.

                                         Jeremy Hunt

And then there are the problems Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, got in.
He had to handle the bid of Rupert Murdochs company News Corporation on BSkyB, taking this over from Vince Cable who had quite a bad relation with  News Corporation. He was supposed to look at it in an unpartial way, but it has been proven that he had a very warm contact with the bidder. Even giving him important information without being asked.
This was initially denied in the House of Commons. More facts and messages to and from Murdoch showed up at the Leveson inquiry.
Within 25 minutes after being questioned, David Cameron could already tell Jeremy Hunt did nothing wrong in the process. This while most people are convinced that Hunt has lied to the members of the House of Commons.
The problems already caused the resignation of his special advisor Adam Smith.

                                         Adam Smith

Maybe things now really start to move. Nick Clegg was being asked if he would support Hunt in the House of Commons. Clegg refused to tell the reporters he was going to do such a thing.
Without the LibDems supporting him Jeremy Hunt will not get through a voting about his functioning.

June 5 2012
Even the celebrating of the Queens Jubilee can result in a scandal.

                                         The stewards under the London Bridge

The pageant needs to be guarded, people guided and protected so private companies are hired to give safety. Because the police can't do it, caused by cutbacks and therefore shortage of policemen.
But the private companies want to do things cheap.
So the Work Experience Program came in very handy.
The firm Close Protection UK "hired" 80 jobseekers and persons on "apprentice" wages to do the work.
They were transported by buses from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth to London.
They arrived at 3 AM and had to wait under London Bridge till the morning.
Then they had to change clothes in public, putting on a sort of uniformed clothing. The women in this group were told that they could change in a bus. Because the bus was closed they had no choice but to change in public too.
This group of stewards had a work day of 14 hours without payment, working under the threat of losing their benefits if they would refuse or not delivering a good job.
After their long working hours they were brought to a swampy area where they had to sleep in tents.
For 24 hours they had no access to a toilet.

                                           Molly Prince

The managing director, Molly Prince, denies that the group has been exploited. She stated that the clothing was worth 100 pounds. And she added that if her company will get in trouble because of this, it would result in the firing of hundreds of workers. And she will evaluate what happened.

                                         Lord Prescott

Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott has questioned Theresa May, the Home Secretary, about the whole thing. Asks if no laws or employment standards has been breached.
Of course you can ask too if safety of the public wasn't at stake. The stewards were not qualified for this type of crowd controlling work. I don't want to think about what could have happened!

                                         Theresa May

In a country like the Netherlands the Home Secretary would be declared responsible and there would be a lot of people asking her to step down. Again, I'm very interested what will be the result.

July 24 2012
It just became clear that Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks have to stand on trial because of the listening in on phones and the messing around with texts on phones. Against Coulson there are 4 accusations, against Brooks 3. With them there are 6 journalists who worked for News of the World who will face charges.
So again: the legal threats are getting nearer and nearer to David Cameron. How can he ever be sold as trustworthy again?

Then there is the continuous ridiculous story about the safety for the Olympics. Company G4S was given a contract worth lots and lots of money. But more and more it became clear that they totally screwed up.
How can you train your staff handling x-ray scanners in 20 minutes? It's clear that you can't.
G4S was going to supply 10,000 security people. Only a fortnight ago they admitted they could only submit 7,000, so the military have to fill the gap by sending 3,500 personnel and they have already 1,200 extra close by in case it will show that G4S is causing a bigger gap. A good example of how you can make a mess by privatising security.
We already saw that during the celebration of 60 years of governing by Queen Elizabeth the "voluntary" security staff had to spend the night under a bridge and had to change clothes in public view.

December 1 2012
Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks will stand on trial because of phone hacking and bribery.

                                               J.K.Rowling (one of the victims who spoke out)

Today and yesterday there was a lot of discussions about the Leveson report about the abuse by the Murdoch press. Leveson comes with propositions about having more control of the press.
David Cameron won't have any of it, is not going to do anything with the report.

                                         The report

The victims are very angry: they ask why they had to go through all their misery again giving evidence to Leveson and his committee while the prime minister knew in advance he would not do anything against Murdoch and his newspapers. Now members of parliament are thinking about making a new law based on the report themselves.
David Cameron will get away with it. Like always.

I expect that Rupert Murdoch slowly will sell his British newspapers and will withdraw from the UK totally. In the meantime he already bought the Dutch tv rights on Eredivisie football (and is expected to buy the rights on the national team as well). And he owns a large part of SBS, so he can give the Dutch what the British are despising: Murdoch's way of giving the news.

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