Reactionary Tory Government Introduces Legislation Shielding Unlawful Politicians From Public and Press Exposure

 

 

 

 

30 Nov 2016: In the Honourable Cause of State Security Westminster Politicians Callously Exempted Themselves From Theresa May’s  New Wide-Ranging Spying Laws.

The Investigatory Powers Act, brought to statute by Home Secretary, Mrs May, and a reactionary Tory government introduced the most extreme and invasive surveillance powers ever given to state employed network eavesdroppers sniffing for individuals private data.

The new law required that those using its powers must be given a warrant signed by any appropriate official but for members of parliament and all UK and MEP politicians, additional protection was provided by the introduction of rules requiring warrants to be personally approved by the Prime Minister.

Essential Reading: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/30/investigatory_powers_act_backdoors/

 

Andrea Leadsom

 

 

20 Jul 2018: Yet Again – Westminster MP’s Show Their Contempt for Public Opinion

MPs agreed to the introduction of a new draconian code of conduct for MPs, Peers, Parliamentary Staff and Civil Servants claiming it aspired to stamp out bullying and harassment.

But the new rules also ended the right of the Public and Press to be alerted to and name and shame MPs, Peers and Parliamentary Staff (including Civil Servants) accused of other offences such as fiddling expenses or conflicts of interest.

The new rules replace the previously introduced new rules just introduced in 2010 which replaced the existing ineffective rules that allowed for the mass defrauding of taxpayers by the previously mentioned group of individuals.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has been neutered, to the detriment of the public and press and to the benefit of wrongdoers  by the setting aside of the 2010 commitment of MP’s to the public to ensure a complete transparency of process, listing MPs, Peers, Parliamentary Staff and Civil Servants under inquiry and rulings

First example:

Within minutes of the vote in the Commons all information pertaining to separate investigations into two MPs – Labour MP Keith Vaz and Tory Robert Courts – was removed from the Commissioner’s website.

 

 

 

20 Jul 2018: The Tory Government Statement of Intent

Commons Leader Tory MP, Andrea Leadsom issued a statement proposing the change saying:

“We’re proposing that the Commissioners of both Houses will keep their investigations entirely confidential until such time as there is a finding. This is crucial if individuals are to place their trust in the new system.  There is clearly a balance to be struck between the public interest in transparency and putting the complainant at the heart of the process by protecting their identity. That is absolutely vital.”

Sir Alistair Graham, former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the press that it would “seriously undermine our democratic system” and that MPs are “using something relating to sexual misconduct to get rid of something MPs haven’t liked for a long time”.

Sir Kevin Barron, chairman of the Cross-Party Committee on Standards in Public Life argued that MPs should not have anonymity over accusations of fiddling expenses or conflicts of interest. and said the new code was “a step backwards”. He also produced a letter written to himself by lay members of his committee:

Dear Sir Kevin,

Confidentiality regarding matters not related to the Behaviour Code

We are writing to you in your position as Chair of the Committee on Standards.

As lay members we wish to express our support to the elected members of the Committee on Standards for the amendment being tabled to the House, regarding matters of confidentiality on investigations, conducted by the Parliamentary Commissioner on Standards, relating to the Code of Conduct.
Through our involvement in the work of the Committee we recognise the unusual, and sometimes precarious, nature of the role of MPs, the media interest they deal with on a daily basis and therefore, the importance MPs rightly place on their reputation.

We also recognise the importance of the reputation of the House and the impact the actions and behaviours of MPs can have on how this is viewed.

Our experience to date suggests that publication of an announcement that an investigation is taking place does not cause significant damage to an MP’s reputation and, on a number of occasions, the matter is already in the public domain through the media.

Therefore, in our view, the announcement can provide assurance that concerns are being handled independently and in a fair and impartial manner.

Our view is that the current practice followed by the Parliamentary Commissioner on Standards, and explicitly agreed by the House in 2010, creates the right balance between the individual reputation of MPs and the collective reputation of the House.

Any proposals to limit this approach would be a detrimental step in continuing to build the credibility of the reputation of the House.

The letter, written on behalf of UK citizens was ignored

Lay Members of the Committee on Standards: Tammy Banks, Jane Burgess, Charmaine Burton, Rita Dexter, Dr Arun Midha, Sir Peter Rubin, Paul Thorogood

 

 

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Jackie Baillie MSP says it is shameful that under the SNP and the Tories women earn less than men – But Jackie!! the Record of Scottish Labour in Office is Truly Appalling

 

 

 

 

16 Jul 2018: Working Women in Scotland Earn significantly Less than Men

Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour’s economy spokeswoman, said it was “shameful” that under the SNP and the Tories women were earning less than men over the course of their careers.

She added: “Closing the gender pay gap isn’t just a question of fairness – it is essential for our economy.

“There is so much more to do to shatter the glass ceiling for women.

Only Labour will take the radical steps to close the pay gap for good, like a real living wage and forcing companies to publish pay

“If companies think a woman is worth a lower wage than a man then under Labour, we’ll force them to admit it.”

Labour’s plan to close the gender pay gap includes fines to ensure compliance on pay, auditing more firms, publishing pay ratios and introducing a £10 an hour real living wage.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/gender-pay-gap-exposed-women-12926733

 

 

 

But  the Labour Party record of gender equality and equal pay is abysmal. See below!!!!!

 

 

 

 

12 Jun 2017: North Lanarkshire Labour/Tory Alliance Council forced to pay pension costs of hundreds of women it underpaid

North Lanarkshire Labour/ Tory Alliance run Council is facing a £1million bill after systematically ducking its pension responsibilities to hundreds of female staff it previously tried to squeeze out of equal pay.

The Council has been ordered to cough up after a Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) investigation found it tried to “obstruct” a fair deal for almost 700 women.

The 681 women were systematically underpaid for years by the council, earning lower wages than male colleagues doing jobs of equivalent worth.

Last year, after initially forcing the authority to give them back-pay through a tribunal, they reached a second negotiated settlement worth a further £7.1m, after being represented by equal pay experts Action 4 Equality Scotland.

However, their final salary pension deals remained below those of male counterparts, as their contributions were lower while they were underpaid.

According to recent local government pension regulations, all back-pay must be treated as “pensionable”, meaning bigger pensions and bigger lump sums for those affected.

The change required the Council to top up their employer contributions to pension funds.

However in February, North Lanarkshire, once again tried to sidestep its duties to the Strathclyde Pension Fund, which covers the female staff, by claiming the women’s second round of back-pay was actually a form of negotiated “compensation” and therefore not pensionable.

