The book is a must read for anyone who might be undecided about their vote.
Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One The Demise of the United Kingdom
Benjamin Franklin, one of United States of America’s founding fathers, loved Scotland and the company of it’s highly respected philosophers of the, “Great Scottish Enlightenment.” Had he lived in these times he would have encouraged Scotland to vote, “Yes” to independence. In discussion with, Thomas Jefferson, (a fellow founding father and friend) referring to a nation’s right to be free he said;
“He who sacrifices Freedom for security deserves neither”
His advice is clear and unambiguous. Do not succumb to the, “no” campaign’s patronising unspecified promises of jam tomorrow, (remember 1979.) Have confidence take the opportunity and elect for freedom.
He also wrote, “Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One”. Clearly Westminster politicians either did not read it or choose to ignore the advice, which is possibly the reason why Scottish independence will bring about all that is predicted therin.
The NHS England Health Reform Act and the Involvement of USA Management Consultancy McKinsey & Company
In June 2011, the head of NHS regulator, “Monitor”, recently armed with a massively expanded remit, including regulating health service contracts potentially worth many billions, flew business class to New York, where he stayed at a five-star hotel and attended a lavish banquet, all paid for by McKinsey and Company, the international management consultants. A government employee he may not have broken the law in the strict sense. But as a former McKinsey executive, he should have known he was displaying questionable judgment – because of, “Monitor’s” role, implementing Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s controversial Health and Social Care Bill, together with McKinsey and its clients .
Many of the Bill’s proposals were drawn up by McKinsey and included in the legislation wholesale. One document says the firm routinely used its privileged access to ‘share information’ with its corporate clients – which include the world’s biggest private hospital firms – who are now set to bid for health service work. McKinsey’s involvement in the Bill is so great that its executives attend the meetings of the ‘Extraordinary NHS Management Board’ convened to implement it. Sometimes McKinsey even hosts these meetings at its UK headquarters in Jermyn Street, Central London.
The company is already benefiting from contracts worth undisclosed millions with GPs arising from the Bill. It has earned at least £13.8million from Government health policy since the Coalition took office – and the Bill opens up most of the current £106 billion NHS budget to the private sector, with much of it likely to go to McKinsey clients. More information here;
As sure as night follows day, Scotland will be next for the chopping block unless the September Referendum returns a, “Yes” vote. The world’s money men are after rich financial pickings, after they have cleaned up NHS England. Their beady eye’s are on Scotland.
But There’s More Cherie Get’s in on the Action
Cherie Blair is being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for a few months’ legal work by Kazakhstan, whose autocratic president employs her husband as an official adviser. Mrs Blair’s law firm Omnia Strategy agreed a deal with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice earlier this year to conduct a review of the country’s “bilateral investment treaties”. The first stage of the review, which was expected to take as little as three months, is worth £120,000, sources have told The Sunday Telegraph.
A second phase of the project is worth a further £200,000 to £250,000 for another three to four months’ work, it is understood. Omnia Strategy, which Mrs Blair set up in 2011, also has an option to complete a third stage of the legal project for the Ministry of Justice at a fee to be decided, according to the source. Mrs Blair is understood normally to charge clients £1,150 an hour but will bill the Kazakh taxpayer at a reduced rate of £975 an hour if the Ministry of Justice, based in the capital Astana, continues to employ Omnia on the legal review into its third stage.
But there’s more – Tony & Cherie Blair, the oil tycoon and jobs for Blairites in poor Albania
On the face of it, Albania, once the most hardline of Stalinist states and still one of the poorest countries in Europe, seems unlikely to hold much attraction for Tony Blair. But The Telegraph can disclose that the Balkan country, recently discovered to be abundant in oil and gas, appears to be providing rich pickings for a dynasty of Blairites.
This newspaper has already disclosed how Mr Blair is a consultant to Albania’s Labour government. Now it has emerged that his wife Cherie picked up a lucrative legal contract with the previous government; while even the nephew of Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair’s former spin doctor, has landed himself a job advising the new Albanian prime minister.
Mrs Blair was awarded a contract worth £300,000 to advise the Albanian government after making friends with the wife of the Balkan country’s then prime minister while in Downing Street.
