The Good Right – priorities for government
Michael Gove is the brains behind the bluster of the “pseudo” Tory government of Boris Johnson which will be guided in its policies over the next five years by this strange little man who is much derided by the uninformed but respected by those who are aware of his abilities. Johnson and Gove are joined at the hip. The Laurel and Hardy of British politics.
Those who are serious about politics should give careful attention to Gove’s address to the right-wing “Legatum Institute”.
It really is an eye-opener and much of the underlying rhetoric in its content ties in with an as-yet-unannounced flagship policy which will impact severely on Scotland.
The policy is to: Abolish the Barnett Formula allocating spending to regions and localities across the UK on the basis of need and to reduce the range of benefits given to better-off pensioners to fund deficit reductions. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8iy-4PQAd0)
Boris Johnson – Mayor of London – 2008 to 2016
His success in gaining the position of mayor was not unsurprising since the campaign came right at the start of the banking crisis which was part-attributed to mishandling the economy by the financial sector and the Labour Party and orchestrated “right-wing” attacks by the Tory dominated media on the integrity of the incumbent Mayor Ken Livingstone.
A campaign dominated by dirty tricks, smears and innuendo atypical of Johnson.
True to form Johnson stuffed his team with “can-do” decision-makers allowing him the luxury of removing himself from direct involvement in anything that went wrong while brazenly claiming maximum media coverage for himself on any success. His title of “the Lovejoy” of British politics was well earned.
Jonson views politics as a game and his mastery of misinformation was confirmed by his claims of many unsubstantiated successes while in office. But the reverse is true.
He was an abject failure who failed the London electorate, frittering away well over £1.5billion on vanity schemes. Some but not all:
The Garden Bridge. Write off £50m.
Feasibility study for his “Island in the Stream” project for a new £100m London airport. Write off £6m.
Routemaster buses. Ovens on wheels, heavily polluting, useless. Purchase £300M (double that of a normal double-decker) Discontinued.
Water cannons. Riot control measures for subduing protestors. Banned by the government. Never used. Bought for £350K. Sold for £10K
The Olympic Stadium. Boris decided to convert it for uses other than athletics., Projected cost £190M. The actual cost of conversion was £325M. An overrun of £135M. Adding insult to injury the taxpayer has to meet the £20M annual running costs.
The Royal Albert Dock tender that never was
Johnson set up an agency, London and Partners, within his administration with a remit to attract foreign investment to London.
In 2011, the agency established an office in Beijing and shared the cost of the lease and working space, (70/30) with a major Chinese company, Advanced Business Park, (APB).
And there’s more!! Tongbo Liu, departed the agency early 2012, to work for ABP.
What’s the problem?
She was the head of London and Partners and Johnson’s personal representative in China.
Between 2010 and 2012 Xuelin Black an Anglo-Chinese businesswoman gave donations totalling around £162,000 to the Conservative Party.
Donations that dried up after APB was awarded the contract.
The lady is married to the then Tory, Home office minister, Lord (Michael) Bates.
And she was also instrumental in putting a business arrangement in place with her suggestion of a bid for the Royal Dock site development to Xu Weiping, the head of APB.
She even registered a company called ABP London (China) and acted as an adviser, to help push the project forward.
In May 2013 the Greater London Authority granted Advanced Business Park (APB) the tender to develop the publicly-owned 35-acre site at the Royal Albert Dock, a derelict site opposite London’s City Airport.
The project is to include 3.2 million square feet of office space, leisure facilities, and 845 residential flats. China’s largest property investment, over £1bn, in the UK.
Critics say that his effort to attract significant foreign investment to London was praiseworthy but the closeness of his management team and the Tory Party with ABP suggested that the entire tendering procedure was not conducted on a level playing field, and as such, it was grossly unfair on the dozen or more bidders many of whom were British.
Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, suggested that there should be an independent investigation into the tendering process for the development. He said: “If, in fact, somebody is going through a sham process to ensure that someone they want to be successful in the process, but it’s not a level playing field for UK companies, and there have been some financial transactions of an intimate nature then that smells to me of a semi corrupt arrangement.”
The development of the massive derelict dockland site in the centre of the city is/was a blatant abuse of public office. It was a classic Tory Party fiddle ensuring, regardless of due process, the award of a major building contract to a favoured contractor.