Cabinet Secretary’s Office Hosted Christmas Parties Last December

Earlier this week, we were told to expect the findings of the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case’s Downing Street party investigation today – that’s now been pushed back. On the media round this morning, Oliver Dowden boldly said the investigation will “vindicate” the PM. Guido questions how Simon Case can credibly be expected to conclude anything different, given according to widespread rumours, now confirmed to Guido by a source who attended them, parties were held in Case’s own 70 Whitehall office on two occasions last December. You read that correctly…

Rumours of such an event have been doing the rounds in SW1. According to the whistleblower the party on December 17th was planned and organised in advance by staff in Case’s Private Office, it featured copious booze and music. While Case wasn’t actively participating, they claim to have spotted the Cabinet Secretary sticking his head into the room to call staff out at various points during the party to talk with them. The source remembers “at least 15 people including his actual office people in the room”…

A second event last December also saw staff drinking in Case’s office before departing for drinks elsewhere. Both events took place in the days before the notorious party of December 18th in Downing Street – now under investigation– as revealed by The Mirror. If Case expands his inquiry to cover these ‘gatherings’, Guido can’t imagine it’ll take very long to gather the facts.

Guido doesn’t doubt Oliver Dowden’s forecast that Case’s investigation will “vindicate” the Prime Minister will come true. While any findings will be made public, the names of those involved and potentially sanctioned won’t be. Slaps on the wrists all round.

The press has been solemnly briefed that Civil Servants have had to comply with the investigation and hand over their phones. It should, however, be noted that they’ve only given over work phones – not private mobiles more likely to include party photos, calendar entries or WhatsApps. Guido has been told only senior Civil Servants are being asked to hand over personal phones, and they are unlikely to have been involved in the practical organisation of the parties or the sending of invites. Case’s investigation has all the hallmarks of a classic Civil Service sham inquiry, which will surely lead to calls from the opposition for the PM to hand it over to someone truly independent. Or at least to someone who wasn’t illegally hosting parties last December…

UPDATE: Rayner responds to the allegations, now also followed up by a joint Politico/Independent investigation:

“Boris Johnson as Prime Minister has set the tone for the civil service and the rest of government. 

“Which each new revelation there is growing evidence of a culture of turning a blind eye to the rules.

“Labour made it clear when the investigation was launched that the person in charge should be uncompromised and able to make a fair and independent judgement. These fresh revelations put that into question.”

mdi-timer 17 December 2021 @ 12:35 17 Dec 2021 @ 12:35 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cabinet Office Offers Crystal Healing Session for Civil Servants

The list of absurd events in woke Whitehall just gets longer. The Cabinet Office earlier this month was inviting civil servants to a “Beginners Guide to Crystal Healing and Deep Relaxation”. Yes, you read that right…

Guido has got hold of the Wednesday, November 3rd list of activities and events for civil servants to do if they don’t fancy doing any actual work, as distributed by the Cabinet Office:

  • 0900 Counselling Session for Ethnic Minority Colleagues – an hour long counselling session with a therapist

Midday gives skiving civil servants 2 choices:

  • 1200 “It’s all about me” is a “2-day wellbeing event open to all Civil Servants. Sessions will focus on being kind to yourself.”

If 2 days is a bit too long to go missing from your desk you could opt for:

  • 1200 “Reshaping negative thoughts and language into positive affirmations” which was an interactive session around affirmations and being kind to ourselves.

Afterwards a stressed civil servant could find time to attend:

  • 1400 “Time to Unmind” participants will be given “Tools, training and exercises to support your mental wellbeing.”

The highlight of the day in Guido’s view was the training session – which took place at 2pm after their lunch break, obviously – A Beginners Guide to Crystal Healing and Deep Relaxation open to all crystal enthusiasts regardless of experience. The programme was interactive and taught attendees about the “benefits of crystals” followed by a session of “deep relaxation”. What a great way to finish off a busy day for the determined civil servant keen to avoid working at the job taxpayers pay them to do.

On the same day these events were happening (November 3rd) the powerful Public Accounts Committee found that civil servants could not explain where £16 billion of extra funds was going in the Ministry of Defence. Perhaps it was going towards funding Whitehall’s woke wellbeing nonsense? Maybe, now they have had the training, civil servants could use a crystal ball to determine where taxpayers’ money is going…

UPDATE: Minister tells Guido: “This is hocus pocus bollocks which you’d expect in LA, not in Whitehall”

UPDATE II: A Cabinet Office spokesperson has provided a comment:

“Like most large organisations, the Civil Service runs events aimed at improving the wellbeing of staff. We are putting in place additional due diligence to ensure our internal offer to staff is appropriate and value for money. The session in question incurred no cost to the taxpayer.”

The Cabinet Office’s claim that no taxpayer cost was incurred can only be true if the Civil Servants were taking unpaid leave to attend the event during office hours, which Guido does not believe was the case. They added that the crystal healing session was hosted by a ‘civil service network’, and that it was open to all civil servants – not just those in the Cabinet Office. The more the merrier…

mdi-timer 26 November 2021 @ 10:50 26 Nov 2021 @ 10:50 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Irony of Labour’s Director of Strategy Mattinson Making Millions from Tory Government

Deborah Mattinson has been appointed as Keir Starmer’s Director of Strategy, starting in July. She says she’s “looking forward to playing a part in helping Labour reconnect with the voters it has lost”. She performed a similar role for Gordon Brown, it didn’t go well, and she eventually quit working for him.

