Disgraced Ex Assistant Metropolitan Commissioner Bob Quick – His and Gordon Brown’s Participation In The Damian Green Whistle-Blower Witch-Hunt Fiasco – No Mention Of Computer Porn

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 1985; Gordon Brown, “The Leaker” Sets The Standard For Jim Murphy And Fellow Labour Politicians To Follow

During his long years in opposition Brown became a regular conduit for publicising confidential documents leaked to him by civil servants and he was admired for the way he could put them to good use when attacking the Conservatives.

In distributing his leaks and tip-offs among the political correspondents of Westminster, he had made some friends for life.

Once Labour were in power, he demonstrated an equally deft touch when making use of the journalists he could trust.

The press build-up his Budgets and financial statements was always carefully manipulated to prepare the ground for any changes which he intended to make and Brown has continued as Prime Minister to be Labour’s leading exponent of institutionalised leaking.

The master leaker had the Tory Damian Green arrested on allegations of the same thing whilst he was Prime Minister.  

Yet at the time he was interviewed by the BBC’s Frank Bough in July 1985 he just couldn’t avoid gloating and smirking about the leaks he had orchestrated, received and passed on through his network of minions who were always eager to do his murky deeds.

Many people will have cause to have hatred in their hearts for him.

He has departed the scene as a politician, but he leaves a foul stench that will linger for years to come.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIrweIqqsOc

 

 

 

December 2008; The Damien Green Fiasco – Scotland Yard Determined To ‘Motor On’ In Tory Leak Case

The Telegraph has learnt that senior officers met with lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service last week to discuss possible charges against Damian Green and Christopher Galley, who are under investigation over allegations of leaking confidential information.

MPs on the all-party Home Affairs Committee are preparing to launch their own investigation into the affair, in a move which will intensify pressure on the Metropolitan Police and on Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker.

Mr Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, was questioned for nine hours and had his homes and Commons office searched 10 days ago.

He is suspected of receiving leaked documents.

Ten days earlier Mr Galley, 26, an assistant private secretary at the Home Office, was arrested at his home at dawn and taken to Paddington Green, the most high security police station in Britain.

He is suspected of leaking the information.

Senior officials at Scotland Yard, who have been accused of being heavy handed, denied yesterday that they are “backtracking” over their actions or seeking to drop the case.

They remain satisfied that they acted lawfully and proportionately, even though there is understood to have been disagreement at the highest level within the Met over whether Mr Green’s arrest should go ahead.

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Acting Commissioner, was told of the plan in advance and challenged Bob Quick, the head of anti-terrorism at the Yard and the man who ordered the arrest, over the wisdom of the move.

Sir Paul has now called in one of Britain’s most senior police officers to scrutinise his force’s handling of the operation.

Ian Johnston, chief constable of the British Transport Police and chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers crime committee, will produce an interim report on the case on Tuesday and a full report the following week.

One source said: “We are not looking to drop this action. If Ian Johnston says everything was handled properly, then we will motor on.

We are confident that we have acted legally and the investigative team is happy it took proportionate action.

But a fresh pair of eyes [Ian Johnston] may see it differently to others who are close to the case.”

Mr Martin’s position was eroded yesterday when a Labour MP called for him to quit over the police raid.

Bob Marshall-Andrews said that Mr Martin had lost the confidence of the House after he allowed police to enter the Commons without a search warrant, and should now go.

Mr Marshall-Andrews, who is the first Labour MP to call for the Speaker’s resignation, said that Mr Martin’s handling of the affair represented a “deplorable breach of his duties”.

The Home Affairs Committee investigation, revealed today, is set to be announced this week.

It is understood the official in charge of security for the House of Commons, Jill Pay, the Sergeant at Arms, will be called to give evidence, as will senior Scotland Yard officers including Sir Paul and Mr Quick.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, and Sir David Normington, her permanent secretary, are also expected to be called.

Mr Martin is not expected to be called, but it is understood his role in the affair will also come under scrutiny.

Commons officials could have demanded that police had a warrant before they searched Mr Green’s parliamentary office, but allowed officers to proceed without one – a decision which has caused widespread anger among MPs.

Mr Martin has announced plans for a separate all-party inquiry into the “Greengate” affair, but it will be launched only after the police have concluded their investigation, which may take months. Mr Green has been bailed until February.

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, said he feared there could be a long delay before the findings of the formal parliamentary inquiry were known.

He said: “We welcome the fact that the Speaker is setting up an inquiry through a motion put forward by Harriet Harman, but we are concerned by the fact that it is to be delayed until after possible criminal proceedings come to an end.

This is all required rather more urgently than the motion allows.” In a statement to the Commons last week, Mr Martin expressed “regret” that police officers were admitted to the Palace of Westminster without his personal authority.

He claimed that officers did not inform Ms Pay that she could decline their request for consent to carry out a search.

However, in a letter to Ms Smith, which was made public last week, Mr Quick, an Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard, appeared to contradict the Speaker’s statement.

Scotland Yard has said that Mr Green was held “on suspicion of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office and aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office”.

The likelihood of a charge is thought to centre on whether the MP directly asked Mr Galley to provide leaked information, which would be illegal.

The Tories insist that they merely received information from a whistle-blower.

Mr Quick is understood to have reassured Sir Paul before Mr Green’s arrest that he was confident that correct procedures had been, and would be, followed.

Both men have applied to be the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

When the news of the leak inquiry broke, Mr Galley was moved to an RAF base at taxpayers’ expense to isolate him from reporters and the Westminster rumour machine.

The civil servant was smuggled into RAF Uxbridge in west London and remained there voluntarily for several days in a carefully-planned Home Office operation.

A Home Office spokeswoman refused to comment on the manoeuvre.

The civil servant is understood to have since moved off the base “under his own volition”.

Gordon Brown and Ms Smith have both denied involvement in the decision to arrest Mr Green and insisted that it was purely a matter for the police. (The Telegraph)

 

labourneveragain(willy)

 

 

December 2008; New Laws To Permit Search Of MPs’ Offices Without a Warrant

A new Bill outlined in last week’s Queen’s Speech contains small print allowing officers of the Electoral Commission unfettered powers to search MPs offices or homes.

If the Commons’ Speaker tried to stop the searches, he would be committing a criminal offence.

The details of the Political Parties and Elections Bill, appear to blow out of the water claims by Michael Martin, the Speaker, that in future no MP’s office will be able to be searched without a warrant.

Mr Martin, who is clinging to his job in the wake of the police raid on the office of Mr Green, the Conservative immigration spokesman, made his claim during his statement on the affair in the Commons last week.

Last night Francis Maude, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, branded minister’s new plans “alarming” and said they were a further blow to parliamentary privilege.

Currently, Electoral Commission officials are allowed to make unannounced raids, without a warrant, on the offices of political parties, to search for information or documents.

The new Bill seeks to widen these powers to apply to the offices or homes of “regulated doners”, which include MPs.

No warrant would be needed – just a “disclosure notice” issued by the commission itself.

The new laws could also apply to the homes and offices of anyone who has ever made a donation to a political party.

The Speaker told the House of Commons in his statement last week that “from now on a warrant will always be required where a search of a Member’s office or access to a Member’s Parliamentary papers is sought. Every case must be referred for my personal decision as it is my responsibility.”

However, under the new proposals, he would not be consulted and he would face arrest if he resisted.

The Damian Green case has taken a new twist after it emerged that ministers plan to legislate to make it easier for state officials to raid MPs’ offices without a warrant. (The Telegraph)

 

 

 

December 2008; The Damian Green Affair: The Unanswered Questions

* Did the Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, really play such a small part in the decision to allow the police to search Mr Green’s office as he claimed in his Commons statement last week?

* If so, why was he not fully involved in making such a major decision?

* Will the Sergeant at Arms, Jill Pay, explain publicly for the first time why she allowed police to search Mr Green’s House of Commons office without a warrant?

* Whom did the Sergeant at Arms consult before making her decision to give written consent for the search?

* Why was Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, not informed in advance of the raid on Mr Green’s offices, as she claims?

*Did Jacqui Smith instruct her staff in advance not to inform her if any opposition politicians were about to be arrested?

*Did the alleged whistle-blower, Christopher Galley, provide Damian Green with any information which threatened national security?

*Did Mr Green ask Mr Galley to leak particular documents?

* Did Mr Galley receive payment or the promise of a job in return for leaking?