The women’s lawyers appealed to the SPPA in March, pointing out the potential differences would be profound if the back-pay was not made pensionable.

Some of the North Lanarkshire women would be denied a pension rise of £1500 a year and lump sums of more than £4000, a lifetime difference of around £50,000.

The SPPA has now ruled the council “misconstrued” the law, and criticised its arguments as “confused and an obstruction to finding an equitable solution to the disagreement”.

It said the council must pay the income tax and national insurance on the second wave of back-pay as well as employer contributions, an estimated total of £1m. (The Herald)

 

 

Comment:

Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen Councils have been Labour fiefdoms for many decades.

The May 2017 election delivered minority run SNP councils but, in the case of North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen an unholy Alliance with the Tory Party thwarted the change the Region so badly needs.

The electorate of the two regions voted for another five years of self inflicted abuse.

What a crazy world we live in!!!

 

 

 

 

 

21 March 2014: Glasgow Council Rips Off Female Employees – But the lamb Nips the Lion. Remember this fiasco- and the cost of Attempting to Defend Their Actions

In 2005 Glasgow Councillors guided by Stephen Purcell, with the full support of their Labour Party colleagues, in government, in Scotland created Arms Length External Organisations (ALEOs) and transferred large numbers of Council employees to said organisations.

Evading their responsibilities over equal pay they created “Cordia” a company providing care in the community services and moved a largely female workforce into it in a cynical attempt to locate the bulk of their low paid women workers together locking them into a low wage environment forever.

This would be achieved by implementing the “equal pay act” at the time of the transfer of staff, under ‘TUPE  regulations. The Council calculated that by putting many of its low paid female workers into (Cordia) – that the women would no longer be employed alongside their former higher paid male workers who, in the absence of change would have been used as comparators for equal pay purposes increasing salary costs.

Male employees on a much higher rate of pay, were all placed in their own ALEO (City Building) which was not the same or even an associated employer – so the Council was ‘off the hook’ as far as future equal pay claims were concerned.

 

 

 

 

The Unions

The unions in Glasgow kept their members in the dark about the huge pay differences between traditional male and female council jobs – and originally sided with the council when these big pay differences were exposed in 2005.

So the trade unions have a credibility problem because of their behaviour in Glasgow which remains to this day – since the trade unions Glasgow also failed to put up any serious resistance over the creation of ALEOs either.

 

 

 

 

Labour Party MSP’s

Not one of the local Labour MSPs spoke out against these payments at the time – including Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader – whose partner/husband Archie Graham was a senior Labour councillor in Glasgow.

 

 

 

 

Litigation 2005 – 2014   (10 years of court sessions – Female staff V Glasgow City Council)

Action 4 Equality Scotland took up the case for equal pay for female staff transferred to  Cordia. Court representation was placed with Fox and Partners Solicitors – and Daphne Romney a leading QC who also represented the staff  during the successful genuine material factor  (GMF) hearing against Glasgow City Council in 2007.

But Glasgow City Council persisted with their argument that they had acted entirely within the Law and in 2013 their solicitors managed to persuade an Employment Tribunal that the newly created ALEOs were not an ‘associated employer’ – in employment law terms.

The significance of which was that staff transferred to Cordia had effectively lost their ability to continue with an equal pay claim – once they had been ‘TUPE transferred’.

Action for Equality Scotland submitted the finding to the “Court of Appeal” arguing that the decision of the Employment Tribunal was unfair – since the council retained control of all ALEO’s. Said control extending to  extra ‘top-up’ payments to Councillors for overseeing the ALEOs – which to many people, seemed like money for old rope.

The Council maintained their position that female employees could no longer compare themselves to male comparators who remained in the employment of the Council – the plain purpose of the Council’s strategy being to try and evade responsibility for equal pay claims.

 

 

The Court of Appeal (final outcome)

In the Inner House Lords Brodie, Drummond and Philip handed down a major decision affecting more than 2,500 Action 4 Equality Scotland clients with equal pay claims against Glasgow City Council.

Glasgow City Council lost a big appeal case, – over whether or not thousands of council workers transferred to various arms length bodies (known as ALEOs) – can continue with their equal pay claims.

The good news is that they can – so hip, hip, hooray – for the 2,700 claimants from Action 4 Equality Scotland who are affected by this decision!

Action 4 Equality Scotland now represents 5,500 clients in the ongoing equal pay claims against Glasgow City Council – whereas the trade unions represent only penny numbers.

 

 

 

 

Statement – Action for Equality Scotland

Whoever dreamed up this despicable plan – should be sacked forthwith by Glasgow’s ruling ‘socialist’ Labour administration – that is if they have not already departed the scene with an generously enhanced tax-free lump and final salary pension.

“We began this litigation back in 2005 and over the past 10 years we have witnessed Glasgow City Council enter into complicated and costly avoidance measures to escape their responsibilities to low paid.

https://caltonjock.com/2016/03/07/women-employees-betrayed-by-glasgow-councillors-the-labour-party-and-the-unions-not-worthy-of-your-vote/

 

 

 

Conservative Party Voters With Their Hearts and Minds in Scotland Should Not be Prostituted Out to the Unionist Orange Order or Corrupt DUP of Northern Ireland – the Cash for Ash Scandal Provides Examples of Largesse to Their Supporters

 

 

 

 

 

Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme (Cash for Ash)

The UK and Northern Ireland agreed to meet a EU target (15%) for obtaining energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Eligible homeowners and businesses were persuaded to install biomass boilers which create energy from woodchips or pellets, rotted trees, manure and sewage.

First Minister Arlene Foster, launched the scheme in 2012 and wrote to the banks of Northern Ireland actively promoting it so that they would provide loans to those installing RHI boilers.

Her letters stressed the long term security of the tariffs guaranteeing they would be exempt from any decreasing measures confirming ministerial approval endorsing claims of significant profits to be acrued by biomass boilers from taxpayers money. Subsidies which were “set in stone” for 20 years.

But the scheme was flawed since unlike legislation applicable to similar ventures in Scotland, England and Wales, a tarrif-tiering financial cap was removed before implentation leaving it vulnerable to abuse.

The media had a great time, publishing stories of wealthy homeowners milking profits by turning ‘green’ heating to maximum and opening windows and farmers heating barns night and day so as to burn as many wood pellets as they and other business owners could taking advantage of a subsidy that gave them £1.60 for every £1 spent, resulting in hundreds of millions of taxpayers money going up in smoke.

The final figure is not yet known, but at 2017 it was around £1.7 billion.

