Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Sleaze

Sunday Sleaze

target-baronessBaroness Scotland is being investigated by the Bar Standards Board, the barristers’ watchdog, reports the Mail on Sunday.  She is accused of bringing the profession into disrepute.  A quick run down the charge sheet for those who have forgotten: she broke employment laws by not providing payslips or paying all the taxes due at the time, she provided no written contract of employment and effectively paid her housekeeper cash in hand.  She was fined £5,000 for breaking the laws she herself introduced that were designed to punish unscrupulous employers from hiring illegal immigrants.  She has hardly enhanced the reputation of the Bar has she?

The Sunlight Centre For Open Politics claimed in formal submissions to the Bar Standards Board that the Baroness had ‘breached the Barrister’s Code of Conduct by acting in a way that damages the profession’s reputation’. Incidentally, Baroness Scotland, as the highest law officer in the land, is nominally the head of the Bar.  Unlike many of her illustrious predecessors, she is however clearly without shame…

In the coming weeks Guido is looking forward to the next round of expense scandal, the 2008 – ’09 expenses are soon to be released and the Legg letters are going to demand re-payments from MPs who ‘mis-claimed’.   Hundreds of MPs will have to repay over-claims (they are always over-claims) for mortgage repayments that paid down mortgage capital rather than merely covered the interest.  Tory grandees will be asked to repay claims for their stately homes, Nick Clegg will have to justify his serial refurbishment of home(s) at our expense, Gordon Brown will have to justify and probably repay his claims for a Sky Sports subscription and did we really need to pay to have his shirts ironed? It is not as if his wife has a job…

Not forgetting that we have Sir Christopher Kelly’s report with recommendations to the Committee on Standards in Public Life due soon.  The shadow report was tough on sleaze, tough on the causes of sleaze…

UPDATE : Guido almost forgot to mention multi-millionaire Labour peer Lord Paul, a big party donor and financial supporter of Gordon’s ambitions, blatantly fiddling his expenses. They are all at it…

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Government of Lawyers : Equality Before the Law?

Sunday Sleaze
harriet_carAnother Labour minister and QC thinks the laws are for other people. Harman was on the mobile when she crashed into a parked car without stopping to leave her details. Under the 1988 Road Traffic Act, any driver involved in a collision with another vehicle is required by law to stop and give their name and address, as well as details of the vehicle’s owner and the vehicle’s registration.  Not exactly Chappaquidick Bridge, but that she drove off telling a witness ‘I’m Harriet Harman – you know where you can get me…’ is a little high-handed…

target-baronessThe other Labour minister and QC in legal difficulties is the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland. She is now accused of flouting the tax laws; she had no written contract of employment with Lolo, her illegally employed Tongan cleaner, there is firm evidence that no tax was paid for at least 10 weeks and Lolo wasn’t given any wage slips as required by employment protection laws.

Clear breaches of employment law which imply that for a period of time she was effectively paying Lolo cash in hand…

Thursday, October 1, 2009

BAE Prosecution Will Be Political Decision

cash_planeThe Serious Fraud Office has announced plans to prosecute BAE Systems, for bribing its way into contracts from Romania to South Africa. For years, BAE Systems has been cashing in on massive trans-national arms deals on dodgy terms but it’s managed to slip away from investigation, not least with the help of government collaboration and a legal team that has strung out negotiations with the SFO over years.

In 2006, Blair slapped down the SFO for investigating a series of BAE deals with Saudi Arabia worth £40billion. Blair claimed it would endanger “national security” – and throw an inconvenient spotlight on defence just a year after the invasion of Iraq.

BAE has spent a long time cosying up to politicians of all stripes to earn its place as  the number two defence contractor worldwide. Along with other British arms mainstays Rolls-Royce and AugustaWestland, BAE funds the Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme, a summer holidays jolly for MPs who want to “gain a broad view of military life” and “make official visits to Service establishments [where] they are normally treated as VIPs of at least two star or Rear Admiral level.” Sir Neil Thorne, ex-Tory MP and the founder of this “educational” programme, was a defence-junket goer himself back in the day and seems to have free run of Portcullis House nowadays.

So who’s making the decision as to whether to go after the weapons behemoth? Step up, Attorney General Baroness Patricia Scotland. Good thing we’ll all trust the Baroness to make the right judgment…

Sunday, September 27, 2009

UKBA Want to Know the Truth About the Missing Passport

Tongan PassportGuido has established that the passport found in the UK Border Agency raid on Lolo’s flat was expired long before Lolo got her job with Baroness Scotland.  There is quite simply no way that she could have used that passport to prove anything to the Baroness.  The UKBA raid found the documents as described in Lolo’s interview in the Mail on Sunday.

What does this mean?  It means that so far no evidence has been uncovered to support Patricia Scotland’s claim that she saw a valid passport – obviously if the passport existed and she had taken a copy of it she would  have been in the clear. Noticeably in the earliest comments briefed to the press there was no mention of a passport, “She hired Ms Tapui in good faith and saw documents which led her to believe that Ms Tapui was entitled to work in this country”. Later in the week when investigators from the UKBA interviewed the Attorney General informally, not under caution, she claimed to have seen a passport. That is her line with the press now.

The Sunday papers have all been spun the same line

A spokeswoman for Scotland said she had given the same details to the UK Border Agency when they interviewed her, adding: “They completely accepted our version of events.”