* Were the police misled by civil servants about the severity of the leaks?

*Specifically, were police told that the leaks involved high-level state secrets involving terrorism?

* Did Scotland Yard make any attempt to obtain a warrant to search Mr Green’s office?

* If so, were they refused?

* What steps have been put in place by Scotland Yard to protect sensitive and private communications between Mr Green and his constituents, particularly as some of the information may relate to the police themselves?

* Will Gordon Brown, and other senior Labour figures, come under any sort of official scrutiny regarding leaks of government material they obtained and released when Labour was in opposition?  (The Telegraph)

 

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December 2008; Speaker Michael Martin Under Pressure As MPs Prepare To Debate Damian Green Affair

MPs are set to increase the pressure on Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons, when a debate on the way police were allowed to search a Tory MP’s office gets under way at Westminster.

Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, had both his Commons office and home searched by anti-terrorist police investigating a Whitehall whistle-blower.

Last week Mr Martin admitted that he did not know about the search and blamed his junior officials – in particular Jill Pay, the Sergeant at Arms – for allowing the raid to go ahead without a warrant.

MPs do not usually criticise the Speaker, but that convention will now be put under strain.

Some MPs have openly questioned Mr Martin’s position.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, used very careful language over the weekend.

He said he “wanted” to have confidence in the Speaker.

Senior Labour figures are now discussing a plan to persuade Mr Martin to announce he intends to stand down at the next election. (The Telegraph)

 

 

 

December 2008; Commons Speaker Michael Martin Under Pressure From MPs

The position of the Commons Speaker Michael Martin is looking increasingly precarious after a poll of MPs found more than 30 backbenchers say they have lost confidence in him.

On the eve of a crucial Commons debate on the Damian Green affair, more than a third of MPs responding to a BBC survey indicated the Speaker should go.

The findings came as more senior figures voiced their misgivings at his handling of the whole affair, while one former deputy speaker said that he should now stand down “with a degree of dignity”.

The survey, by Radio 4’s The World This Weekend programme, approached 130 MPs of whom 90 took part.

Of those, 32 said that they had lost confidence in Mr Martin.

They included eight Labour MPs, 14 Tories, and seven Liberal Democrats.

Another 50 said that they thought the Speaker was in some way “culpable”, including 14 Labour, 22 Tories and 14 Liberal Democrats.

Labour former minister Stephen Ladyman was one of a series of senior backbenchers to express misgivings at one had happened. “It is a very serious matter for a Member of Parliament to lose confidence in the Speaker,” he told The World This Weekend. “We will be incredibly distressed if the inquiry throws up evidence that there was any level of culpability in the Speaker, that he did have the opportunity to do something about it but didn’t do it. “It is a very serious matter and we have to put our loyalty to democracy before our loyalty to the Speaker and our friendship with the Speaker.”

Tory former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said that the concerns were widely shared across Parliament. “I say it with a great degree of sadness that I was deeply surprised and very, very disturbed,” he told The World This Weekend. “One can’t just say it is a small number of people who are worried and concerned. I think most Members of Parliament, regardless of political party, believe the way in which these matters were handled in the last week was seriously flawed. “I don’t think I am being controversial in saying I don’t think that Speaker Martin will go down as one of the great Speakers of the House of Commons.”

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said that it was “unfair” that the Sergeant at Arms Jill Pay had been left by Mr Martin to shoulder the responsibility for allowing police into the Commons without a warrant. “It is right to say that MPs are reluctant to criticise any Speaker, but I felt that I couldn’t just sit on my hands when a senior member of staff was treated in that way and I think that ultimately we become complicit if we remain silent,” he told the programme.

However the most scathing comments came from the former deputy speaker Michael Morris, now Lord Naseby, who said that he was “amazed” that Mr Martin had not stopped the police from entering. “Why the Speaker was not in lead role is something I find absolutely incomprehensible,” he told The World This Weekend. “He needs to reflect on that situation. I don’t think that it is for the members to necessarily put down a motion of no confidence, because that is a very drastic stage, but I think he needs to reflect on his position frankly. “In my judgment he has let the House of Commons down.” He said that he believed that Mr Martin should now consider stepping down before the next general election in order to give his successor a chance to settle in, “We are all human, we make mistakes. In my judgment he has made a mistake, and a very big mistake, and I think you go out with a degree of dignity,” Lord Naseby said  (The Telegraph)

 

republicandarling

 

 

 

December 2008; Damian Green Affair Must Never Be Repeated

Sometimes vindication can be a bitter pill.

Despite the intensity of my belief that this government was systematically undermining our historic freedoms, even l was shocked by the senseless and insensitive behaviour of our police force in arresting my close friend and colleague, Damian Green.

Whether it was chaotic mishandling of the first order by the police, the Home Office, and the House of Commons authorities, or the inevitable consequence of a weakened Commons and over mighty Executive, or something even more sinister, we may never know. Whatever the cause, it must never, ever, happen again.

If it is allowed to stand it will fatally undermine the last vestiges of power in the Commons, intimidate legitimate whistle-blowers from highlighting misdeeds and cover-ups in government, and suppress free speech.

We also hear a lot of bogus talk about threats to national security. When this is challenged we are told “we don’t know all the facts.” Well, yes we do, as far as this case goes anyway.

Remember, we are not talking about leaks to the Russians here. We are talking about information that appeared in newspapers, all of which by definition we know about.

That is why this investigation was launched: it has nothing to do with the security of the nation, and everything to do with the psychological insecurity of the Home Office.

The answer lies in making the shield of parliamentary privilege-or democratic protection as it would be better named – a far more robust device.

“The privilege of freedom of speech enjoyed by Members of Parliament is in truth the privilege of their constituents. It is secured to Members not for their personal benefit but to enable them to discharge the functions of their office without fear of prosecution, civil or criminal.”

Those are the words of the House of Commons Privileges Committee, ruling in 1939 that the government would not be allowed to prosecute Duncan Sandys, who had effectively disclosed Britain’s weakness in defence against the looming Nazi threat.

Duncan Sandys had been threatened with prosecution, not for saying what he said, but for refusing to disclose to the government which Civil Servant had given him the information, or help them in their subsequent witch-hunt.

The protections we have as elected representatives should not be absolute – but they should be clear.

A few are currently codified, essentially in the Bill of Rights.

The rest is governed by the House of Commons itself in a combination of convention, consensus and common sense. Last week that combination came apart at the seams.

Members of Parliament do a number of jobs, and each has its implications for privilege.

In dealing with their constituents, they deal in matters of extreme personal trust and confidentiality.

In exposing failings in government, and the associated cover ups, they act more like journalists.

What this all means is that the House of Commons should apply some fairly straightforward tests before allowing the police to ransack the files of an MP and breach the confidentiality of his constituents and informants.

* Firstly, the crime involved should be serious and specific. Neither should it be a widely cast vague charge as “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office” very much is.

* Secondly, there should be solid evidence. If the MP has not been charged – as Damian Green has not, then this almost certainly means obtaining explicit approval from a Law Officer.

* Thirdly, the charge should not relate to the MP’s legitimate parliamentary activity. The Duncan Sandys case was serious – disclosure of official secrets about military preparedness –yet it was ruled as appropriate Parliamentary action. History proved that judgement right.

* Finally, the intrusion on constituents’ privacy must be absolutely necessary, not some further fishing expedition.

Amid a classic who-said-what-to-whom farrago, the Speaker has been contradicted by the police, who have in turn been contradicted by eminent lawyers.

Even more deplorably, the committee of seven senior MPs proposed to resolve the affair will not even start work until the police (and possibly the courts) have completed their work.

The truth is that the protections we assumed we had for our constituents and whistle-blowers are either not believed in, or are not upheld, by the authorities. Convention has broken down.

The only route left to us is to codify the protections, either in the standing orders of the House, or law, or both.

 

 

 

 

December 2008; Damian Green Affair: Timeline

MPs are to debate the police raid on the House of Commons office of Tory frontbencher Damian Green amid deepening concern over the role played by Speaker Michael Martin.

Here is a timeline of events surrounding the arrest of the shadow immigration minister:

* October 8: Gus McPherson, Cabinet Secretary calls in the Metropolitan Police to investigate the Home Office leaks.

* November 19: Junior Home Office official Christopher Galley is arrested and suspended from duty.