Subsequently reduced by £1 Billion meeting the terms of the propping up agreement keeping the Tory Government in power at Westminster.

But the bulk of the overspend was avoidable since, in 2013, “Cambridge Economic Policy Associates” gave warning to the offices of the First Minister that tiered tariffs should be introduced.

Their warning was ignored. But in 2014, Ofgem again, (without success) warned that tiered tariffs needed to be put into the scheme.

 

 

 

Scheme Review

At the time of adoption the letter of approval indicated it had to be reapproved in March 2015.

Responsibility for ensuring this happened rested with the “Department for the Economy” (DETI).

They failed in their duty and another opportunity for applying corrective measures (tariff tiering) was missed.

When the DETI finally realised in 2015 that the scheme needed to be formally reapproved, it was referred to the Department of Finance (DFP).

In October 2015 the Minister heading the Department that reapproved the scheme was Arlene Foster.

 

 

 

 

Public Outrage.

When the scam was finally exposed the public in Northern Ireland were outraged to be informed that so much money had gone up in smoke and allegations soon surfaced in the press and social media that the scheme had been kept open illegally in order for selected persons to avail themselves of its benefits.

Questioned by the media if anyone in the Party was connected to the scheme the Democratic Unonist Party (DUP) refused to answer.

But the press and the public were shocked at the scale of the overspend, attributed to the DUP and Party leader, Arlene Foster faced calls to resign from her role as Northern Ireland’s first minister. She refused and the Government collapsed.

Proposals for an early General Election sparked alarm within the DUP and an inquiry was speedily set up, under the Chairmanship of Sir Patrick Coghlin, to report its findings after the election.

It is expected this will not be published before the end of 2018

The DUP also undertook to retrospectively introduce tarrif-tiering and attempt to recover any inappropriately claimed finance but it is unlikely any money could be recovered since contracts entered into might be impossible to set aside.

This site provides an explanation of the debacle: (https://rhani.org)

 

 

 

They Can Run But They Cannot Hide

Investigation of the scheme participants and identification of unauthorised political involvement is proving to be complex and time consuming as events contributing to the scandal unfold.

The undernoted list is indicitive of what might be be revealed in the final report.

1. Arlene Foster told the “cash for ash” scandal inquiry she had not read the legislation which she brought to the Assembly in her name in order to set up the RHI scheme.

The revelation that she had not read the legislation emerged during exchanges about one of several deficiencies in the regulations whereby they did not adequately define ‘useful heat’ which would be eligible for subsidies, making it more difficult to crack down on potentially fraudulent claims.

Her admission of failure to read the regulations contrasts sharply with how she presented them to the Assembly at the time.

In October 2012, as she asked MLAs to vote for the regulations, she took personal credit for the work, saying: “This demonstrates my commitment to the sector and my desire to see levels of renewable heating increase.”

She also told the Assembly – which subsequently passed the legislation unanimously after only a few minutes of debate – that the regulations “are set in a very clear framework for the scheme, including how payments will be calculated and made, as well as its conditions and eligibility standards”.

In her evidence to the inquiry the significance of the absence of records of key meetings or decisions about the RHI scheme became starkly apparent as she repeatedly used phrases such as “I don’t remember”, “I can’t recall” and “I don’t think I have any clear recollection” about key meetings.

But she insisted that she always believed minutes were being taken but that they never came to her for ratification.

The evidence to the inquiry of civil servants contradicted Foster.

Many had been clear there was a culture of not minuting meetings, particularly those of Arlene Foster and her Special Advisor.

During probing questioning, Sir Patrick put to Arlene Foster: “Can we just stand back for a moment and look at the system here?

“You’re head of the department and Fiona Hepper is the Head of Energy and Dr Crawford is your Special Adviser.

And you’re being asked to deal with a completely novel form of incentivised project in a market which nobody knows how it will respond; volatility, unpredictability is written all over it.”

“We know, or we appear to know that Dr Crawford doesn’t read any of the financial appraisal reports of which there are two full reports and an addendum, despite the public having paid money for those reports.

He doesn’t read any of those – and yet he is your trusted special adviser.”

“Fiona Hepper does a submission which at a minimum is a bit difficult to understand and – perhaps understandably again – a meeting is organised.”

“There is clear guidance that where a meeting is to take place that involves additional information …and indeed as a general proposition, meetings about submissions should be recorded and the guidance clearly says that the meeting should be recorded by the department making the presentation to the meeting.”

“Now, there are no notes or records about this. Does that not start to edge towards a dysfunctional department, if these are the two people that you trusted and one of them didn’t read any of the detailed appraisal documentation, the other one comes to you with an explanation that involves additional information but no notes are made of it, no enquiry is made as to whether notes are being made and yet this is a unique project?”

Foster: I was somewhat taken aback that there were no notes of the meeting. I would have expected notes to have been, if not taken at the meeting, at least after the meeting that there would have been some sort of record of what I had said at the meeting, of what she had explained to me.

Sir Patrick: “Absolutely. Neither you, nor Dr Crawford, thought it appropriate to ask Fiona to produce notes.”

Foster: “But that would not have been the normal practice. I would have expected notes to have been taken.”

Sir Patrick: “Yes, you would. And if notes hadn’t been forthcoming, either you or Dr Crawford might have thought as a common sense [reaction] ‘we’ve just been told more information; this submission has now been explained in a very different way. Could you give us the note please of what was said?’”

Foster: “All I can say is that I would have expected notes to be taken. I wouldn’t in the normal course have seen a copy of the note of a meeting; it wouldn’t have come back to me. I would have expected that to have been put…into the file…I didn’t see it as my role to check if a minute was put somewhere of the meeting… it wasn’t my normal practice to do that because I would have assumed…”

Sir Patrick: “Right, let’s accept that it wasn’t your normal practice. What seems to me to be incontrovertible is that your expectations of the two trusted people were completely unfulfilled.”

Foster: “Well, that’s something that you have to…”

Sir Patrick: “Well, if you can correct that, please do so.”

Foster: “Well, in terms of Andrew, he was a Special Advisor and I suppose the question is: What does ‘special’ mean in terms of adviser…I think it was the fact that he was a political appointee, yes, but also in his case because he has a doctorate in agriculture he does have a specialism in that direction.”

Sir Patrick: “I fully understand – you’ve told us you wouldn’t, and I can understand fully with the demands being made on you as head of the department – you wouldn’t have read technical reports.

That is why you expected Dr Crawford to have read them. That is why you would have expected Fiona to produce a note, and indeed there’s guidance for her to look at and read to see she has an obligation to produce a note.