Mrs Blair, best known in the legal world as a human rights lawyer, acted for Albania in a billion dollar oil dispute with an American energy firm.
There’s even more – Tony Blair strikes gold in Mongolia
The former prime minister has negotiated a contract to advise the Mongolian government just as the country strikes it rich from a vast copper and gold mine in the Gobi desert. The Sunday Telegraph can disclose that Mr Blair spent two days in March in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia’s capital, striking the deal with the country’s president and prime minister.
His diplomatic skills will be needed in a country undergoing a rapid economic transformation. The Mongolian government has been in dispute with Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate, over the operation of the country’s biggest mine. Sources have suggested Mr Blair was called in to mediate between the two although Mr Blair and Rio Tinto both denied that last night.
The addition of Mongolia to Mr Blair’s portfolio will bolster the income of Mr Blair’s Government Advisory Practice, which operates as part of Tony Blair Associates, “the umbrella organisation” for Mr Blair’s “commercial operations”.
Sunday Telegraph investigations have shown Mr Blair and a team of consultants are now paid millions of pounds to advise governments in;
Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Colombia, Brazil, Albania, Malawi, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Liberia, Guinea
By Richard Heller, (former adviser to Denis Healey and Gerald Kaufman): A Private View
It could become a pub quiz question: who was the first British prime minister to sell himself to a foreign power?
It would be too easy to guess the answer — Tony Blair, who recently signed a multimillion pound contract to advise President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan. He has reportedly opened an office in the capital, Astana. Other than the president, no-one knows what advice Mr Blair is giving. His client does not need any advice on winning elections: grateful Kazakhs gave him over 95 per cent of their votes in their last presidential elections in April this year. His party already holds all the seats in parliament. Some media reports suggest that he is advising on financial institutions. According to other reports, he is helping the president prepare a bid for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Again, Tony Blair seems a strange source of advice, until one remembers that the prize was once given to Henry Kissinger.
As with other British ex-politicians, Tony Blair’s paid activities in Kazakhstan are virtually beyond any public scrutiny or control. They are not mentioned on the website of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), the fangless watchdog over ex-ministers who sell their services in the marketplace. Since Tony Blair is not a peer, he did not have to supply the minimal and haphazard information required for the Register of Lords Interests. He did not have to notify the Foreign Office of his Kazakh appointment and it is not mentioned on the website of our local embassy.
Curiously, Tony Blair may face greater scrutiny in the United States than in our own country. If he helps the Kazakhs there in any way, he is potentially liable to register as their agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938. This wide-ranging law was originally designed to combat Nazi and Soviet agents: it is piquant to think that it might catch Tony Blair and positively delicious to imagine him receiving a late-night visit from the FBI.
Whatever Tony Blair is doing in Kazakhstan, he should stop it and hand back the money. It does no good to our country and our political system — and it is in very bad taste.
Whether he likes it or not, Tony Blair is taking sides in the internal politics of Kazakhstan, which are murky and dangerous for an amateur outsider. He has become a trophy for the ruling president and a figure of contempt for the opposition.
As North Africa has proved, even very long-running rulers can eventually fall, and if that happened in Kazakhstan (a country of great strategic importance) Tony Blair will have harmed our country’s relationship with the replacement government. But while President Nazarbayev is in power, it must strengthen his ego and his authority in any discussions with our country to have a former premier in his pocket. Whether he likes it or not, Tony Blair will diminish the authority, and in all probability the access, of our ambassador in Astana, David Moran.
If Tony Blair gives the president any advice on how to deal with this country he will be approaching the frontiers of treason. Selling himself to a foreign ruler for any purpose at all seems hard to reconcile with his lifelong oath of loyalty to the Queen and her successors as a privy councillor. Its language is orotund and opaque but its tenor and general purpose are clear.
It ends: “You will to your uttermost bear faith and allegiance unto the Queen’s Majesty; and will assist and defend all jurisdictions, pre-eminences, and authorities, granted to Her Majesty, and annexed to the crown by acts of parliament, or otherwise, against all foreign princes, persons, prelates, states, or potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true servant ought to do to Her Majesty. So help you God.”