* November 27: Shadow immigration minister Damian Green is arrested and held by the Metropolitan Police for nine hours, on suspicion of “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office, and aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office”.

 

 

 

 

December 2008; Labour’s Hypocrisy Over Leaks And Damian Green’s Arrest

Labour cannot shrug off the charge of hypocrisy over the arrest of the Conservative shadow minister Damian Green because under the Blair and Brown governments successive Home Secretaries have engaged in the deliberate and systematic leaking of their own decisions in order to gain political advantage.

Jacqui Smith’s private office at the Home Office was no different to any other in Whitehall.

Right across the various government departments, Labour’s political spin doctors have shown scant regard for the confidentiality of ministerial announcements and they have regularly been trailed in advance through leaks to sympathetic journalists.

The poisonous legacy of Tony Blair’s action in doubling and then trebling the number of ministerial special advisers has been a rapid acceleration in the politicisation of the flow of information from the state to the news media.

Even though young civil servants have had to sign the Official Secrets Act it is no wonder they might occasionally be tempted to leak information.

They work alongside special advisers who also have the status of temporary civil servants but who are not subject to the same rules and who have the freedom to pass on confidential data to journalists.

Tipping off newspapers about the content of forthcoming announcements has become a way of life under New Labour.

When Jacqui Smith defended the Metropolitan Police for arresting the twenty-six-year old civil servant Christopher Galley and the Conservative shadow minister Damian Green she complained about there having been “a systematic series of leaks from the department which deals with some of the most sensitive confidential information in the government”.

But she could just as easily have been giving the job description of one of the many Labour Party spin doctors working at the heart of the government.

There has been a systematic trailing of Home Office decisions on her watch, just as there was during the tenure of her predecessors who showed the same cavalier disregard for parliamentary conventions by pre-empting announcements.

The last of the leaks which preceded the arrests of Galley and Green related to the impact on crime of the economic downturn. “Crunch will send crime soaring” was the Daily Mail’s front-page headline (1.9.2008) over its report about the leak of a “dynamite draft letter” from Ms Smith to the Prime Minister predicting a sharp rise in burglary and violence.

Perhaps the Home Secretary has chosen to overlook the exclusive stories which her own spin doctors have leaked to the News of the World:

* “War on Guns” — an exclusive front-page splash about Ms Smith’s plan to announce a “dramatic gun amnesty to clean up Britain’s streets of fear”. (News of the World 26.8.2007)

* “It’s victory for Sarah” — an exclusive report confirming that the Home Secretary would “push ahead with plans to protect kids from paedophiles in a major victory for our Sarah’s law campaign”. (News of the World 17.2.2008)

The failure of New Labour to recognise their own double standards beggars belief.

Lance Price, a former BBC correspondent who became a Downing Street spin doctor, revealed all when writing about Green’s arrest for the Daily Telegraph (29.11.2008).

He admitted that during the early years of his premiership Tony Blair routinely leaked information which pre-empted government announcements.

Price’s account of the hidden trade between politicians and the news media can hardly be bettered: “I sat in on briefings with senior journalists in which he (Blair) would reveal, ahead of time, the government’s plans in one area or another.

It was my job to do the same on an almost daily basis, and I was paid from the public purse for the privilege”.

Gordon Brown’s difficulty in attempting to castigate Damian Green is twofold:

not only was Brown an assiduous exploiter of leaked documents during his days in Opposition, but he has also become the Labour government’s most prolific and longest-serving trader in government secrets.

Brown learned the hard way how to cover his tracks.

He did not repeat, for example, the mistake he made in a BBC Breakfast interview in 1985 when he owned up to the presenter Frank Bough about the origin of a leak about the latest estimates for supplementary benefits.

Brown: “I was given them by a civil servant who was as concerned as I was about a government that misled people”.

Bough: “You’ve got a very good mole in there, haven’t you?”

Brown: “Well, I don’t know, I’ve got someone who’s very concerned about the public interest”.

A decade later when he was shadow Chancellor he took greater care not to be caught off guard.

In November 1993 he obtained a leaked copy of the government’s latest review of social security and after being interviewed with the document in a report for Breakfast with Frost he complained that it could be seen in close up.

Brown demanded that the shot should be removed from all further news bulletins because he had said “seventeen times that no minister should see it”…and he wanted to “make sure if Virginia Bottomley (Secretary of State for Health) is interviewed by On The Record she doesn’t get to see it”.

But Brown’s quote to end all quotes was from Budget day in 1996 after Labour had made use of an illicitly-acquired document which contained most of the key announcements and which the shadow Chancellor’s aides leaked so comprehensively that it torpedoed Kenneth Clarke’s final Budget for the Conservatives.

“1p off tax today” was the front-page headline in the Sun which thanks to the help of spin doctors like Charlie Whelan correctly pre-empted most of Clarke’s announcements.

But when he was interviewed that morning on Today, Brown could hardly have sounded any more upstanding.

He said that when he personally was offered the chance to read the 94-page pack of Treasury press releases, he refused.

With a general election only months away, Brown must have looked over his shoulder momentarily, remembered his own questionable behaviour in the past, and realised that as the likely future Chancellor it was time, at least in public, to play by the rules of Whitehall and to start attacking leakers.

Had Margaret Thatcher still been in the House of Commons, she would not doubt have been incandescent at the effrontery of Brown’s answer on Today: “Nobody can condone the leak of sensitive Budget matters the day before the Budget…The most important thing to recognise is that the civil servant who did this is serving no public purpose. I don’t think anyone should condone the action”.

In his decade as Chancellor, Brown progressively disregarded virtually all the ballyhoo about pre-Budget purdah and the traditional secrecy surrounding the contents of the Budget box.

During his long years in opposition Brown had become a regular conduit for publicising confidential documents leaked to him by civil servants and he was admired for the way he could put them to good use when attacking the Conservatives.

In distributing his leaks and tip-offs among the political correspondents of Westminster, he had made some friends for life.

Once Labour were in power, he demonstrated an equally deft touch when making use of the journalists he could trust.

The press build-up his Budgets and financial statements was always carefully manipulated to prepare the ground for any changes which he intended to make and Brown has continued as Prime Minister to be Labour’s leading exponent of institutionalised leaking.( Spinwatch)

 

Michael Gove

 

 

 

December 2008; Gordon Brown Gave Me Leaked Whitehall Secrets – Michael Gove

He was a young Opposition politician motivated by an admirable sort of idealism.

He believed the establishment was arranging things, which mattered hugely to his constituents, entirely on their own terms.

He felt that the public should be informed about big issues which touched on their livelihoods and safety.

So when a leak came, indeed when a series of leaks came, that blew open just what was going on behind closed doors, he shared the information with me.

The young Opposition politician in question? Gordon Brown.

In the early 1990s, when the Prime Minister was in the shadow cabinet, I worked for Scottish Television.

Gordon had cut his teeth as a producer for STV years before.

Not only did he appreciate how broadcast news operated, he was also co-operative towards young journalists at his old station.

That is why he would always make time to troop out to the rain-soaked green outside the Commons to share with me details of the latest leaked document he had received.

As shadow trade and industry spokesman, Gordon was developing a formidable Commons reputation and was clearly in the party’s top three performers.

He had the safest of seats in Fife and a loyal phalanx of supporters within the Scottish Labour Party.

He had no particular need to cultivate his own, very secure, backyard.

But he took the trouble to keep me informed because the leaks touched on a constituency issue that mattered hugely to him – the future of the Rosyth naval base, which was smack on his doorstep.

Over a prolonged period, Gordon was in receipt of a whole series of documents which led him to believe the Government was preparing to do the dirty on Rosyth.

He feared that electoral calculations would lead the Government to favour naval bases in Tory seats down South, when ministers should be standing by Rosyth.

He fought a tenacious campaign, which as a young reporter I appreciated being able to cover.

And what gave the campaign an extra edge and panache, indeed what gave it the ability to dominate the Scottish media and influence Cabinet opinion, was the potency of the leaks.

Papers flowed from the heart of the Ministry of Defence into Gordon Brown’s office and straight onto the nation’s news-desks.

Papers which gave Gordon a fantastic platform. But papers which also, crucially, touched not just on his constituents’ security of employment but also the security of the nation.

For Rosyth was home not just to Type 42 destroyers but was also a base for refitting the nuclear submarines which provide Britain with its deterrent.

