Money for Old Rope

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

Massive Migration of Refugee’s Into Europe – Westminster Government Assures the Public UK Immigration is Secure and Strictly Controlled – But What is the Truth Of the Matter?

Illegal Immigration | Key Topics


  • Accurate numbers are not possible but there could be as many as one million illegal immigrants in the UK.

 

  • Removals of immigration offenders are very low. A significant increase in resources for this purpose is essential.

 

 

 

 

 

2003: Tony Blair Assures UK Public 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, (a US defence corporation) won a nine-year contract to introduce and operate the programme.

Three years into the contract period, Theresa May, Home Secretary terminated the contract with the US defence corporation, after claiming it was failing. She further stated the government had lost confidence in Raytheon’s ability to deliver the programme after it fell a year behind schedule.

Raytheon threatened to sue ministers for £500m, blaming the UK Border Agency for the failings, before the two sides entered into binding arbitration to reach a settlement.

The UK government was ordered to pay damages; £50m for ending the contract. £126m for assets the company delivered prior to being sacked, such as IT systems. £10m to settle complaints relating to changes to the original contract. £38m in interest payments. Total £224million.

In a statement to the New York Stock Exchange, Raytheon said: “The arbitration tribunal found that the Home Office had unlawfully terminated [the company] for default in 2010 and therefore had repudiated the e-borders contract. “The Tribunal denied all Home Office claims for damages and clawback of previous payments. The Tribunal’s ruling confirms that [Raytheon] delivered substantial capabilities to the UK Home Office under the e-borders program.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28840966

 

 

Heathrow

 

 

 

 

 

17 February 2015: Home Office wins £224m e-Borders appeal

The Home Office has won its appeal against an order to pay £224m to a US defence firm over the cancellation of a secure borders contract.

A tribunal ruling ordering the payment to Raytheon was set aside by a judge.

The contract to deliver the e-Borders programme, launched by the previous Labour government, was cancelled by the coalition.

E-Borders was meant to collect details from passenger lists of all people entering and leaving the UK.

The original award, of £50m in damages plus other costs, was made by an arbitration tribunal in August.

Pinsent Masons, the law firm representing the Home Office, said the judge had found that the original award had been “tainted by serious irregularity so as to cause substantial injustice”.

Raytheon, which was given a nine-year contract in 2007 to run the programme, said it contested the ruling and would be appealing to the Court of Appeal to recover money for the “wrongful termination” of the e-Borders contract.

A spokesman said: “It is a fundamental principle of international business that awards of arbitral tribunals are respected and enforced by national courts.”

When it terminated the contract with Raytheon in 2010, the government said it had lost confidence in the firm’s ability to deliver the programme after it fell a year behind schedule.

Raytheon threatened to sue ministers for £500m, blaming the UK Border Agency for the failings, before the two sides entered into binding arbitration to reach a settlement.

The Home Office said: “We are pleased with the judgement handed down today by the court. However, the legal process is ongoing and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

E-Borders has been dogged by problems since its launch.

Last year the head of the UK Border Force, Sir Charles Montgomery, told MPs the scheme had been “terminated” in its current form.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-31510888

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 December 2015: Home Office criticised over £830m ‘failed’ borders scheme

The Home Office has been criticised for failing to complete a project to boost UK border security – despite spending at least £830 million on it.

The e-borders scheme was meant to collect and analyse data on everyone travelling to and from the UK before they arrive at ports and airports.

But the National Audit Office says checks remain “highly manual and inefficient”, and IT systems outdated.

The Home Office says all UK arrivals are checked against watch lists.

The e-borders scheme has been dogged by problems since its launch in 2003, and in 2014, the head of the UK Border Force, Sir Charles Montgomery, told MPs it had been “terminated” in its current form.

By collecting advanced passenger information (API), such as passport numbers and nationalities, it 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Eight years late

Among the report’s key findings:

  • £830m was spent on the project between April 2006 and March 2015, with another £275m likely to be needed by March 2019
  • Among those costs was £150m on an out-of-court settlement paid after the original e-borders contract was cancelled
  • The project is not set to be finished until 2019 – eight years late
  • API was only collected from 86% of arrivals in September this year, despite the target being 100%
  • Moreover, API still is not available for most rail and ferry journeys
  • Only 20% of booking data – more comprehensive than API – is being collected. Again, the target is 100%.

The NAO said a database known as the Warning Index – designed to flag up known criminals or terrorists – was still being used eight years after it should have been retired.

While it has been upgraded, it is “still far from good” and suffers an average of two “high priority incidents a week”.

These 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.