I just wonder about how this department was actually working in practice.”

Foster: “Well…”

Sir Patrick: “One further point…I did pick up from the differences between Ms Hepper and Mrs Foster was Ms Hepper said Mrs Foster would have seen the paperwork and the documents from the business case whereas Ms Foster said she never looked at business cases, so again…

Foster: “Well, they weren’t sent to me, sorry…”

Sir Patrick: “Yes, I understand that. They weren’t sent to you. But she says she would have expected you to pick up on it. So you have these views from different people of considerable importance within the department which don’t seem to touch each other. She has an expectation that you say no, you wouldn’t do.”

Foster: “Well, having read the business case, I certainly would have had more questions if I had seen the business case.”

Full details here: (https://inews.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/rhi-inquiry-arlene-foster-admits-she-didnt-even-read-her-own-cash-for-ash-legislation)

 

 

 

2. Poultry giant Moy Park maintains 1,520 hen houses in Northern Ireland, of which 943 were converted to biomass boiler heating between 2010 and 2018 providing opportunity for the company to expand its business from four million to six million birds each week.

Company executives became aware of allegations of abuse of the scheme around October 2014 prompting senior executive David Mark to comment in an e-mail to colleagues that there was “more money in burning pellets than raising chickens”.

He had also circulated within the company a “heads up” document he said he had received from an unknown “contact in government” about civil servants plans to combat increasing abuse of the scheme.

An examination of his e-mail correspondence indicated his contact was Andrew Crawford, at that time a Special Advisor to First Minister, Arelene Foster.

This provided irefutable evidence that Moy Park (Poultry) and the DUP were communicating in the summer of 2015, well before tariff changes were announced and when there was a recognition by the company of the advantage of getting their farmers accredited to the scheme before lucrative payments were cut.

Responding, David Mark admitted that at the end of July 2015 he had met Crawford at a poultry farm belonging to Crawford’s brother James, but he had no recollection that they discussed RHI. They just exchanged pleasantries.

Afternote: Crawford resigned from his post as Special Advisor admitting he had acted without authority providing information to his poultry farming brother and other persons.

But his departure from government and loss of his £92,000 job was short-lived when Arlene Foster re-hired him in another government financed job.

It was further revealed that Crawford had told a fellow DUP SPAD, Timothy Cairns, that David Mark was the person to talk to in Moy Park (Poultry) about the uptake of the scheme amongst its suppliers.

Comprehensive analysis can be found at: (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-44660879)

 

 

 

 

3. The inquiry was told of an attempt to “protect” Arlene Foster during the closure of the scheme.

It was revealed by Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy, Chris Stewart that a former DUP adviser had made reference to protecting the former first minister from blame.

He also said there was a “desire” in the DUP to make it appear that former enterprise minister Jonathan Bell had sole responsibility for what was an unpopular decision to shut down the scheme in 2016.

In a follow up statement he said that civil servants’ attempts to curb the cost of the RHI scheme had been met with “surprising resistance” by a number of DUP figures and he never before been confronted with a similar phenomenon, from government Ministers during his career as a civil servant.

It was then revealed that, DUP Special Advisor, Timothy Cairns had ventured to Stewart that the addition of cost controls should be delayed as their introduction in October could lead to a spike in applications to the scheme.

The suggestion was dismissed by Stewart who countered that there was already an increase in applications and a well-informed industry would keep demand high.

Stewart commented: “I got the impression that the suggestions that were coming back were as a result of DUP considerations and civil servants, advisors and Ministers were not on the same team” as they struggled to rein in spending.

But Cairns would not be denied and discussed his proposals with another DUP adviser Dr Andrew Crawford, who subsequently proposed changes which Stewart would find acceptable.

Senior civil servant, Andrew McCormick told an Assembly committee that he believed Crawford to be the person who influenced the decision to keep the scheme open.

Crawford said he would only have offered “informal advice” on the basis of his experience and insisted that he did not attempt to prevent the scheme’s costs being curbed.

Co Tyrone farmer, Crawford, was also a Special Advisor in the office of the DUP Agriculture Minister, Michelle McIlveen, and had previously worked as a Special Advisor to Arlene Foster, in her roles as both Enterprise and Finance Minister.

His brother is a poultry farmer and a recipient of the financial benefits of the scheme.

More details here: (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-northern-ireland-politics-44641797)

 

 

 

4. Brothers-in-law, Timothy Johnston, Special Advisor to DUP Leader, Arlene Foster and John Robinson, Special Advisor to DUP Economy Minister Simon Hamilton and former Director of Communications for the DUP, were named as being the reason for a block on cost controls surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. Johnston is married to Robinson’s sister.

Suspended DUP MLA and DUP, Enterprise Minister, Jonathan Bell (former Party Leader, Peter Robinson’s most loyal lieutenant) used assembly privilege to name two Special Advisors and claimed he had been thwarted in his efforts to clamp down on the multi-million pound RHI overspend because the pair “have such extensive interests in the poultry industry”.

Johnston stated he had no personal direct connection to the RHI scheme but admitted his father-in-law and two brothers-in-law were in the poultry industry and his father-in-law had installed two green energy boilers under the scheme.

Robinson said he had no personal interest in the poultry industry but his father and two of his brothers were poultry farmers.

The two Spads are accused of “a conflict of interest given their roles in the DUP and the civil service is investigating.

More information here: (http://www.irishnews.com/news/2017/01/19/news/dup-spads-linked-892398)

 

 

 

5. Loyal servant to the DUP, Stephen Brimstone, the first Special Advisor confirmed to be a beneficiary of the scheme, departed his DUP government funded, £92,000 position in order to pursue “opportunities in the private sector”.

Arlene Foster confirmed that he had been a recipient of payments, but neither the DUP nor Brimstone would disclose how much he had received or when he signed up to the scheme.

Brimstone’s brother, Aaron, who runs a karting business in Co Fermanagh, is also a scheme claimant.

Assembly Member Jim Alister, used Stormont privilege to allege that former DUP Special Advisor, Stephen Brimstone, was “inappropriately claiming” on the non-domestic scheme using a non domestic boiler to heat his home.

Ofgem said that the accredited boiler was being used in a non-domestic capacity.

Details have been passed to the counter fraud team and a hold had been put on the payments.

More details here: (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43415487)

 

 

 

6. Long serving DUP member, Timothy Cairns, the discredited DUP Special Advisor to Enterprise Minister, Jonathon Bell gave up his £92,000 government funded post. He is now employed as the director of the Community Transport Association for Northern Ireland and has been appointed by the DUP, to the board of cross-border business body Inter-Trade-Ireland.