And the leaks we received came, as Gordon often pointed out himself, at a time when British forces were committed in the Middle East against Saddam Hussein.

Of course, at the time, Gordon argued he was enhancing our national security.

Securing guarantees for Rosyth’s future was in the national interest, he maintained. And I saw force of the argument then.

But if that justification was valid when Gordon Brown was an opposition politician, then what does it say about the Prime Minister’s attitude now?

It seems hypocritical to say the least for Gordon to argue that my colleague Damian Green has committed some sort of grave sin by publicising information he has received.

Damian has placed information in the public domain, about the Government’s failure to police immigration, which is crucial to the national debate about how we secure our borders.

No-one has argued that the public debate has been cheapened or demeaned by Damian’s actions.

Exposing the fact that thousands of illegal immigrants are working in the security industry is important, and a telling example of the Government’s failure to get a grip on a hugely sensitive issue.

But, in security terms, there’s a difference between what happens with Group Four guards and what happens with Trident submarines.

And it must be clear, even to the most partisan Labour stooge, which is the bigger national security issue.

Police will continue to ask their questions. But that mustn’t stop opposition politicians asking serious questions too.

Why did officials decide that this was a criminal investigation and not a simple matter of breach of an employment contract?

As Maurice Frankel of the Campaign for the Freedom of Information has pointed out, the law was specifically changed in 1989 to ensure these sorts of leaks were employment issues, not criminal matters.

What was the ministerial involvement in launching this investigation and who within Government, at whatever level, has been kept informed about the its progress?

What national security issues are really at stake?

Are they anything like as serious as the nationals security issues raised by the MoD leaks to Gordon Brown in the 1990s?

And if they’re not, then why do the police think it right to arrest someone now when they didn’t then?

Above all, why should the full investigative power of the criminal justice system be used to harass and intimidate a politician who has exposed Government failure?

And why won’t Gordon Brown tell us what he thinks?

He was never so shy 17 years ago when the leaks were all coming his way.  (The Telegraph)

 

 

 

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George Osborne – Man – Mouse or Tory Rat – The Man Who Would Be King

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October 1 2011; George Osborne: from the Bullingdon club to the heart of government

When George Osborne was 17, he took part in a school debate on nuclear disarmament. He was then an A-level politics student at St Paul’s in London, one of England’s leading public schools. On the day of the debate, a crowd of sixth-formers gathered to listen. Osborne, already perhaps displaying latent right-wing sympathies, was to argue in favour of the nuclear deterrent. On the opposing side, his classmate Sam Bain would put the case for the CND. But as Osborne rose to speak, a rugby teacher came into the classroom to say he was required to play in a match. Osborne rushed out, leaving the notes of his speech behind. “Some guy in the audience read it out and he won pretty unanimously,” recalls Bain now. “So basically, I failed to win a debate against him even though he wasn’t there.”

For Bain the humiliation was not entirely unexpected. Even as an adolescent, Osborne seemed preternaturally composed, somehow older than his contemporaries and with a clear idea of where he was heading and of the kind of person he wanted to become.

“We were 17, and at that point he was grown-up in a way that no one else was in our year,” recalls Bain, who went on to co-create Channel 4’s Peep Show and the new student comedy Fresh Meat. “He looked and behaved like a man who had already decided what he was going to do with his life.”

The story of how that teenager went on to become the youngest chancellor of the exchequer in 120 years is an intriguing one. It contains many surprising elements, including tales of riotous debauchery, allegations of electoral malpractice in student politics and, at one point, an intimate encounter with the pop star Geri Halliwell – more of which later. But in many ways Osborne at 40 still retains the essence of Osborne at 17. Those who work for him now remark on his exceptional political brain, on his ability to out-think his opponents with strokes of tactical genius, to present even the most dense economic argument with an eye to what will make the next day’s headlines and to know, deep down in his bones, what will win over a crowd.

“I remember many times when we were faced with a tricky political problem and there’d be a light bulb moment,” says Conservative MP Matthew Hancock, who was Osborne’s economic adviser and chief of staff until last year. “There’s nobody else I’ve ever met where that moment was so obvious – his entire face would light up and he’d say: ‘No, we’ll do it like this.’ And it was always a really brilliant idea. He’s very creative.”

Yet for all that he inspires loyalty among those who work for him, Osborne has enough self-knowledge to realise that his public persona is fatally lacking. On television he comes across as stilted, lacking David Cameron’s easy bonhomie and banter. In parliament his youthful features – a plump, pale face; foppish dark hair – only serve to underline the impression that he is an overgrown public schoolboy not quite up to the job of steering the country through a devastating financial crisis. His privileged upbringing – Osborne is the eldest son of Sir Peter Osborne, the 17th holder of a hereditary baronetcy and the co-founder of wallpaper designers Osborne & Little – adds to the tabloid caricature of a toff with a trust fund. His mouth, according to one commentator, “is curled into a permanent sneer so it looks as if he’s laughing when he announces yet more cuts to public services”.

osborne

Unhelpfully, he is forever dogged by two infamous photographs from his past: the first, taken in 1992, depicts Osborne as a latter-day Sebastian Flyte, resplendent in tails and a blue bow tie as a member of Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club; the second, taken a few years later, shows him grinning inanely with his arm flung casually around the shoulders of escort Natalie Rowe, surrounded by empty bottles of wine and what might or might not be a line of cocaine on the table in front of him. Those two images have reinforced – unfairly or otherwise – an overriding public sense of Osborne as a dilettante possessed of a healthy sense of entitlement. At a time when he is championing a series of swingeing austerity measures, Osborne is only too aware that such a preconception is unfortunate.

As a consequence he carefully rations his public appearances – a tactic that has earned him the nickname of “the submarine” among Tory staffers. “He stays underwater for a long time and when he appears he prepares impeccably,” explains Janan Ganesh, the political correspondent for the Economist who is currently writing a biography of Osborne. “He’s very open in private that he will – in his words – ‘never be a man of the people’. It’s a combination of material privilege and more superficial stuff, like the way he looks and sounds… During the past election campaign, for instance, he was not visible. That was because he knew he was more of an asset behind the scenes.”

osborne

Osborne at 17 could win a school debate without having to appear in person, but simply by having someone else read out his cleverly structured arguments. Twenty-three years later, as chancellor of the exchequer, that same strategy has been successfully refined and redeployed, albeit on a rather larger scale.

For Sam Bain, Osborne’s erstwhile debating partner, there is a feeling of inevitability about his classmate’s rise to power. “I certainly feel very old now looking at him as chancellor, but thinking about how he got there, it does make sense,” he says. “You probably have to be working at it for 20 years or more to achieve that. It does speak of someone who is very single-minded, and whether or not you agree with his politics, that’s a pretty extraordinary thing.”

To those who have observed his ascent from the outside, Osborne has always seemed to know exactly where he was going. Friends say that he is adamant that there was no steady teleological process – after graduating with a 2:1 in modern history from Magdalen College, Oxford, he toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist and pursued a number of dead-end jobs (at one point refolding towels in Selfridge’s) before a friend mentioned there was a vacancy in the research department of Conservative Central Office. From there he rose to become political secretary and speechwriter to William Hague before getting elected Conservative MP for Tatton in 2001 and then being appointed shadow chancellor by Michael Howard at the precocious age of 33.

Anyone looking at that inexorable rise would be forgiven for thinking Osborne had a masterplan. “Actually at every step [of his career], he had massive doubt,” says one friend. “It was: ‘What the hell am I going to do next?'”

george & francis osborne

Although there might have been doubt beneath the surface, superficially he seemed ambitious from the off. During the early days of Cameron’s opposition, employees at Conservative Central Office remember that Osborne’s professional style was markedly different from that of the leader’s. Whereas Cameron would come in each morning bluff and cheerful, greeting everyone by name, Osborne would walk straight to his office without a word and close the door.

“Osborne comes from this clever, entitled background; he’s got this ‘born to rule’ attitude,” says one peer. “He’s sharp, but he’s not as clever as Cameron.”

The Cameron-Osborne partnership has always been close – they are godfathers to each other’s children – in large part because of their differing strengths. Whereas Cameron is the public face of the party and the embodiment of a broad ideological vision, Osborne is the arch-tactician, the political chess player who delights in the game. He is in some ways the purest (and, some might say, the most terrifying) form of politician: driven not by any specific ideology but by the thrill of the chase, the exercise of statecraft and by ambition itself. “For him, politics is the biggest toy in the playground,” says one acquaintance.