The Home Office insisted contingency arrangements were in place for when those incidents occurred.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Analysis: Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent

This is a devastating critique of a project presented by the Home Office, first under Labour, as the key to securing Britain’s borders. In fact, as the report reveals, the programme has been torpedoed by its ambition.

Collecting and assessing advance passenger information on more than 200 million journeys a year was always going to be hard task – involving co-ordinating the supply of data from 600 air, ferry and rail carriers and 30 government agencies.

Add in creaking computer systems, a high turnover of key staff and a draining legal dispute with the private contractor, and it’s clear that ministers and officials over-reached themselves.

There’s little doubt more advance passenger information is available now than in 2003, when the scheme was first developed, but the costs have risen hugely with some border checks still being conducted using scraps of paper.

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Warning Index operates alongside another system called semaphore, but the NAO said the failure to integrate them meant staff still had to check passports manually and consult printed A4 sheets when probing suspicious vehicle registrations.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said e-borders had not “delivered value for money”.

“Some valuable capabilities have been added to our border defences during the life of this project, though their efficiency is impaired by a failure to replace old IT systems,” he added.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, described the report as a “devastating indictment” of the e-borders project.

“With the terrorism threat level currently at severe, a failure to properly cover millions of people entering the country without having passenger information in advance gives a green light to people who wish to come to the UK for illegal or dangerous activity,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 


What are e-borders?

  • Launched in 2003, the scheme was originally meant to collect details from passenger lists of all people entering and leaving the UK
  • The US firm handed the £750m contract, Raytheon, was fired by the coalition in 2010
  • The e-borders contract was split in two with IBM and Serco given the job of getting a system in place at nine airports before the 2012 London Olympics
  • In 2014, the director general of the UK Border Force said “full e-borders capability”, as originally envisaged, would not be achieved, but the checks and screening would be incorporated into a new programme.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said every passenger arriving in the UK was checked against a range of watch lists.

“The e-borders programme was set up under the Labour government and when that contract ended in 2010, our immediate priority was to invest in stabilising the crucial but old-fashioned systems, to tackle the fast-evolving terrorist, criminal and illegal immigration threats faced by the UK.

“The Border Systems Portfolio, in conjunction with a range of programmes across security and law enforcement, is working effectively to keep our citizens safe and our country secure.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34988913

 

 

Lin Homer Former Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency (Awarded Dame-hood 2015 by David Cameron)

Lin Homer

 

 

 

 

17 December 2015: E-borders delivered most of its aims, Lin Homer tells MPs

The Home Office’s £1bn e-borders scheme – seen by many as a costly disaster – has in fact delivered most of its aims, the woman who ran it told MPs.

Lin Homer said it had provided “12 years of continuous improvements” to border security even if progress had been “slower” than she had wanted.

She denied claims by MPs that 80% of the money spent on it was wasted.

Ms Homer, who is now boss of HM Revenue and Customs, was giving evidence to the public accounts committee.

The National Audit Office this week published a highly critical report into e-borders, which was meant to collect and analyse data on everyone travelling to and from the UK before they arrive at ports and airports.

The spending watchdog said checks at Britain’s borders remained “highly manual and inefficient”, and relied on outdated IT systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Big and bold’

The NAO said a database known as the Warning Index – designed to flag up known criminals or terrorists – was still being used eight years after it should have been retired.

The e-borders system was meant to replace it and another “unstable” old checking system, Semaphore, in March 2014 – but it was scrapped by the government last year. A new system incorporating some of its functions is due to go live in 2019.

Ms Homer, who was chief executive of the UK Border Agency until 2011, insisted a “significant amount” of what e-borders was meant to do “has been delivered,” adding: “It would not be my view that 80% of the money we spent in those 12 years was wasted.”

She denied the programme had been “over ambitious”, telling MPs: “When you set contracts, sometimes they don’t work. We tried something big and bold and I think a lot of it worked.”

She said Semaphore, an IBM pilot system launched in 2004 to test the e-borders concept, was proving effective at analysing passenger lists.

 

 

 

 

Accounts ‘destroyed’

Semaphore was beefed up into a front-line service when the coalition government sacked Raytheon, the US contractor hired by the previous Labour government to deliver e-borders, in 2010 after delays.

Raytheon threatened to sue the Home Office for £500m, blaming the UK Border Agency for failings. In March 2015, the government agreed to pay £150m to the company to settle the dispute.

Ms Homer told MPs: “I would accept that a significant amount of the money we paid to Raytheon did not give us value for money but that is not the whole £700m.”

She told the MPs she had not been the “architect” of e-borders but it had been her “vision”.