Tony Blair does not care much about history unless he can invent it, but if he did take this oath seriously it would warn him against trying to serve two sovereigns and putting himself in the pay of any foreign state or potentate. If the oath means nothing to him, Tony Blair should reflect on the impact on the image of our country when a holder of its highest office hawks himself about to foreign governments. What message does it send to disenchanted British voters who already believe that their politicians are only interested in money?
In recent articles I have called for the strengthening of ACOBA and of the Lords Register of Interests to give the British people more information about ex-politicians’ money and more influence over how they can earn it. After Tony Blair’s Astana adventure, I think we need to go one step further. No ex-minister should be allowed to work for any foreign ruler or government or state agency without the prior approval of the Queen-in-Council, including the prime minister and foreign secretary of the day.
There should be a presumption against any approval, although an ex-minister should be allowed to do voluntary service in a poor country, or to serve as an independent peace envoy or for other humanitarian purposes. That would not bar any ex-minister from joining an international body or a non-governmental organisation.
Without such reforms, our country will see an uncontrolled marketplace for ex-ministers. On second thoughts, maybe that’s no bad thing. Given the recent record of British government, with many more failures and disasters than success stories, it is surprising that such a market exists. Plenty of voters might be happy to sell ex-ministers to any foreign country to make a bid for them. Or even current ones. If Kazakhstan wants to take anyone from this government, I’ve got a little list and they’d none of them be missed.
A former adviser to Denis Healey and Gerald Kaufman, Richard Heller’s advice has never been sought by any foreign government.
Public Duty Cost Allowance (for ex-PM’s)
The system was set up by John Major in 1991 to REWARD former Prime Ministers, (after they had left office) for completing duties directly related to their former post, including answering letters and attending public events. In the period 2006-2011, the three undernoted retired former number 10 incumbents charged the taxpayer a total in excess of £1.7m. Nice one
2003: Tony Blair assured UK Public illegal immigration controls would be put in place establishing effective control of the countries borders
The e-Borders programme, launched by Labour in 2005 was a £1bn attempt to reform border controls.
In 2007 Raytheon, (the US defence corporation) won a nine-year contract to develop and operate the programme.
But three years into the deal, and not long after her appointment to the post of Home Secretary, Theresa May, terminated the contract with the US defence corporation claiming it was failing.
She further stated the government had lost confidence in Raytheon’s ability to deliver the programme after it had fallen a year behind schedule.
Raytheon threatened to sue the Tory government for £500m, blaming the UK Border Agency for any failings, but both sides entered into binding arbitration to reach a settlement.
The UK government was ordered to pay £50m for terminating the contract without good cause. £126m a refund of asset costs already delivered to e-Borders. £10m in settlement of contract changes introduced after it had been signed. £38m being interest charges accrued. Total £224m all written off against the public purse.!!!!!!!!
A jubilant Raytheon spokesman said: “The arbitration tribunal found that Mrs May unlawfully terminated the agreement in 2010 and in doing so she repudiated the e-borders contract. The Tribunal denied all Home Office claims for damages and claw-back of previous payments. The Tribunal’s ruling confirms that [Raytheon] delivered substantial capabilities to the UK Home Office under the e-borders program.” (BBC)
Note: the matter ping-ponged in the civil court until 2014 when the Tory government was ordered to settle the bill as charged. Mrs May walked away claiming it had nothing to do with her. I was all the Labour governments fault.
Dec 2015: Home Office censured over £830m “failed e-borders development
The scheme was supposed to collect, advanced passenger information (API), such as passport numbers and nationalities and was meant to allow officials to “export the border” by preventing people from embarking on journeys to the UK where they were considered a threat.
The National Audit Office was highly critical of the Home Office for failing to complete the project to boost UK border security – despite spending at least £830 million.
The National Audit Office said checks remained “almost exclusively manual and wholly inefficient,” and the supporting IT systems were hopelessly outdated.
But the scheme was dogged by problems from the time of its launch in 2003 by Tony Blair, until the end of 2014 when the head of the UK Border Force, Sir Charles Montgomery, said “full e-borders capability”, as originally envisaged, would not be achieved, and checks and screening would be incorporated into a new programme.
The e-borders contract was subsequently split in two with IBM and Serco given the job of getting a system in place at nine airports before the 2012 London Olympics. But this was not achieved.