“His first thought is: what is the politics of this, both internal and external?” says a former adviser. “It’s a great strength, but it can also be a weakness. There are plenty of times in politics where the right thing to do is not the politically correct thing to do. I think George is put on the spot in interviews when people say to him: ‘Why are you in politics? How do you want this country to be?’ That shines a telling light on him as a person and a thinker. His wiring is political and that means it is contextual, so his answer would depend on the prevailing political mood.”

Occasionally his obsession with day-to-day tactics rather than an overarching strategy has led to criticism within the Tory ranks. During the 2010 election campaign, which Osborne was masterminding, he produced a “Top Tory of the Day” T-shirt for any staffer who came up with the cleverest publicity coup. “He loves that kind of stuff,” says one political commentator. “He can put doing over your opponent ahead of the need for an underlying vision.”

Hague-Cameron-adn-Osborne-007

His Liberal Democrat colleagues in the coalition government talk darkly of Treasury briefings against them, always carried out by underlings rather than Osborne himself, who is careful to remain charming in person. “Of course it’s partly Treasury arrogance – the institutional inability to give any other department credit,” says Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott, who quit as a House of Lords Treasury spokesman earlier this year in protest at Osborne’s failure to take strong enough action on bank bonuses. “Osborne is a very, very clever operator. He’s got a real eye for the political main chance.”

And yet Cameron – who is five years older than his chancellor – has been canny enough to harness this to his own advantage: he already has the advice of Steve Hilton (Cameron’s director of strategy) for blue-sky thoughts about Big Societies and the like. Osborne, by contrast, provides the hard-headed calculation. He also has more liberal instincts than Cameron on issues such as abortion and gay adoption. A low-tax, small-state Conservative, he is said to find some of Cameron’s money-guzzling social and environmental initiatives baffling. And Osborne can be radical: as a new backbencher, he proposed that the royal family should pay rent for Kensington Palace. It is for these reasons, says Ganesh, that “Cameron absolutely counts on him”. They are a complementary partnership.

Unlike Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, whose alleged gentlemen’s agreement in 1994 over who would stand for the leadership became part of New Labour political mythology, Osborne insists he struck no such bargain. “There was no deal over the rabbit polenta,” he said in an interview six years ago with the Daily Telegraph. That, of course, does not mean he has no ambitions for the leadership – quite the contrary.

“To be a politician at that level, you have to take yourself very seriously and believe you can be leader,” says a former Conservative MP who used to work for Osborne. “But I think they learned a lesson from the Blair-Brown years. And that was: never, ever let it happen to us. They are genuinely brothers-in-arms. They’ve always both just put winning at the top of their list, even if their outlooks and priorities are different.”

The door between No 10 and the Treasury at No 11 is always open – in stark contrast to some previous regimes – and the prime minister trusts Osborne enough to allow him to chair the daily 4pm strategy meeting with Cameron’s inner team if he is away.

Mac Daily mail Osborne cartoon

“They were always very close,” says one former Conservative cabinet minister, “but David was always clearly the dominant figure in that partnership. When I first met George and David for discussions, George would be silent. He would occasionally chip in, but it was evident that there was a lack of assertiveness and self-confidence. I think that’s changed. He’s grown in stature very encouragingly, because he needed to if he was going to be effective.”

How would his lack of confidence manifest itself? “You’d notice it. There was a certain nervousness.”

Again, there is a disparity here between the public and private Osborne. In public he comes across as being almost too confident for his own good; smoothly assured that his deficit-reduction plan is the right course of action even though almost no other western nation has followed suit and some economists continue to predict fiscal measures will cause sluggish growth and high unemployment for decades.

According to one senior adviser: “That’s when his political instincts come straight through and he says: ‘OK, I’m going to take some flak for this; I’ll fight my corner.’ I’ve not seen any impression of any particular gloominess. He’s not often shy of political jousting.” He is also well-regarded on the international stage, counting Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, and US Treasury secretary Tim Geithner among his admirers (not bad for someone who used to have a beginner’s guide to economics in his office).

In private, however, there are signs that his self-assurance in parliament is something of an act. At parties he often appears uncomfortable and guarded, as though constantly on the lookout for a potential conversational banana skin. People who meet him outside the House of Commons find him difficult to connect with. “There’s an emotional distance there,” says one. “Everyone who works with him says he’s so charming, but I must admit I’ve always found him rather charmless.”

And it is true that in the corridors of power it is difficult to find anyone with a bad word to say about him on a personal level. Even his most strident critics admit he is likeable, even if his policies aren’t.

Westminster London SW1 19/03/09

In coalition he has, according to one Liberal Democrat, been “a courteous colleague. He’s a very smooth operator”. After the election Osborne made a point of going to business secretary Vince Cable’s office to introduce himself, even though it is customary for the more junior minister to make the effort. “He is always polite, quick and very sharp,” says one Liberal Democrat. This in spite of the fact that, according to one Conservative peer, Osborne finds the constraints of coalition “extremely irksome”. His relationship with Cable is said to be good – at least on the surface – but, says the Lib Dem: “We have to warn Vince about Osborne, because when someone’s being nice to him he lets his guard drop.”

Within his close team of young advisers – chief of staff Rupert Harrison, special advisers Eleanor Shawcross and Ramesh Chhabra are all in their late 20s or early 30s – he inspires almost fanatical loyalty. They are keen to stress his quick wit and dark, acerbic humour (although the best Osborne joke I heard was his remark during a Christmas party attended by the rapper 50 Cent. He is said to have quipped to guests: “That’s Mr Cent to you”), his sympathetic attitude to mothers who need to knock off early if their child is ill and his willingness to give career advice to up-and-coming politicos.

Time and again I am told that “the worst thing you can do in a meeting with George is not to speak your mind”. No one I talk to has ever seen him get angry, which suggests a remarkable level of self-control. “No, I’ve never seen him lose it,” says Hancock. “He gets passionate about things, but that’s different.” There is certainly no phone throwing these days in No 11.

“The people who work for him say that Osborne is young enough to remember what it was like to have a boss,” says Ganesh. “People say he’s considerate, and as a result of this he engenders a lot of residual personal loyalty. He’s developed a parliamentary following – MPs like Greg Hands, Claire Perry, Matt Hancock – all of whom worked for Osborne at some stage and who have retained their former loyalty.”

If he ever did decide to stand for leader, an Osbornite cabal would already be in place.

Osborne was born in 1971, the eldest of four brothers in a liberal-leaning, bohemian family. His mother, Felicity Loxton-Peacock, was a former debutante turned anti-Vietnam protester who eventually switched to voting Conservative after Margaret Thatcher became leader. His father, also liberal-minded, set up the family wallpaper business around the kitchen table in Notting Hill. It was, Osborne has said in the past, “a metropolitan upbringing [rather] than a landed, shire-county upbringing” of the kind David Cameron enjoyed.

The fact that he turned out a Tory is a cause of some amusement among his extended family. His brothers – Adam, Benedict and Theo – have all followed less conventional paths. Adam Osborne is a doctor who was suspended from the General Medical Council for six months last year after improperly prescribing drugs to a cocaine-addicted escort. He converted to Islam to marry his wife Rahala in 2009. Benedict is a graphic designer, while Theo runs an online bookmaking company.

As a child Osborne was, by his own admission, “the most sensible out of all the kids. I was extremely well behaved.” His love of learning earned him the nickname “Knowledge” from his siblings.

In reality the name his parents gave him was Gideon, which he famously chose to drop at the age of 13 for the more straightforward George (his grandfather’s name) because “life was easier as a George”. Some of his classmates at St Paul’s believe Osborne made the change in order to sound less exotic and “more prime ministerial”. “It certainly falls in with my profile of someone who was already thinking about his image,” says one.

At school he was clearly bright, but not especially popular. His personal tutor Mike Seigel remembers him as “one of the most talented students I came across in a quarter of a century. He had a determination to do well.” Osborne went on to Oxford, where he edited the university magazine Isis in 1992 and produced a special edition partially printed on hemp paper to indicate the importance of “green issues”.