Privately UKBA investigators don’t entirely accept Lady Scotland’s version of events without reservation, which is why they have been trying, without success so far, to establish with the Tongan High Commission in London whether or not a second subsequent passport for Lolo had been issued.  As yet they have been unable to establish conclusively the truth of Lolo’s claim that she has never applied for a second passport.

Consider the implications: if, as Lolo claims, she did not have a second passport it would mean that for the Baroness to be telling the truth, Lolo would have had to presented her with a false forged passport.  Forged passports do not come cheap, demand from drug traffickers, terrorists and other criminals ensures that the black market in passports commands high prices.  How would a cleaner applying for a £6 per hour job afford to obtain a forged passport? If Lolo is telling the truth than the Baroness has possibly lied to investigators from the UK Border Agency.

target-baronessThe only alternative explanation which would support Lady Scotland’s story is that Lolo did in fact obtain a second passport from the Tongan High Commission in London or from the issuing authority in Tonga.  She could then feasibly have faked a permission to stay stamp in the passport.  The UKBA investigation is going to find out the truth this week.  If there is in fact no second passport (the raid of course did not find one) we will be expected to believe the assertions of the Attorney General, despite there being no evidence to support her assertions.  We will be expected to believe that Lolo had the ability, finances and motivation to obtain a forged passport merely to get a minimum wage cleaning job.  Does that make more sense than the reason the Baroness did not make a copy of the passport is that there simply wasn’t a passport to copy?

The Baroness better hope the Tongan authorities uncover a second passport application…

UPDATE : In the comments the question is posed as to why the UKBA determined and issued a fine so fast.  The simple answer is they were under tremendous political pressure.  The fine was half the maximum £10,000 because the Baroness had “cooperated”Summary justice in 36 hours is amazing.

The Magical Disappearing Tongan Passport

Guido is off for a picnic and possibly a post-picnic snooze. When Guido gets back he’ll be blogging information which will give the Baroness a sleepless night…

Sunday Sleaze Repeat

Sunday SleazeFiddler

This Sunday the central sleaze story is still Patricia Scotland…

Sunday Times on how the Cabinet Office turned a fiddle into a farce.

Mail on Sunday with Lolo’s own story.

Guido will have more after he has his breakfast…

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Max Clifford Takes Tongan to Tabloids

Max Tongan

target-baronessDodgy Serbian non-solicitors, Tongans tricking Attorney-Generals and much, much more to come. Is it any wonder that Max Clifford has arrived on the scene? All this just in time for Labour Conference.  Gordon has expressed his full confidence in the Baroness.

Excellent news, remember how Max Clifford was around for the scandals at the end of the Major regime.  He is the politico-media equivalent of the undertaker.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just Go

Lord Mandelson — who knows a thing or two about being sacked from the cabinet in the middle of a front page scandal — says of the Baroness “You have to inform yourself properly before rushing to judgment. That’s what the Prime Minister has done…”

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baroness Scotland Accused of £170,000 Expense Fiddle

Sunday Sleaze

Fiddler

Patricia Scotland, who was at the Home Office before becoming Attorney-General, has wrongly claimed some £170,000 since 2004.  The £38,280 a year over-claim is only for ministers who have a primary residence outside the capital.  Patricia has a £2 million home in Chiswick, West London.

Labour MP Graham Stringer told The Mail on Sunday that if Lady Scotland did not make a ‘principled resignation’, she should be fired by Gordon Brown.

‘It is extraordinary that after four days she is still in the post… The whole Government is tarnished. People feel the Government is passing laws it is not applying to itself.’

Despite giving her his full backing, if Brown thinks Patricia Scotland can remain as Attorney General, he is stark raving mad.

Monday, September 7, 2009

McBride’s First Day Back to School :
“Greetings from Nadine Dorries”

McBride-Multiburst-Shot-lower-res

FHSBToday was the first day back at school for the boys of Finchley Catholic High School.  Guido popped along early this morning to see one old boy and hardly recognised the middle-aged man strolling slowly across the school playground, stooping occasionally to pick up litter from the ground.  As Guido strode purposefully towards him he turned away entering a building where the staff were assembled for a first day briefing from the headmaster.  For a moment Guido thought the baseball cap disguise had been seen through.

“Damian!” Guido shouted at him, he turned in the doorway startled, “Greetings from Nadine Dorries”.  With a bemused look on his face he accepted the official Court papers, served by yours truly, on behalf of Nadine Dorries> Dorries, you will recall, is the MP he falsely accused of sleeping with another Tory MP in emails to Derek Draper, Kevin Maguire and Charlie Whelan.   Realising suddenly what had just happened he disappeared into the building as teachers and other bemused staff glimpsed across.  Damian never should have spilt that Guinness

UPDATE : Mrs Draper took the papers on behalf of Dolly from Tory Bear.


Seen Elsewhere

All the Single Ladies (And Lords) | Bloomberg
How Ruffley’s Resignation Became Inevitable | ConservativeHome
We Need a Recall Bill Now | Speccie
Left-Wing Anti-Semitism is Nothing New | Dan Hannan
Coe Pulls Out of BBC Trust Race | Mail
It’s Not How You Look, Ed. It’s How You Think | Hugo Rifkind
Mehdi Hasan’s Israel Spin Debunked | Breitbart
Labour’s Muddled Cam Attacks | Janan Ganesh
Ed’s Policies are a Pile of Fudge | Damian McBride
What Ruffley Standing Down Tells Us About Gove | James Forsyth
Tories Say They Could Sack Ruffley | Buzzfeed


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Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…

“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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