One of the issues was her firm’s Citizen Engagement work for the Brown government at the same time as she did pro bono work for Brown’s political project. Guido felt that the millions she was billing the taxpayers could be cross-subsidising her work for Gordon. In her book (Talking to a Brick Wall) about her work for Gordon Brown, she wrote that our stories about the conflict of interests enraged Brown. She stopped working for him as a result.

So it is with amusement that Guido reports that her firm Britain Thinks has, since 2020, been awarded 23 government contracts worth millions to her firm. Britain Thinks has been awarded 3 contracts worth £2.99 million by the Cabinet Office alone in the last year. Despite stepping down as a director, she remains a substantial shareholder in Britain Thinks. Guido is not suggesting a conflict of interest beyond querying whether she really, at heart, wants to make the government more successful. Isn’t it remarkably generous of a Tory government to enrich the Labour Party’s Director of Strategy…

mdi-timer 25 May 2021 @ 16:05 25 May 2021 @ 16:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cabinet Office’s Cummings Abuse Cover Up

The Cabinet Office is refusing to release the findings of an investigation it’s concluded into which senior civil servant – with access to their official Twitter account – posted an anti-Dominic Cummings Tweet on the day of his post-Barnard Castle Rose Garden press appearance. Ironically exactly the sort of biased, left-wing civil service culture Cummings was desperate to reform…

An FoI request asking for an update to their investigation has revealed the information regarding the internal investigation, launched in May 2020, does now exist and is held by the department, however they are refusing to release it on grounds that disclosure:

“would be likely, to prejudice the exercise of the Cabinet Office’s functions”

They won’t even say whether the person who Tweeted that the PM’s office were “truth twisters”, and that his defence of Cummings was “arrogant and offensive”, falls below the standards of “proper conduct”.

Unsurprisingly the legal request for information also failed to yield the name of the person responsible, refusing even to say whether that information is held by the Cabinet Office. The release goes on to imply the department’s head of FoI’s believes that releasing the name of the anti-Cummings civil servant would undermine their ability to investigate future acts of improper conduct. Desperate, self-serving obfuscation…

mdi-timer 26 February 2021 @ 09:46 26 Feb 2021 @ 09:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris’s Tries Wooing Biden With Celebrity Influencers & Social Media Stars

If the Sunday Times story about last Friday’s mini-reshuffle is to be believed, Alok Sharma’s demotion from BEIS Secretary to full-time president of the COP26 summit is part of a No. 10 rebrand attempt of Brexit Britain in the eyes of Biden’s incoming liberal administration:

Boris Johnson put a cabinet minister in charge of the COP26 climate change summit last week following a warning from Joe Biden’s team that there was no “heavy hitter” running the show.

In the first sign of the US president-elect flexing his muscles with the UK, Biden’s climate change pointman John Kerry complained before Christmas that if Britain wanted to be taken seriously it would need to get a grip on preparations for the summit, which Britain is hosting in Glasgow in November.

The rebrand isn’t just about changing Britain’s reputation with the president-elect, however. The Cabinet Office is currently advertising for a “Relationship Manager – Influencers and Civil Society”, whose full-time job will be that of selling Britain’s “climate action” efforts via COP26 to “high profile influencers around the globe”, with an emphasis on social media; presumably to turn the tide of a generation who think because Boris is a Tory PM he doesn’t have environmental credentials. It can’t be long before Boris is lipsyncing to Dua Lipa with Greta on TikTok…

mdi-timer 12 January 2021 @ 14:08 12 Jan 2021 @ 14:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Former Labour Staffer at Centre of Cabinet Office Data Breach Terrorism Probe

An extraordinary story of attempted espionage, counter-terrorism police and a civil servant’s subsequent sacking has played out in a Cabinet Office employment tribunal. The man at the centre of the daring document download escapade is former Labour staffer, Kamran Khan, who joined the Cabinet Office in 2019, only to get sacked shortly after being caught attempting to download a staff organisation chart – containing names and salary details – onto a USB stick to take home. The story has only emerged because Khan tried suing the Cabinet Office for racism, losing the case last week…

After being caught with the USB stick, it was then discovered Khan had gained employment at the heart of government by getting an employee at the Marxist political website “Grynspan” to provide a reference and allow him to pass initial counter-terrorism vetting. It was only after his hiring, during a disciplinary meeting, Khan admitted for the first time he owned Grynspan. During the meeting Khan refused to say the registered name of his company, only afterwards identifying it as “Workers’ Alliance”…

The tribunal confirmed the self-proclaimed former Labour manifesto writer:

attached a USB to his laptop with the intention of taking a headcount document (or, at least, part of it) home. Nor is it in dispute that his document was, in its complete form, a sensitive confidential document containing personal and financial data of the [Cabinet Office’s] employees.”

The tribunal heard that the employee’s behaviour during his first two days at work “rang multiple alarm bells”, and a meeting was held three days after his start date in September to discuss the “red flags”, which by this time included:

  • Khan’s attitude to a manager’s revelation of cancer (Khan claimed it was inappropriate to burden junior staff members with this information)
  • His prior political activities, which Khan said involved “drafting manifestos/papers for a Labour MP” and said he wished he could continue doing in the role
  • The number of civil service jobs he had applied for (“20-30 roles”), which one staff member involved in the drama was told “in conjunction with other factors, might indicate insider threat”

Following the meeting, it was decided the Cabinet Office should start investigating Mr Khan’s job application and references. The department was already considering suspension because of a report he had “inserted a USB stick into his computer”, against their IT policy. The judge swiftly determined the department had not contravened the Equalities Act in sacking Khan. The remaining conclusion is the government desperately needs to be more sceptical of applicants who own overtly Marxist political blogs…

mdi-timer 18 December 2020 @ 14:00 18 Dec 2020 @ 14:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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