Unlike his future boss William Hague, who had graduated from Magdalen a decade before, Osborne did not get involved in the Oxford Union. But as a 19-year-old he did stand for the post of Entertainments Representative in his college junior common room (JCR) along with a friend. It was here, perhaps, amid the cut-price beer and freshers’ high jinks, that he got his first taste for politics. In fact his electioneering was so enthusiastic his rival for the position wrote a letter of complaint to the JCR vice president outlining Osborne’s underhand tactics.

The letter, dated 15 November 1990, reads: “I wish to lodge a complaint concerning electorate malpractice on the part of Messrs George Osborne and [the friend] on three counts, namely:

1 The dissemination of five different wordings of posters, instead of the mandatory two.

2 The posting of the above on places other than noticeboards, such as doors and walls.

3 The attempt on the part of Mr Osborne to pervert the democratic process by electioneering in the JCR.

I would urge that these matters be considered with a view to possible disqualification.”

The complaint is signed by RD Harding, who went on to win the election. Rupert Harding, who now works at a language school in Finland, is rather embarrassed by the strident tone of his letter. “I have little to no recollection of the campaign,” he says. “Perverting the democratic process I think meant going up to people after Neighbours and asking them to vote for him.” Osborne was, in any case, roundly defeated at the hustings.

At Oxford, Osborne’s contemporaries remember him as one of a clique of “braying public schoolboys”. His friends saw a different side – “My recollection of George is that he was a nice bloke, quite approachable, shy and very bright,” says one – but his membership of the notorious Bullingdon Club did little to dampen the perception of elitism. Infamous for its riotous behaviour, the society is open only to sons of aristocratic families or the super-rich. The initiation process was to down a bottle of tequila while standing on a table. That immortal Bullingdon photo would come back to haunt him.

The goings-on of the Bullingdon are extremely secretive, but one of Osborne’s contemporaries, who has never spoken to the press, told me what happened after that photograph of Osborne, standing imperious in bow tie and tails, was taken. “We got on a double-decker bus and drove to Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire,” he says. “It started to get really out of control. I remember a guest being comatose on the lawn, being tended to by a butler who was applying cold towels to his forehead, trying to bring him round. One of the guys got into a fist fight because he was Italian and a football match was on and there’d been some racial taunting. Plates had been thrown. As usual, it escalated. It was a group of young, testosterone- and alcohol-fuelled men, many of whom don’t ever have to work. I think George was mildly alarmed. He was enjoying the food and wine, enjoying watching the football, and I just remember him looking at me with raised eyebrows at what was going on. I never saw him take drugs.”

On a different occasion with Osborne also present, he remembers one Bullingdon member “trying to snort lines of coke from the top of an open-top bus and the bus was speeding along so it kept blowing away. I said to him: ‘You’re stupid. It’s blowing away,’ and his response was: ‘I can afford it.'”

Another time Osborne and the other Bullingdon members went for a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Berkshire where, coincidentally, the comedian Lenny Henry was having dinner with his then-wife Dawn French. “We interrupted the whole evening,” the source says. “A couple of the boys started getting obnoxious and talking about their family wealth and Henry said: ‘Actually, sod off.’ Then there was a slight altercation when a member put a cigar out on someone else’s lapel and it turned into a fight and furniture was broken. It was horrible, horrible. We used to smash everything up and then pay a cheque, saying: ‘It’s OK; we can pay for it.’ It was pretty shocking.”

How did an undergraduate who supposedly smashed up furniture and downed tequila get from there to become chancellor of the exchequer? “In a sense there’s no difference between the Bullingdon George and the chancellor George: they both simply wanted to be the best,” explains one former colleague. “Being the best at Oxford, in his eyes, meant joining the Bullingdon.”

Natalie Rowe Hooker

Osborne has remained understandably tight-lipped about his youthful excesses, insisting, even when the photograph of him with vice-girl Natalie Rowe emerged in 2005, that MPs are entitled to have lived a life pre-politics. But it certainly appears from this account that Osborne liked to cut loose and have a good time. And it seems an element of that has stayed with him, despite the guardedness he is now careful to assume in public. When I ask a senior coalition colleague how Osborne made the transition from party animal to sober-minded politician, the reply comes: “I don’t think anyone’s ever believed he’s sober. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was trying to relive the youth he never had.”

A few years ago, at the wedding of his brother-in-law Toby Howell (Osborne’s author wife, Frances, is the daughter of Conservative peer Lord Howell and the couple have two children, Luke, 10, and Liberty, eight), Osborne was, according to onlookers, encouraged to play a game of “pass the ice cube” with fellow guests. Osborne gamely agreed and is said to have found himself mouth-to-mouth with the pop star Geri Halliwell, who was there as the girlfriend of Henry Beckwith, the son of a millionaire property developer. Posterity does not record the reaction of either party. By all accounts, Frances would have taken it in good part. “She’s very much her own woman,” says an acquaintance. “They both lead quite independent lives.”

More seriously, Osborne’s taste for the high life also led to one of the worst errors of his political career. In October 2008, it was claimed that Osborne had tried to solicit a £50,000 donation from the Russian aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska while holidaying on the oligarch’s yacht with Peter Mandelson off the coast of Corfu. Such a move would have been a violation of the law against political donations by foreign citizens. A formal complaint was made to the Electoral Commission. Although the Commission rejected the claims and Osborne has always strongly denied the allegations, he was astute enough to know that it did not look good.

“He learned the lesson of his folly in Corfu,” says one former chancellor of the episode. “It was obviously very silly. But the important thing was not that he did it but that he learned his lesson and that will prevent him from doing something stupid in future.”

When Natalie Rowe gave an interview last month to the Australian news channel ABC in which she claimed Osborne had taken cocaine with her, the chancellor seemed unperturbed. He did not comment on the allegations, even when there was speculation that Osborne remained so indebted to the then News of the World editor Andy Coulson for not making too much of the Rowe story when it first broke six years ago that he recommended him to Cameron as his director of communications.

“He definitely thinks he’s silly to have done some of those things,” says one of Osborne’s close associates. “But it does speak to his deep self-confidence that he’s always assumed he’ll be running the country and none of this breaks his stride.”

From the school debating team to the Bullingdon and all the way to No 11, Osborne has always wanted to be the best. If this means the next logical step is to become prime minister, it would be foolish to underestimate his determination to get there. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/oct/01/george-osborne-bullingdon-club-government

1914-1918 World War Disaster-Role of the Generals

The Son of former BBC election night star Peter Snow, Dan was hired to be the public face of the celebrity better together campaign, (as he has previously for other high profile campaigns.). He is married to the fabulously wealthy Duke of Westminster’s daughter, Lady Edwina. Their families enjoy the friendship of the five richest families in the UK, whose combined wealth is in excess of the total wealth of 20% of the population of the entire UK. In a recent BBC1 about WW1, (which he produced and presented) there is a hint to his warped view of the world.

He Said, “Many soldiers enjoyed WW1. If they were lucky they would avoid a big offensive, and much of the time, conditions might be better than at home. For the British there was meat every day – a rare luxury back home – cigarettes, tea and rum, part of a daily diet of over 4,000 calories. Absentee rates due to sickness, an important barometer of a unit’s morale were, remarkably, hardly above peacetime rates. Many young men enjoyed the guaranteed pay, the intense comradeship, the responsibility and a much greater sexual freedom than in peacetime Britain”.

His great Great-Grandfather was David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister from 1916 until 1922. And his great grandfather was Sir Thomas D’Oyly Snow, one of the generals who planned and executed the battle of the Somme. On just the first day at the battle, 1 July 1916, the army suffered over 57,000 casualties, including more 19,000 dead. Even Snow admitted, “That is the darkest day in British military history, arguably British history, and my great-grandpa was one of the key guys in the planning and execution of that attack”

As well as being part of a TV dynasty second only to the Dimblebys, Snow has a deeply personal connection with the elite responsible for the disasters of the First World War. Now none of us are responsible for the mistakes of our ancestors, but we can seek to learn from them and not to justify them. But Snow has chosen justification, in spite of the fact that his great grandfather’s account of his experience directly contradicts his defence of the war.

Dan Snow describes Thomas D’Oyly Snow as, “a hardened enforcer for the Queen Empress Victoria”. And indeed he was. “He fought Zulus in South Africa and the Mahdi in Sudan, where he carried a bottle of champagne with him to Khartoum and drank it when his troops had avenged the death of General Gordon, who was killed fighting the Mahdi’s warriors in 1885…On the eve of war he was commanding the 4th Division in Britain, assimilating the lessons of the 1899-1902 Boer War for the possibility of war in Europe”.