7. Ofgem official Teri Clifton helped monitor payments under the flawed green energy scheme.

In November 2015, she took a call from a business seeking accreditation to the scheme.

DUP MP Mr Ian Paisley participated in the call which she said was “very intimidating”.

She said that soon after she took the call, she realised she was on speakerphone and was speaking to the applicants, their representatives Action Renewables, Mr Paisley and someone from Moy Park Poultry.

She had received no prior warning of the phone call and did was not best pleased about the position she had been placed in.

Asserting it had been “very intimidating” she, added: “I don’t think it was intentionally intimidating, I think the intention was to catch me off guard and to make my decision look like I was the wrong one in front of a crowd of people.”

She went on to say that the business had missed the deadline for higher tariffs and, therefore, faced being put on less lucrative rates that had just been introduced.

The business blamed an IT problem at Ofgem for the delay and missed deadline but she advised it had simply not been submitted in time.

All participants on the call were persistent in their efforts to persuade her to accept the application onto the higher tariff because the applicants, otherwise stood to lose a considerable sum of money.

It later emerged that Paisley had written a letter about the case to the Special Advisor of the then DUP, DETI (Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment) minister Jonathan Bell.

In the letter Paisley had given the impression that Ms Clifton had agreed with the applicant’s concerns about how their case had been handled.

But she said the letter wasn’t a “fair representation” of the discussions they’d had.

She also said the issue had been raised with OFGEM even though the applicant’s had missed the deadline by a matter of weeks.

It was later approved to the scheme, but on the lower tariff.

She said she believed the “lobbying” was due to the risk of reputational damage to “Action Renewables”, which had taken over responsibility for the application and had not submitted it when the applicant thought it had.

More details here: (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43415487)

 

 

 

8. DUP MLA Jim Wells revealed that his ‘brother, two cousins and the brother of a third cousin installed a combined total of eight boilers at three separate farms to heat their sheds.

9. DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said her farmer, brother-in-law is involved in the scheme.

10. DUP MLA William Irwin indicated that his his son-in-law had also benefitted.

 

 

 

Examples of the Scam in Practice

1. A farmer is in line to receive £1 million over the next 20 years for heating an empty shed.

2. A rich landowner heats his large outdoor swimming pool all the year round.

3. Large factories in Northern Ireland are on course to pocket £1.5 million over two decades for running incentivised biomass boilers all year round in premises that were not heated previously.

4. An unspecified number of scheme users were using boilers to dry wood, then burning the same wood in the boilers to dry more wood – creating a perpetual cycle of use just to claim money.

5. The usage policy of the near 2,128 users is “anything goes, you can do what you want because you can’t be expelled from the scheme”. Only 59 people had applications turned down or discontinued for non-compliance.

6. A Free Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney stands to receive £270,000 over a 20-year-period.

One of the church elders is DUP MLA Mervyn Storey, who was a DUP Minister in the last Executive.

He denied any involvement in the application for the scheme.

Asked if his church would consider paying back money over and above what it needs to pay for its heating costs, given that it is now accepted that the scheme was far too generous and is therefore going to be a drain on the public purse he said that he could not comment and it would be a matter for the church as a whole to consider.

The project had come to light because the company which installed the wood pellet boiler, Solmatix Renewables, publicised it on its website as a case study. Solmatix said that the “financial rewards” for the church were £13,500 per year, made up of £1,000 oil savings each year and an annual RHI payment of £12,500.

Church Elder Jonathan McAuley said: “We recognised that Biomass would meet all of our heating requirements for the church and free up around £10,000 a year for us to use in other mission works.

McAuley, who owns an engineering firm will receive £960,000 in grants from the Scheme. So much for being open and honest.

7. Leading Belfast car dealership Charles Hurst Ltd raked in over £250,000 to heat its plush Ferrari showroom,’ cash-for-ash’ figures reveal.

Full  list of applicants benefitting financially from the scheme are here: (https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/backlash-over-naming-of-rhi-green-energy-scheme-claimants-35751982.html)

 

 

Emasculation of the Scottish Government Through the Adoption of Conferred Powers Conflicting With the Devolved Government Scotland Act 1998

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confirmation of the Intent of Westminster to Subjucate Scots is contained in the last verse of the UK National Anthem

Lord grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God Save The Queen.

 

 

 

 

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

The Devolved Government, Scotland Act 1998, was founded on the premise that EU membership would be permanent.

But Brexit has the potential to adversely impact upon the devolution settlement since the Tory Government is determined to ensure powers presently with the EU in Brussels, (to be returned to Scotland) will be held at Westminster unless and until they are transferred to Scotland.

The Scottish Government profoundly disagreed with the Tory Government approach and requested that existing lawful legislation be honoured.

This was ignored and in response the Scottish Parliament, on 21 March 2018 passed the EU (Legal Continuity Bill) preparing Scots law for Brexit.

The Tory Government, continued to ignore the Scottish Government and on 26 June 2018, Royal Assent was granted passing the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, making a significant number of alterations to the current devolution arrangements.

The Tory Government has gone on to challenge the legal status of the Scottish Parliament Bill and the matter has been referred to the UK Supreme Court under section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998, to determine whether the Scottish Parliament has legislative competence to pass it.

The Supreme Court hearing is scheduled to commence on 24 July 2018.

A sad day for democracy and confirmation that devolved governance is no longer in place in Scotland.

 

 

 

 

Legislative Competence

The Bill seeks to convert EU law into UK law, to be known as “retained EU law” so that, upon Brexit, the same laws shall apply immediately after exit as applied previously.

The Bill provides, however, that Scotland is prohibited from legislating on “retained EU law”.

Scotland is to be enabled to legislate only on EU-derived domestic law and then only where this would have been wholly within the competence of the Scottish Parliament prior to Brexit.

Thus the parameters of Scottish devolved competence after Brexit are to be defined by reference to “retained EU law”.

But the scope of the term is ambiguous and matters of competence will require precedence to be set so that it can be ascertained exactly what is and what is not within the competence of the Scottish Parliament after Brexit.

Noteworthy is the absence in the Bill of the statement that Whitehall ministers shall not “normally” act in relation to devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Government.

This has been relegated to the “explanatory notes” section of the Bill providing the Westminster Government with the ability to introduce “Secondary Legislation” across the entire range of devolved responsibilities in Scotland without the agreement of the Scottish Government.