Some of the Audit Office report’s key findings
- £830m had been spent on the project between April 2006 and March 2015, with another £275m projected to be spent on the “successor” programme, by March 2019. Taking the overall spend to £1bn plus.
- Among those costs was £230m on an out-of-court settlement paid after the original e-borders contract had been cancelled by Mrs May.
- The project is not scheduled to be finished until 2019 – eight years late!!!!!
- API was only collected from 86% of arrivals,2017, against a target of 100%.
- API is not available for the bulk of incoming rail and ferry journeys.
- Only 20% of booking data – more comprehensive than API – is being collected. Again, the target is 100%.
- It is not possible to accurately assess cost in the period (2003-2006) because the records had been destroyed!!!!!! The permanent secretary at the Home Office, said the missing records were due to a change in accounting procedures, but he would investigate.
The Audit Office gave warning that a failure to update a database, (designed to flag up known criminals or terrorists) known as the “Warning Index” was still in use eight years after its scheduled closure and resulted in an average of two “high priority incidents a week”.
The “Warning Index” operates alongside another system called “semaphore,” but the failure to integrate them meant staff still had to check passports manually and consult printed A4 sheets when probing suspicious vehicle registrations. Some border checks were still being conducted using scraps of paper.
The breakdowns include situations where part of the system is not available or performing too slowly to function, or where it is inaccessible at 30% or more control points at a port or airport.
e-borders scheme might be delivered 8 year’s late and cost in excess of £1Bn. Ten times over budget.
A Public Accounts Committee report has criticized the UK Home Office on the botched e-borders programme, saying that the project will end up costing £1bn and delivered eight years late.
In the report, the MPs Committee has also warned that the programme will not deliver the desired benefit.
The e-borders scheme was initially launched in 2003 to keep a track of all passengers transiting in and out of the UK within 10 years.
Primary intention of the programme was to improve border security by collecting data of passengers who enter the country by air, rail and sea by gathering and processing data on them before they reach the border.
The programme was dogged by controversies and problems before it was terminated in 2014, in its current form.
The Home Office initially entered into a contract with US-based technology and defence company Raytheon in 2007, but this was terminated in July 2010 citing that the company failed to reach milestones.
The committee said in its report: “It is now five years since the e-Borders contract was cancelled yet the capabilities delivered so far still fall short of what was originally envisaged. Since 2010 the Major Projects Authority has issued seven warnings about these programmes.
“The Department’s complacency about progress to date increases our concerns about whether the programme will be completed by 2019 as the Department now promises, and whether tangible benefits for border security, transport carriers and passengers will result.”
Major reasons for the delay is the cancellation of the deal with Raytheon under which the company was to deliver its own solution to meet the Department’s objectives to a fixed price and timescale which ‘turned out to be unrealistic’.
Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Hillier said:
“This is an important Report, revealing a history of poor management and a worrying complacency about its impact on taxpayers. It is accepted that successful completion of this project is essential to the security of our international borders. Yet the original target date has long passed and we are still at least three years away from delivery. The stop, start approach has cost the taxpayer dear. I am careful to say “at least” three years from delivery because we are not convinced warnings about the progress of this project have been treated with sufficient gravity, nor that sufficient action has been taken to prevent a repeat of past problems.”
Following the cancellation of the deal with Raytheon, the Home Office implemented successor programmes, including the Border Systems Programme and Digital Services at the Border, which has already cost £830m, as of March 2015.
The committee has concluded that the Home Office “does not have a clear picture of the management information it has or needs to manage the UK border” and frequent changes in management have added to the worry.
The PAC committee said that the officials are dismissive about the delay despite seven warnings issued by Major Projects Authority since 2010.
The Committee criticised the department saying : “It is difficult to understand where this confidence comes from, given the lengthy delays and continual warnings of ongoing management issues, which gives us cause for concern about the future prospects for this programme which is vital to national security.”
Since 2012, the Home Office’s Border Force directorate is responsible for operating the borders and previously it was being managed by UK Border Agency and the Home Office.
A UK Home Office spokesman was quoted saying that the programme was a “top priority” and “we are investing heavily in our systems to tackle the threat from terrorism, organized crime and illegal immigration. Every passenger crossing our control points into the UK is checked against a range of watch-lists and the UK passport is among the most secure in the world.” (cbronline)