In the current debate Dan Snow has made a great play of the fact that the, “lions led by donkeys” interpretation of the war is false. Today he insists that the Generals were at the forefront of military innovation. But when it comes to assessing his ancestor’s exploits it’s a different story. Indeed Sir Thomas D’Oyly Snow saw the war first hand and in very different terms to young Snow. Sir Thomas D’Oyly wrote, “The higher staffs had had no practice in command, and although they had been well trained in the theory of the writing and issue of orders, they failed in the practice…Added to this we all suffered from the fault common to all Englishmen, a fault we did not know we suffered from till war revealed it, a total lack of imagination”.

It was 2008 when Dan Snow discovered this family history and 2011 when he wrote about it. Back then he thought his great grandfather was, “deeply critical of himself and others, from the inexperience of the British gunners to the shortage of ammunition”. Churchill refused to re-supply artillery shells to the front claiming there was no money available. In defence of Sir Thomas, Dan Snow wrote, “The revolution in firepower had given the defending side the ability to bring a wall of steel and explosives down on anyone brave enough to attack. Radio was in its infancy. Telephone cables were severed, messengers were picked off by snipers armed with rifles of hitherto undreamed of power and accuracy. Thousands of miles of newly invented barbed wire posed an intractable problem”.

Sir Thomas recorded; ‘We lost several men on the first night, drowned or smothered. The men had either to stand in water, knee deep, with every prospect of sinking in deeper still, or hang on the side of the trench. Later in the war we should have overcome the difficulty but at this time the men were overworked in keeping the front trenches in order, and we were all inexperienced. On one occasion one of my staff said to a Corporal of the Engineers, “Now you are an engineer; cannot you devise some method of draining this trench?” to which he replied, “I am afraid, Sir, that I cannot; you see before the war I was a Christmas card maker by trade.”’

And the high command did nothing to help: ‘We were not provided with wood wherewith to make trench-boards, and no extra socks or waterproof boots were forthcoming. We were only censured for having so many sick.’

Dan Snow says that the General’s memoirs finish before, “his darkest days of the war”. At the Somme Sir Thomas’ men, “attacked the strongest stretch of German line as a diversion for the main assault, which went in to the south. Even by the standards of that bloody and futile day, the attack of Snow’s VII Corps was a disaster.”

But Sir Thomas D’Olyly Snow was at a chateau, not the front. Even Dan Snow admits that when he went to the chateau, “It feels a long way from the carnage of the trenches”. Worse still, it appears Snow attempted to shift the blame away from himself, writing to his seniors, “I regret to have to report that the 46th Division in yesterday’s operations showed a lack of offensive spirit.” This was after the men had fought their way through unbroken barbed wire. Then, once they did manage to get into the German trench system, they held off counterattacks until they had run out of ammunition and were forced to use shovels and their bare hands.” It was says Dan Snow of Sir Thomas, “an inexcusable attempt to shift the blame”.

Does all this really sound like Dan Snow’s recent claim, “Many soldiers enjoyed WW1. If they were lucky they would avoid a big offensive, and much of the time, conditions might be better than at home. For the British there was meat every day – a rare luxury back home – cigarettes, tea and rum, part of a daily diet of over 4,000 calories. Absentee rates due to sickness, an important barometer of a unit’s morale were, remarkably, hardly above peacetime rates. Many young men enjoyed the guaranteed pay, the intense comradeship, the responsibility and a much greater sexual freedom than in peacetime Britain’.

Doesn’t it sound rather like the myths that the Dan Snow of 2014 is trying to dismiss. Are there not here poorly trained troops, unsupported by the high command? Do the generals not seem to know what they are doing? Are they not versed in colonial warfare but unprepared for an industrialized total war? Are they not in the chateau and not the trenches? Are they not trying to shift the blame for failure onto others?

If we want to know about the realities of the First World War it would seem the old imperial warrior is a better guide than his historian great grandson.

The 1707 Act of Union, Scotland & England (A Recap)

The 1707 Act of Union, (A Recap)

Although ruled by one monarch, (from 1603 – 1707) England & Scotland remained to be separate countries, each with their own Parliament’s. There continued to exist a deep seated lack of trust between the 2 Nations. The Scots were fearful, (reflecting on the fate of the Welsh Nation 400 years before) that joining with England would, (in time) bring about the demise of Scotland, rendering it a, “region” of England. Always to the forefront of their thought’s, the English were consumed by fear that the Scot’s might, once again join in an alliance with the Roman Catholic French. It was crucial that the much feared, “Scottish Army” did not join with the French.

Subsequent to his death, in exile, in France, of the Roman Catholic, Charles 11 his Roman Catholic brother James 11 inherited the throne. He was a disaster, favouring Roman Catholic over Protestant. A, “fed up” English establishment secretly invited, the Dutch warlord, William of Orange to seize the throne saving England from the, “Romans” He willingly accepted and came to England supported by a substantial Dutch force. William engaged and defeated James in battle in Ireland and was crowned King William 111.

Enjoying the confidence of the newly crowned King, the Scotsman, “William Paterson” a worldly traveller who had made a substantial fortune through trade persuaded King William to create a , “Bank” to be supported by gold held in a central vault in London. William was an astute man with a long history of plotting, duplicity and deviousness and in 1694 he issued a decree requiring all gold deposits, (held by goldsmiths) in England to be given up, in exchange for notes and coinage, to a newly formed, “Bank of England”. With the gold safely under it’s control the, “Bank of England” printed notes and minted coinage far in excess of the gold reserves. In a very short period of time the, “Bank of England” became a very powerful banking force.

Building upon his success, “William Paterson” then convinced King William and the, “Bank of England” to jointly finance settlement and colonisation of ports in the, “Indus of Panama”. A successful venture which would reduce shipping times to the financially lucrative, “Far East” market by half. Eager to be in favour of the Scot’s, King William authorised the creation and funding of the, “Company of Scotland”. The board of directors were to be equally comprised of English and Scot’s. Financial and any other risks would be borne, half by the English and Dutch the remainder by the Scot’s.

Full of confidence that all aspects of funding and support was in place, William Paterson went off to Scotland to organise the expedition. In July 1698, 5 ships, (1200 souls) set sail from Edinburgh to Panama. William Paterson led the party. Not long after the flotilla left news was released from England that King William had ordered English and Dutch elements of the, (Company of Scotland) to withdraw from the venture, leaving the Scot’s to their own devices.

The trip was an ordeal, many pioneers died from disease and only about 700 souls landed in Panama.

Over a period of some months the almost defenseless settlers were attacked by Spanish forces on numerous occasions, (with the full knowledge of King William and the English parliament who had instructed English ships that no assistance was to be provided to the Scot’s in Panama).

Malaria was rife and food scarcity resulted in malnutrition and death of a further 400. Because it was not possible to communicate with those that had gone before a further 11 ships sailed to Panama the following year. The bulk of those that travelled did not return succumbing to similar fates. Eventually 1 ship returned with a few survivors.

The collapse of the, “Darien Scheme” brought financial chaos to Scotland.

King William, (seizing the moment) briefed, (in secret) the Scottish aristocracy and sympathetic Scottish MP’s that the, (Bank of England) would provide finance replacing their losses, with the rider that they would need to vote to unite the Parliaments. Many of the, “Scottish Gentry” took the money.

Robert Burns captured the betrayal in his heartfelt poem, (Scottish MP’s were “bought and sold for English gold”).

Verse 1

Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame, fareweel our ancient glory
Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name, sSae famed in martial story
Now Sark rins over Salway sands, an’ Tweed rins to the ocean
to mark where England ‘s province stands, such a parcel of rogues in a nation

Verse 2.

What force or guile could not subdue Thro’ many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few for hireling traitor’s wages
The English steel we could disdain, secure in valour’s station
But English gold has been our bane, such a parcel of rogues in a nation

Verse 3.

O, would, or I had seen the day that treason thus could sell us
My auld grey head had lien in clay wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace
But pith and power, till my last hour I’ll mak this declaration
We’re bought and sold for English gold, such a parcel of rogues in a nation

Perceived to be Weak and vacillating Scottish Women Were Targetted by Better Together in the 2014 Independence Referendum – Lessons Need to be Learned

 

 

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In the final days of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum the pendulum finally swung in favour of  a “Yes” vote.