 

 

 

Repatriation of Powers from Brussels

In harmony with the return of powers from the EU, the UK Government, justifying a need for “UK-wide common frameworks” to be established where EU law currently intersects with devolved competence, is intent on implementing the first significant roll-back of devolution since the process started twenty years ago through the adoption of a “conferred powers” model of devolution, conflicting with the “Devolved Governance, Scotland Act 1998”.

The Westminster Government has identified 153 areas where EU laws “intersect with devolved competence,” including justice and home affairs, including equal treatment legislation, cooperation in cross-border family disputes, data sharing and combating child sexual exploitation. Environmental matters (regulating air and water quality, chemicals and pesticide use) and all aspects of agriculture and fisheries.

Of concern is that many aspects of procedures for the implementation and duration of transitional “UK-wide common frameworks” are as clear as mud and Scots are expected to be satisfied with the comment in the “explanatory Notes” section (not in the Bill) committing the Westminster Government only to “work closely” with the Scottish Government identifying (but not necessarily agreeing) where there is a need to establish such frameworks.

 

 

 

Some of the Powers to be Centred on Westminster

The Tory Government revealed it does not plan to allow the Scottish Government to continue interpretating and making laws across the entire range of devolved governance under the Scotland Act 1998 after Brexit.

In this respect powers of these 24 devolved areas will be transferred to the control of UK ministers at Westminster, including:

1. Agricultural support: Farming.

2. Agriculture: Fertiliser regulations: “Regulations providing common standards for compositional ingredients, labelling, packaging, sampling and analysis of fertilisers.”

3. Agriculture: GMO marketing and cultivation: “Standards for marketing and cultivation of genetically modified organisms.”

4. Agriculture: Organic farming: “Regulations setting out standards for organic production certification.”

5. Agriculture: Zootech: “legislation providing a common framework of rules on breeding and trade in pedigree animals”.

6. Animal health and traceability: “Rules and standards that aim to maintain animal health and allow their movement”.

7. Animal welfare: “Rules relating to aspects of animal welfare including on-farm issues, movement of livestock and slaughter.”

8. Chemicals regulation (including pesticides): “Including the export and import of hazardous chemicals.”

9. Elements of reciprocal healthcare: “ensuring there are not different policies on reciprocal healthcare.”

10. Environmental quality: chemicals: “Regulation of the manufacture, authorisation and sale and use of chemical products”.

11. Environmental quality: ozone depleting substances and F-gases: “phasing hydrofluorocarbons by 85% by 2036, licence imports and exports and report on usage to the UN”.

12. Environmental quality: pesticides: “Regulations governing the authorisation and use of pesticide products and the maximum residue levels in food, and a framework for action on sustainable use of pesticides.”

13. Environmental quality: waste packaging and product regulations: Policies to set product standards in areas such as “electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and vehicles” in order to manage waste.

14. Fisheries management and support: “Policies and Regulations relating to rules relating to the sustainability of fisheries (quotas), access to waters, conservation measures, enforcement and financial support.”

15. Food and feed safety and hygiene law: “Regulations laying down the general principles and requirements of food, feed safety, hygiene and law enforcement; food safety labelling, risk analysis and incident handling.”

16. Food compositional standards: “Minimum standards for a range of specific food commodities such as sugars, coffee, honey, caseins, condensed milk, chocolate, jams, fruit juices and bottled water.”

17. Food labelling: “Regulations setting out requirements on provision of information to consumers on food labels.”

18. Hazardous substances planning: “Planning controls relating to the storage of hazardous substances and handling development proposals for hazardous establishments.”

19. Implementation of Emissions Trading System: “The scheme sets a maximum amount of greenhouse gas that can be emitted by all participating installations and aircrafts”.

20. Mutual recognition of professional qualifications (MRPQ): “Directives that create systems for the recognition for professional qualifications and experience.”

21. Nutrition health claims, composition and labelling: “Regulations and Directives on the nutrition and health claims made on food; food for special medical purposes and weight control; food intended for infants; the addition of vitamins and other substances to food; and food supplements.”

22. Plant health, seeds and propagating material: “Requirements in relation to the import and movement of plants and plant products, risk assessment of new plant pests and outbreak management.”

23. Public procurement: “Provide procurement Directives, covering public procurement contracts for supplies, services, works and concessions above certain financial thresholds awarded by the public sector and by utilities operating in the energy, water, transport and postal services sectors”.

24. Services Directive: “Directive that seeks to realise the full potential of services markets by removing legal and administrative barriers to trade by increasing transparency and making it easier for businesses and consumers to provide or use services”.

 

 

 

Henry VIII Powers and the Tory Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2018

Described by the House of Lords Constitution Committee as a “constitutional oddity departing from the boundaries of the principle that only Parliament may amend or repeal primary legislation” the illegal inclusion of Henry VIII powers in the Bill is an affront to parliamentary democracy and a naked power grab by the Tory Government.

The powers confer on Tory Ministers, (without the approval of parliament) the right to introduce:

1. Powers by regulations to prevent, remedy or mitigate any failure of retained EU law to operative effectively or “any other deficiency in retained EU law”.

2. Powers by regulations to make such provision as they consider “appropriate” to prevent or remedy any breach of international law arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

3. Powers extend to the imposition or increase of taxation.

4. Powers by regulations make such provision as considered appropriate for implementing the withdrawal agreement if they consider that “such provision should be in force on or before exit day”.

5. Powers to “make such provision as the Minister considers appropriate in consequence of this Act”, including by modifying any provision made under primary legislation passed before the session in which the eventual Act is passed.

 

 

 

 

Implementation of Transferred Powers in the Transition Period

The “Transition Period”, expected to extend from 7 years to infinity will present a substantial increase in the workload of Westminster based civil servants, accompanied by a significant reduction in the responsibilities of civil servants reporting to the Scottish Government.

Revised powers “intersecting with devolved competence” in respect of Scotland will be adjusted (in accordance with UK guidelines) in Edinburgh (keeping the natives onside).

Facilitating the foregoing will require a reduction in the establishment of civil servants presently based at Holyrood, together with a reduction in the annual financial block grant from Westminster to Scotland.

Avoiding redundancies, civil servants, in excess of establishment will be transferred from Holyrood to a “newly leased building” located at New Waverley, Edinburgh, which will provide office accomodation and services to around 2,900 civil servants, including the recently created and greatly expanded UK Government of Scotland, executive control of which will be given over to persons as yet unknown.

The incumbent “Secretary of State for Scotland”, (Mundell) will most likely be elevated to the House of Lords.