How e-borders went wrong

Tony Blair launched the e-borders programme in 2003 to help combat the terror threat and tighten immigration controls

It was originally meant to come on stream in 2007 to work alongside “biometric” identity cards and facial recognition technology

The system was meant to collect details from passenger lists of all people entering and leaving the UK so that they can be checked against security watch lists

The US firm handed a £750m contract by Labour to deliver e-borders, Raytheon, was fired by the coalition government in 2010 for “extremely disappointing” performance

Two old systems were upgraded at a cost of £89m – they are now collecting advance passport data on 86% of passengers travelling to the UK and nearly 100% of passengers leaving the UK

 

Tony Blair

 


 

From 2003 to 2015, the Home Office spent “at least £830m” on e-borders and planned to spend a further £275m on the successor programme, according to the NAO.

But the spending watchdog said it could not be more precise because spending records between 2003 and 2006 had apparently been destroyed.

Committee chairman, Labour MP Meg Hillier, said she found it “hard to believe” the records no longer existed, but if that was the case “we would like to know when it was destroyed and who authorised it”.

Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary at the Home Office, said the missing records were due to a change in accounting procedures, but he said he would investigate whether they could be retrieved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons learned?

Labour MP Caroline Flint, a former Home Office minister, and Conservative MP Stephen Phillips, suggested it might have worked out cheaper to relaunch the Raytheon contract, as Ms Homer had wanted, rather than sacking the firm.

But Mr Sedwill said it had not just been about the money, telling the MPs: “It was fundamentally about confidence in delivery, particularly with the Olympics coming.”

Raytheon’s main complaint about the contract was that the Home Office kept changing what it wanted from e-borders.

Asked what lessons could be learned to prevent taxpayers money being wasted in the future, Richard Daniel, chief executive of Raytheon UK, said: “Maybe we could have spent more time understanding the Home Office and how they worked.”

He added: “From early on, there was a difference in expectations in terms of how the contract would run.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35114625

 

 

image

 

 

 

 

 

7 March 2016: Government’s failed e-Borders will take a further 8 years and cost more than £1bn

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.

Following the termination of the deal the Home office had to pay £150m in settlement charges to Raytheon and spend £35m on legal costs.

 

 

 

 

 

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 has 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 by BBC as saying that the programme is a “top priority” and “we are investing heavily in our systems to tackle the threat from terrorism, organised 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.”

http://www.cbronline.com/news/verticals/public-sector/governments-failed-e-borders-will-take-a-further-8-years-and-cost-more-than-1bn-4831044

 

 

Home Office in London

 

 

 

 

Oil & Gas The Rip Off That is Westminster

Oil & Gas The Rip Off That is Westminster

A 2014 UK government commissioned report stated there were around 24 billion barrels of oil yet to be recovered from the North Sea. The wholesale value of the reserves was put at $2.4 trillion. The figure quoted encompassed recoverable oil in the North Sea block only. It did not include the North Atlantic, West Coast of Scotland or Rockall areas since these are largely unexplored.

Enter the spoiler, “The Clair Field”. First discovered and located in the, “Atlantic Sector” of the, “Continental Shelf” in 1977 it was declared, “off limits for discussion” by a UK government who, (faced with increasing voices of discontent within a Scotland that had finally wakened up to the massive amounts of finance being generated to the coffers of Westminster) broadcast widely and often, (making full use of the media and press, who it now accepted follow the government line without question) that the oil would run out in the 1990’s. Job done. Scotland, “back to sleep” it was thought by the Westminster con-men.

Many years later, in 2003 a license to explore the Clair field was finally granted to BP. Surprise, surprise, “sweet oil, in excellent quantities flowed freely, and this was only phase 1. In a recent conference in Houston Texas, not widely reported in the UK press. BP announced a major further major expansion of the, “Clair Field”. A brief outline of the field development, to date;

Phase 1. Has produced 90 million barrels of oil since operations began in 2005.

Phase 2. is expected to produce reach peak production capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day, after operations begin in 2016.

Phase 3. BP joined with Chevron, Conoco/Phillips and Shell and is moving forward with drilling operations. Preliminary results are exciting, indications are the field is many times larger than first thought.

And we are addressing only one field. But here we are again. “Blether Together” politico’s, (largely comprised of discredited time spent old men of Westminster) are now spreading the lie that oil will run-out in 15-20 year’s. This time however Scotland is wide awake and the lies are well exposed for what they are. Scotland will vote, “Yes” in the September referendum ensuring the benefits of oil & gas are accrued to the nation. Enough is Enough.