Just as it appeared that the Westminster state funded campaign of media manipulation, disinformation, frighteners, celebrity love bombing, world political leaders support and the “ace in the pack” intervention of the Queen had failed.

The Westminster establishment illegally promised a “Devomax” sweetener through a National newspaper.

Further aiding “Better Together” the studiously impartial BBC provided Gordon Brown with an unprecedented four hours of blanket media exposure allowing him to deliver a long and rambling speech to  a captive Scottish television viewing public.

Brown’s widely promoted rhetoric proved to be successful when, a few days later, faced with the reality of a vote a number of Scots expressed a preference to retain the Status Quo.

Events since have exposed the cynical behaviour of politicians who conspired together across the political spectrum agreeing a promise of “Devomax”  withe the knowledge it would not be delivered.

Yet again the political maxim of “delay is the most invidious form of denial” was successfully applied and Westminster prevailed.

 

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The 2016 US Presidential election and Donald Trump’s unexpected victory over media promoted and establishment preference candidate, Hilary Clinton.

The Democratic Party campaign was largely organised and delivered by the same Obama supporting electoral team that had assisted the Westminster “Better Together” campaign in the 2014 Scottish referendum.

Same tactics. disinformation, character assassination, lies, massive  state financed expenditure, Celebrity love bombing etc. yet “David beat Goliath.”

The differing outcomes of the two campaigns is best explained by the influence of a fast maturing “social media” driven by internet users who, in speaking out exposed the hypocrisy of the US political elite.

In doing so disenfranchised voters have added another dimension to the mainstream media, questioning its honestly and integrity.

 

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The  2016 European Community referendum also produced a surprise result exposing a wide political difference in the views of the electorates of England and Scotland.

Scotland preferring retention of EU membership but forced by the 1707 Treaty of Union to accede to the wishes of the English electorate and the Westminster establishment.

The “Brexit” notification was served  on the EU by Westminster in March 2017 with a formal withdrawal expected to be completed within two-three years, (March 2019-2020).

It is possible “Brexit” proposals for change may not be acceptable to the EU leaning Scots electorate and this may trigger another Scottish Independence Referendum sometime in 2019.

To meet the projected challenge the cabinet office constitutional civil service team, financed by the Scottish government in Westminster (Mundell) is in place and enabled by the BBC and UK press is tasked with nullifying any challenges to the retention of the United Kingdom.

 

 

 

 

The impact of internet driven social media is fast increasing providing balance between political agendas

In 2015 media bloggers identified and exposed a mind bending policy (designed to manipulate women voters).

Developed by President Obama’s election team the tactic had been widely used by “Better Together” in the 2014 Scottish Referendum and in the US 2016 Presidential election.

Crucial to the outcome of any future Scottish Independence Referendum the unsavoury practices need to be revealed to the Scottish electorate and women in particular

The attached video (above) provides visual and oral evidence of the  practices operated and should be widely distributed and viewed by young women voters in Scotland.   “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNnoU0hhqvY”

 

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Love-Bombing – A study of the conduct of “Better Together” in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum

Just about every time Cameron made speeches extolling the virtues of Britishness and his love for Scotland he,  extracted leaf from the Canadian Love-bomb handbook compiled by Canadian government media advisors and widely used at the time of the now notorious Montreal, “Unity Rally” when an estimated 100,000 Canadians gathered in Montreal to “love-bomb” Quebec.

http://www.scotlandnow.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/man-canada-examines-links-between-3456437

 

 

 

 

The late introduction of the “below the line”  anti-Scottish independence campaign “Lets Stay Together”  launched in the last 6 months of the 2014 campaign.

Fronted by a number of,  London based, Labour Party celebs the tactic mirrored the previously mentioned, “Montreal Love-Bomb” tactic.

The final frame of the video tells viewers to “call family and friends in Scotland and tell them they’re our ‘best friend'”.

The sickly celeb plea can be directly linked to Cameron’s infamous speech at the Olympic Park in East London in February 2014 (nationwide television broadcast) when he urged “every Briton with a friend or family member in Scotland” to persuade them to vote against independence.

A spokesman blustered that the costly campaign “Let’s Stay Together” was entirely unrelated to, “Better Together” and had no connection to any of the main pro-UK parties in Westminster. Just people wishing to express the english.

But later investigation revealed the “Lets Stay Together” campaign was funded by the Labour Party and was set up by three senior advertising industry figures. Namely:

John Braggins: Director of media company B.B.M. he worked closely with the Labour party on elections and planning campaigns and proudly claimed the credit for Labour not losing a single by-election in the period between Blair’s anointing as Labour leader and the 1997 General Election.

Andrew McGuinness: Who contributed financially to Tony Blair’s Election campaigns. He continues to work closely with the Labour Party.

MT Rainey:  Probably the most powerful woman in British advertising is on record defending the media’s right to create false images.

http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/1298194/M-C-scoops-no-Scottish-independence-brief/?HAYILC=RELATED

 

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“Better Together” worked closely with Cameron’s former strategy director Andrew Cooper

M&C Saatchi, with a long relationship with the Conservative Party, advised and delivered the campaign’s advertising, marketing and message development.

They worked with a number of other media image agencies, including the “Grey” and “BD” Networks.

TBWA UK, which works with the Labour Party, was also involved in the opening pitch process

http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1294345/better-together-campaign-overhaul-marketing-ahead-scottish-independence-vote

http://www.prweek.com/article/1303773/celebrities-join-new-ad-blitz-favour-scotland-staying-union

http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1298311/better-together-recruits-david-camerons-former-strategy-director-andrew-cooper

 

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Probably the most powerful woman in Scottish/ British advertising Scot MT Rainey is on record defending the media’s right to create false images. Her links with the Labour Party in Scotland are well established.

MT Rainey is the chair of digital advertising agency TH_NK.

TH_NK, is pronounced “thunk”, the noise that the “Let’s Stay Together” campaign made as it landed in the middle of the 2014 independence debate.

It has a large portfolio of high profile clients, including, JK Rowling, the BBC, Channel 4, and the TV Licencing Authority.

In November 2013 at Labour’s Scottish conference in Inverness, Magrit Curran announced that Labour was to set up a new employment taskforce, to be headed by former Labour MP for Dumbarton John McFall ( who now rejoices in the silly made up title Lord of Alcluith Tywysog of the Strathclyde Britons) and another former native of Dumbarton, a certain MT Rainey.

Not long after, Labour’s national leadership in England announced it was setting up a review of the Creative and Digital Industries. A member of the review board was to be the busy Ms Rainey.

http://www.commentconference.com/mobileworld2012/mt-rainey.htm

http://www.thejournal.co.uk/business/business-news/non-executive-year-award-4420397

 

http://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/vote-nob-orders-the-b-list-celebrity-edition/

 

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Lib/Dem & Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear and the inconsistency of the Lib Dem’s

For as long as I can remember the position of the Lib Dem’s and over half the parliamentary Labour party has been that Trident should be discarded, in favour of an expansion of conventional forces. They were also adamant that the UK would remain to be a full member of NATO. They said it was illogical for anyone to voice opinion that NATO would prefer the UK not to be in it since the geographical position occupied by the UK was of crucial importance to NATO.

But the Con/Dem government killed that position off in 2010. Trident is getting old and unstable and needs replacing. When it came to a vote, a deal was done in the dark corridors of Westminster and the Lib/Dem’s, (all of them) abstained from voting and those in favour of replacing Trident carried the day. The question asked but never answered is, “What will happen to the Lib/Dem’s in Scotland if the party simply echos the Westminster based elite”. Many Lib /Dem supporters in Scotland were very angry that MP’s they had sent to Westminster ignored the mandate they had been elected to support. Namely to vote against the retention of Nuclear weapons.

The 2014 Referendum, (independence for Scotland) provides the Lib/Dem’s with another chance to redeem the party by supporting a, “Yes” vote which would achieve the dream of a nuclear free Scotland. It is unfortunate that the Lib/Dem parliamentary party are turning their faces away from independence preferring to, “toe the party line” in support of the retention of nuclear weapons in Scotland. But all is not lost, from discussions I have had when out canvassing Lib/Dem voters are prepared to vote, “Yes” with conviction in spite of the official position of the party. I say, “well done” all you individuals who prefer to think of your children getting rid of these awful weapons from Scotland.