The UK Government of Scotland sales pitch stated:

A new civil service hub will contribute to the creation of a modern Civil Service – with fit-for-purpose workspaces, cross-departmental collaboration, smarter technology, and enhanced career opportunities demonstrating the UK Government of Scotland’s commitment to engaging with and supporting Scotland.

 

 

 

Scottish Government Reaction

Scottish Brexit Minister Michael Russell said:

“The list simply confirms the UK Government’s plans for a power grab”.

“Under the EU Withdrawal Bill 2018, the UK will have the right to take control of any of the powers on the list”.

“However, the publication of the categories demonstrates the threat is most immediate in key devolved areas such as agriculture, GM crops, fishing, environmental policy, public procurement, food standards and a range of other areas.”

“Unless the bill is changed Westminster will soon be in control of these policies amounting to a major power grab and a re-writing of the devolution settlement the people of Scotland voted for so decisively.”

“I am also alarmed to see some powers included in a further category, which the UK Government says are reserved and would therefore in their view not even require consultation with the Scottish Government.”

“These include Geographical Food Indicators – vital for key Scottish industries – and State Aid which has a role in supporting our economy.”

“We do not agree, for example, that all of State Aid is reserved.”

“For the Scottish Government there is a clear principle at stake – what happens to any devolved power must be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.”

“The Parliament may decide that in some devolved policy areas it makes sense to have UK-wide frameworks, but this must be a matter for Holyrood, not the UK Government.”

“Already we have seen very worrying indications that the Scottish fishing industry may be sold out once again.”

“We are not opposed to working together on joint frameworks in some of these areas but we have been given no assurances on how frameworks will operate, who makes the decisions about them and how we would be able to ensure Scotland’s interests are properly protected.”

“The Scottish Government wants to reach an agreement with the UK Government but we cannot accept a power grab of devolved policies and are therefore proceeding with our own Continuity Bill to protect devolution.”

 

 

 

What Does Brexit Mean for Children’s Rights?

Legislative and policy decisions taken in Scotland are subject to a higher standard of review from a children’s rights perspective than their equivalents made at UK-level. The main factors are:

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 places a duty on Scottish Ministers in relation to the rights of children. It requires that they must consider whether further steps are needed to secure children’s rights and, where appropriate, take these steps. Scottish Ministers are under a duty to report on what steps they have taken every three years.

The Act embeds child rights-based consideration into law and policy making in Scotland. There is no direct equivalent for decisions taken at UK level. Accordingly, this is an area of concern given the Withdrawal Bill’s approach of “pooling” repatriated powers at Westminster.

Children’s Rights and Well-being Impact Assessments (CRWIAs)

(CRWIAs) have been used by Scottish Ministers since June 2015 as part of the implementation of the duties of the 2014 Act. The aim of CRWIAs is to assess whether proposed Scottish Government policies, measures and legislation will protect children’s rights and promote the well-being of children and young people as defined under the 2014 Act.

CRWIAs have been used to scrutinise new primary and secondary legislation in Scotland, including the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and the Secure Accommodation Regulations, as well as developments at policy level. Impact assessments conducted for legislative and policy at UK level have been found to be insufficiently child-focused.

There is a real concern that if powers are centralised at Westminster after Brexit that decisions made shall lack the level of child rights-based scrutiny that would have been available in Scotland under a CRWIA.

 

 

 

Scotland Act 1998 and Incompatibility With Human Rights

A further concern arises in relation to protecting rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which is incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

Under the current devolution arrangements, acts of the Scottish Parliament or Scottish Ministers which are incompatible with the “Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union” are invalid. The Scotland Act therefore provides for a stronger procedural protection of human rights.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 makes explicit that the “Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union” is reserved to Westminster and its regulations will cease to be a part of UK law after Brexit forcing Scots to accept a much lower standard of human rights protection.

 

 

 

Future Developments

In its “Programme for Government 2017-18,” the Scottish Government set out further steps that it intended to take to progress children’s rights in Scotland including an audit of effective ways to further embed the principles of the UNCRC into policy and legislation, including the option of full incorporation into domestic law.

The Programme also included a commitment to oppose any attempt to undermine the Human Rights Act or withdraw from the ECHR, and to ensure that existing and relevant future human rights protections provided under European Union Law were maintained following UK withdrawal from the EU.

Clearly the Scottish Government is pursuing a progressive approach strengthening human rights protections in areas of devolved competence, whilst the UK Government is intent on repealing human rights protections.

There is valid concern therefore that in retaining control over specific legislative areas at a UK-level, decisions impacting Scottish children will undergo lesser rights-based scrutiny than would have been available if they were made at Scottish level. (Maria Doyle, Assistant Research Officer, Together)

 

 

 

References:

1. Stephen Tierney, “The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Legal Implications for Devolution” (September 2017) (https://constitution-unit.com/2017/09/07/the-european-union-withdrawal-bill-legal-implications-for-devolution)

2. Michael Keating, “To devolve or not to devolve? The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and devolution.” (https://constitution-unit.com/2017/07/25/to-devolve-or-not-to-devolve-the-european-union-withdrawal-bill-and-devolution)

3. Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe. “https://beta.gov.scot/publications/eu-withdrawal-bill-letter-to-finance-and-constitution-committee)

4. European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Explanatory Notes, para 36. (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0005/en/18005en.pdf)

5. Discussion Paper on Brexit and Devolution. (https://www.biicl.org/documents/1785_bingham_centre_eu_withdrawal_bill_-_discussion_paper_-_30_10_2017_-_final.pdf?)

6. Scottish Programme for Government 2017-18 (http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0052/00524214.pdf)

 

 

 

 

 

Austerity – Tory Government Policy – Let The Needy Starve – So That Foreign Aid Can be Sustained – Adding Profits to the Coffers of the Rich

 

 

 

 

Related image

 

 

11 March 2018. Millions of Scots families on brink face deepest benefit cuts in years

Not a lot of Scots are aware of this but the Tory Government, having inflicted austerity on the UK for 10 years provides £100 million annually in overseas humanitarian aid to Saudi Arabia which has gold reserves in excess of £16.20 trillion.

contrast the foregoing against:

A new study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the decision to press ahead and freeze most working-age benefits and tax credits this year will see a couple with two children left £380 worse off compared with a scenario in which their universal credit claim had increased in line with prices. (The Observer)

 

Image result for universal credit

 

 

Tories in Scotland flirting with the Orange Order and DUP will encourage the return of this sort of terrestrial reptile

 

 

 

Tories in Scotland flirting with the Orange Order and DUP will encourage the return of this sort of terrestrial reptile

Pastor Jack Glass established his Zion Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Glasgow’s Polmadie area in 1965.