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2013/05/10/Scotland-sees-major-potential-offshore/UPI-29921368180685/?st_rec=85431369909920

Misc Titbits

Kirsty-A Free Scotland
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NclkfOjQle0#t=56 free scotland kirsty

Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Bigger is not better https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F541CSoc4cM#t=210

Oil and Lots of It
http://en.inforapid.org/index.php?search=North%20Sea%20oil

Scare Stories From Bitter Together
http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/forget-the-latest-scare-story-the-real-threat-to-our-health-service-is-a-no-vote.24735142

NHS England and Privatisation
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fury-tory-party-donors-handed-3123469 nhs rip off
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/child-depression-scandal-ill-kids-3129996 nhs rip off
http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/nhs-debt-hospitals-facing-combined-3099734 black hole
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-want-privatise-nhs-cuts-3102993 privatisation

Rise and Rise of Foodbanks
http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/below-the-breadline-the-relentless-rise-of-food-poverty-in-britain-317730

Nepotism in the Labour Party

Nepotism in the Labour Party

Labour MP’s and activists are furious that Paul Martin, son of Westminster MP and deputy speaker Michael Martin, is poised to be given the same constituency as his father, but in the Scottish parliament. They say Martin jnr, a middle-ranking Glasgow councillor for the past four years, has done little to earn his stripes and accuse him of “riding on his father’s coat tails”.

Senior Labour sources confirmed to Scotland on Sunday the 30- year-old councillor would almost certainly pass the party’s selection process. Martin snr wields such control in his constituency that activists say there would be little resistance to his son then being chosen as the candidate for Holyrood. A former trade union organiser for the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, the MP was elected to parliament in 1979 and served as private parliamentary secretary to Denis Healey.

A Jock Soldier in Afghanistan Reflects on His Lot – In Rhyme Of Sorts – Read It and Wonder

 

 

 

Musings of a Jock in Afghanistan, (A Kipling Parody)

 

21513656-jpg-gallery

 

It’s not cool when you’re lying cold and wet in your Afghan bivvy,

knowing your life is dependent on an MOD civvy.

 

When your body armour’s a share, one set between three,

And the firefights are brutal not like those on TV.

 

You check with care, your pal, your weapon then look to your wit,

As you tread in the footprints of earlier Jocks deeper in the sh*t.

 

_42967025_highlandersone416pa

 

When your machine gun has jammed and you’re down to one round,

then the faith that you’d lost is speedily re-found.

 

When the Taliban fighters are close to the fort,

And you pray that friendly shelling doesn’t fall a bit short.

 

Buddy up tae Jock Tamson, like he’s one of your brood,

And fight off the Taliban as you know all jocks should.

 

epa00679439-scottish-soldiers-stand-in-ranks-during-a-military-parade-fhaw6f

 

 

Your pay just doesn’t cover your needs or your wants,

But you are required just to stand and absorb Taliban taunts.

 

Neither General’s or civvy’s can do nowt to amend,

Except to ensure you’re in a place you can’t spend.

 

Paid three fifty an hour for your time in the Afghani cage,

And you supposed to be happy it’s the minimum wage.

 

royal-regiment-scotland

 

And knowing your wife Mary is at home alone in your quarter

Walls running with damp and the roof leaking water

 

Your bairns miss the treasured warmth of their hero, their dad,

They’re foregoing the loving childhood that they should have had.

 

But you dream that one day it will change and as each day it goes by,

you just sit there, with wonder as you see the pigs fly.

 

df73467c8300ce5dffbb89223742f72cc4cf9a

 

You’re treated just like the Jock’s of before a life in the mud, dust and ditch,

But you’ll march and you’ll fight, and you’ll drink and you’ll bitch.

 

No matter the war, Iraqi, Afghan, Zulu, Fritz or the Boer,

Jocks will fight on ‘til the battle is over.

 

Mistreated and judged no better than fodder, the Jock’s soldier on,

but ponder how long Scots will respond to the MOD con.

 

scottish-soldiers

David cameron Goofs

Foot in Mouth Mr Cameron ?

At a press conference, (attended by President Obama) Mr Cameron was asked about the ever changing nature of the, “special relationship” with the US. He replied, “I think it is important in life to speak as it is and the fact is that we are a very effective partner of the US but we are the junior partner,” he went on, “We were the junior partner in 1940 when we were fighting the Nazis.”

After the conference Mr Cameron was reminded, by some, “press hacks” that the US only officially declared war on Germany on 11 December 1941, shortly after Hitler launched hostilities against the US and four days after the Pearl Harbor attacks which drew the US into conflict with Japan.

The President of the Association for Veterans of Foreign Wars, said Mr Cameron’s comments would alienate a lot of veterans who had been fighting the war a long time before Pearl Harbor.

A BBC political correspondent offered that, Mr Cameron had been trying to be realistic about Britain’s position in the world, but it his comments had backfired in this case

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10719739