From that place he conducted a near 40 year “fire and brimstone” crusade against the LGBT community and the Roman Catholic church.

In 1982 he inflamed local politics conducting an offensive aggravating hatred and bigotry on Scotland’s volatile streets attempting to force governmet and local authorities to ban the Pope from visiting Scotland.

In 2002 the Church of Scotland General Assembly formally apologised for its now abandoned sectarian policies.

Pastor Glass and his followers caused chaos in the streets outside the Assembly protesting that the measure was contrary to god’s will.

He and his congregation detested popstars and comedians claiming they were involved in the devil’s work corrupting the youth of Scotland.

The official policy of his church was that Xmas festivities were “pagan rituals” and had no place in christianity.

Jack Glass died of cancer in 2004.

A Church of Scotland minister commented that whilst there was sadness at his death he was a flawed christian, “was a flea who lived on the back of the established church’s elephant.

God forbid Scots might return to the arms of people like Pastor Jack Glass.

 

 

 

ulster-orange-order-democratic-unionist-party-the-tory-party-scotlands-future-in-the-uk-heed-the-warning-part-3/ The Ulster Caliban

 

 

 

 

The Orange Order and the the Protestant “Caliban” of Northern Ireland

Established in 1998 the Caleb Foundation (https://web.archive.org/web/20150307200052/http://www.calebfoundation.org/) is the leading creationist pressure group in Northern Ireland.

It also lobbies on a range of social policy issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage from an evangelical Protestant perspective, and has been particularly influential with Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive.

The Foundation describes its mission as “promoting the fundamentals of the historic evangelical Protestant faith”.

 

Former DUP Party leader Robinson

 

 

 

Structure, leadership and influence

The Foundation is led by a “Council of Reference” including ministers, pastors and other activists from a variety of small Protestant sects.

The largest single denomination represented is the Free Presbyterian Church founded by Rev. Ian Paisley, with others including the Congregational Union of Ireland, the Evangelical Presbyterian, Independent Methodist, Baptist, Reformed Presbyterian, Congregational Reformed and Elim Pentecostal churches, the Church of the Nazarene and the Evangelical Protestant Society.

Its first chairman, until his death in 2007, was George Dawson, an activist in Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and a DUP MLA. He was also Grand Master of the Independent Orange Order and Treasurer of the Evangelical Protestant Society.

Its secretary for some time after the launch in 1998, David McConaghie acted until late 2012 as its press spokesman, and held other offices in the Foundation’s Council of Reference.

Wallace Thompson of the Evangelical Protestant Society, became chairman of the Foundation in September 2009. A founding member of the DUP, he is also an Orangeman, a former Northern Ireland Office civil servant, and a former ministerial adviser to Nigel Dodds. It was while employed in the last role, in 2008, that Thompson in a radio interview denounced the Pope as the Antichrist.

Documenting the influence of the Foundation within Northern Ireland unionist politics, and particularly the DUP, the Belfast Telegraph noted in 2012 that many DUP politicians had close links to the Foundation.

A leading Irish journalist wrote that “Caleb plays a role within the DUP analogous to the old Militant tendency within the Labour party.”

And in 2012, the Irish press noted that Caleb “claims a support base of 200,000 evangelicals” and questioned whether it had “overtaken the Orange Order as the most influential pressure group within Unionism”.

(http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/Daily_Star/arts2012/sep17_Caleb_Foundation__JCoulter_Star.php)

 

DUP leader Arlene Foster

 

 

 

Activities

The Foundation’s lobbying to have public bodies give at least equal coverage to creationist beliefs as to scientific evidence of evolution came to attention in 1999, when McConaghie wrote in the Belfast News Letter in response to the BBC television series Walking with Dinosaurs, calling for “equal prominence to be given to the Creation creed”.

In 2006 McConaghie met senior officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to discuss the Foundation’s request that figures for ‘gay-on-gay’ violence in Northern Ireland be collated and published, and that police figures for ‘cohabiting same-sex’ domestic violence be made available to the Foundation “for analysis”.

In 2008 the Foundation’s spokesman called for the banning of the Belfast Gay Pride parade, complaining of the “gratuitously offensive and deliberately provocative behaviour emanating from participants”.

Also in 2008, the Foundation’s website carried a photograph of a shop window display in Enniskillen and asked: “Is one of Northern Ireland’s leading clothes chains promoting homosexuality?”, pointing out “a pair of female mannikins in the window of an Enniskillen store, holding hands.”

DUP minister Nelson McCausland wrote to the Ulster Museum in 2010  calling for creationist theories to be included in its natural history displays which described evolution as fact.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2010/05/creationism_and_the_ulster_mus.html)

 

David McConaghie

 

 

In 2010 the British Centre for Science Education published an 11,000-word report which accused the Foundation of promoting Christian fascism and Dominionism, aiming to make Northern Ireland a “fundamentalist Protestant theocracy”.

In 2011-12 the Foundation’s press officer, David McConaghie, by then a full-time DUP official, successfully lobbied two DUP minister colleagues in the Northern Ireland Executive – McCausland and Arlene Foster – to have “creationist” theories included in displays at the new visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway.

However, following widespread objections to the creationist content, the National Trust removed the “creationist” display in October 2012.

The Foundation has also lobbied for more representation by evangelical churches on BBC Northern Ireland, and opposes any relaxation of:

Sunday trading laws

An extension of gay rights

Sunday sport.

A Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast

Same-sex marriage.

 

 

 

McConaghie met senior personnel from education bodies to lobby for the inclusion of a creationist viewpoint in the Northern Ireland curriculum.

Other issues on which the Caleb Foundation has lobbied include:

A reform of prostitution laws.

Raising the retail price of alcohol.

Limiting pub opening hours.

Opposing any review of abortion laws to include rape and foetal abnormality.

Banning gay adoption.

Whilst it did not specifically lobby for a ban on blood donation by gay men, it “approved of the position of the minister” Edwin Poots in retaining the ban.

In November 2012 the Caleb Foundation announced that McConaghie had “voluntarily stepped down” from his role as its press officer, after he was arrested and charged with concealing a camera in a toilet cubicle for purposes of sexual gratification.

In October 2015, McConaghie who used a secret camera to spy on women in toilets, was convicted of voyeurism. (Wikipedia)

(https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/no-reaction-no-explanation-and-no-apology-as-dup-aide-david-mcconaghie-who-used-a-secret-camera-to-spy-on-women-in-toilet-is-convicted-of-voyeurism-31480991.html)